Oxford University Press announced last week that it has agreed to buy Palgrave/Macmillan's series of Grove dictionaries. The line includes the 125-year-old Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians, last published in 29 volumes in January 2001.

Oxford cited The Oxford English Dictionary, Oxford Reference Online and the forthcoming Oxford Dictionary of National Biography as titles that complement Grove's list. Oxford University Press president Laura Brown said that OUP will continue to promote and sell the print editions of the Grove line, but she recognizes that "slowly, online sales will eclipse the print sales." Many Grove titles are already sold to institutions in online packages for as much as $6,000. Brown explained that the U.S. division of OUP made the acquisition because the bulk of Grove's sales are in the U.S., and because most of OUP's scholarly reference titles originate here.

No purchase price was announced for the acquisition. Brown said that the roughly 15 employees in the U.K. will stay with Oxford as required in the U.K. by law, and that the nine employees in the U.S., mostly in sales and marketing, could end up with Oxford or at Palgrave's U.S. office.