O’Reilly Media has acquired the remaining 50% stake in Safari Books, a subscription e-book service offering access to business and tech content, originally launched as a joint venture with the Pearson Technology Group in 2001.
With the purchase, Safari Books will become a wholly owned subsidiary of O’Reilly. Safari will continue to operate independently under the direction of CEO Andrew Savikas, and Pearson will continue as one of the venture’s 200 content partners.
Safari Books launched in 2001, designed as a business service offering subscription access to about 600 technology and business titles published by O’Reilly and Pearson. The venture was an effort by O’Reilly founder Tim O’Reilly to raise awareness of e-books in the publishing business. Today, Safari Books offers more than 25,000 digital titles—including books, video, and online classes—on the subjects of business, technology and design, and has more than a 1 million active users.
The venture is one of the earliest and most successful examples of e-book subscription services, paving the way for the rise of such consumer-oriented services as Oyster, Scribd and Kindle Unlimited. In a blog post, Tim O’Reilly recalled his "seemingly crazy idea," to launch Safari Books as a joint venture with Pearson, one of his biggest competitors at the time.
Savikas, in his own blog post, wrote: "Safari’s first 13 years as a joint venture are a tremendous success story when it comes to competitors working together to grow new markets and opportunities that benefit everyone, including our customers. Deepening our relationship with O’Reilly gives us the chance to do even more to connect people and organizations with the content and experts to help them do exceptional work."