August 6, 2010
When Free Services and Technological Advances Challenge the Existing Market Structure for Commercial Legal Publishing: A Perspective from Canada
A very interesting post by Slaw's Gary Rodrigues on major commercial legal publishers facing the realities of the 21st Century legal publishing environment in Canada, Staying Relevant in Legal Publishing opens with the following:
The two leading Canadian legal publishers, Carswell Thomson and LexisNexis Butterworths, have something in common – both face a major challenge for continuing relevance in the Canadian market. Interestingly enough, the real challenge does not come from each other, but from free services and technological advances, and increasingly from small but nimble legal publishers committed to the delivery of high quality competitively priced products. How each of them responds to this challenge will determine their ultimate role as providers of legal information in the Canadian legal market.
Two teaser snips because you really should read the post in its entirely. What's happening in the very expensive legal publishing market in Canada may likely happen here in the hopefully not too distant future:
Both Thomson Reuters and Reed Elsevier could decide to keep their legal and regulatory publishing businesses but operate them in a lower gear, with limited investment and an emphasis on maintaining existing revenue and profit margins rather than pursuing unachievable targets for growth.
Alternatively, and perhaps more likely, Thomson Reuters and/or Reed Elsevier could decide to leave the legal and regulatory business altogether and sell their content to the truly innovative companies like Bloomberg or Google.
Compared to Canada, we are behind the curve but the Canadian experience provides additional support for the LAW.GOV case. Being a Canadian legal information professional can be interesting these days. [JH]