How do we reconcile information overload with our ever-increasing need for information? Recognizing the need for timely accessibility to that knowledge, a Massachusetts company is making a bold step in shaping the future of knowledge management. RoweCom , a knowledge resources company, provides solutions for managing the acquisition of subscriptions, books, and market research reports for public and private businesses that have vast information needs. Its products include:

  • KStore for corporations, hospitals, and technology
  • KLibrary for academic and public libraries

These products give clients a customized, Web-based store for ordering, paying, and managing as many as 240,000 titles of magazines, journals, newspapers, and books, as well as millions of discounted books at

RoweCom’s 20,000 clients include Northwestern University, Massachusetts General, Bank of America, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Arthur Andersen, Ernst & Young, KPMG, Prudential Securities, John Hancock, Charles Schwab, Dun & Bradstreet, First Union, Hewlett Packard, Owens Corning, Bayer, and Johns Hopkins University. RoweCom’s headquarters is in Westwood, MA, just outside of Boston. The company has 126 employees in several offices worldwide.
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The market
RoweCom’s focus is on serving the intensive business information needs of several markets, including health care, high technology, academic libraries, corporate libraries, and financial and professional services.

Strategic advantage
RoweCom calls itself a “first mover” in its specific marketplace. As part of its strategic plan, RoweCom has aggressively grown through acquisition of several subscription services worldwide. It has also acquired a news service and information and knowledge management company called NewsEdge. RoweCom has strategic relationships with, Trilogy, Concor Technology, Ariba, Commerce One, and Sun-Netscape Alliance. In addition, RoweCom has a strategic partnership with to provide access to millions of discounted books and with Absolute Backorder Service, Inc., a comprehensive, journal-backorder fulfillment company.

Financial information
RoweCom went public in March 1999 and has an aggressive approach to growth via acquisition. The company’s revenues are transaction-based, generated by the sale of magazines, newspapers, and books published by third parties. The company’s 1999 revenues increased 16 times over 1998 to $307.6 million, compared with revenues of $19.1 million in 1998. Gross profits from transactions in 1999 increased 73 times to $20.4 million. RoweCom reported an operating loss of $14.2 million for 1999.

Management team

  • Dr. Richard R. Rowe, chairman, president, and chief executive officer
  • Paul Burnmeister, chief financial officer
  • Jeffrey Sands, vice president of business development and interim CFO
  • Jim Krzywicki, senior vice president of knowledge resources
  • Walter Crosby, vice president and chief technical officer
  • Eileen Bergquist, vice president of human development
  • Charles Germain, regional president for Europe, Middle East, and Africa

15 Southwest ParkWestwood, MA 02090-1585Tel: 617-497-5800Fax: (617) 497-68251-800
What others are saying about RoweCom
RoweCom is a player in the business-to-business procurement space, and its business model is somewhat similar to a Commerce One or an Ariba. But they are very focused on a specific content plate, which is knowledge resources—whether that’s news, magazines, periodicals, databases, etc. And they’re expanding to trading in other areas of knowledge resources. They provide access to that content. They have relationships with 10,000 distributors on the back end to provide that content. And they have partnered with all the right folks like Ariba and Commerce One to be the preferred provider of those products to their customers. We think RoweCom is another company that is very well positioned to benefit from the growing demand of business-to-business services, and it’s undervalued relative to the other players in the group.

—Pawan Malhotra of CIBC Oppenheimer, in an interview with Eneida Guzman for MSN’s “Eyes on the next dot-com superstars,” Jan. 13, 2000.

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