Sales at Regnery Publishing were up modestly in 2016 over 2015 and profits rose as well, company president Marji Ross said. Regnery is the largest part of Salem Media Group’s publishing division, which had a 7% increase in revenue, to $25.5 million, last year over 2015. According to Ross, sales in 2016 picked up after the Republican convention. Before that, Ross said, Regnery’s customers seemed conflicted about the nomination process, but became galvanized “to beat Hillary. That helped lift our books.” Indeed, Hillary’s America by Dinesh D’Souza sold very well in the second half of 2016, as did the trade paperback edition of Ann Coulter’s Adios America and the hardcover of her In Trump We Trust.
Since its acquisition in early 2014 by Salem, a $274 million media company that owns a major Christian and conservative radio network and websites, Regnery has worked with other parts of Salem not only to promote its books but also to look for authors, Ross said. The clearest result of Salem’s influence on Regnery has been the growth in the Regnery Faith imprint, the yearly output of which has grown from three titles in 2014 to nine planned titles this year. In fact, Regnery Faith will publish what Ross believes could be one of the company’s biggest books of the year: the publisher has just shipped 80,000 copies of The True Jesus by David Limbaugh, which will go on sale April 10.
In addition to higher sales of religion books, American history has been a steady growth segment for Regnery. Ross said she has gradually increased Regnery’s history line because the books have proven to be good backlist sellers. Ross is high on two titles this year that feature two still-living World War II pilots. Jerry Yellin, a captain who flew one of the last missions over Japan, is the subject of The Last Fighter Pilot. Coffin Corner Boys is about George Starks, who was shot down over enemy territory in Europe but managed to make it to Switzerland. Ross said it wasn’t until both books had been signed that Regnery realized the men now lived close to one another in the Orlando area. The publisher arranged for the two to meet, and Regnery did interviews and compiled footage of the veterans. Both are expected to do some promotions for the books.
Another relatively new area for Regnery is fiction. It released Liberty’s Last Stand by Stephen Coonts last year, and the novel did well enough that Regnery has signed Coonts for two more books, one of which, The Armageddon File, is coming later this year. Regnery has also picked up veteran author Tom Grace. It will publish his next book, Undeniable, this year, and has also acquired his backlist.
Its new ventures notwithstanding, politics remains at Regnery’s core. Another D’Souza title, The Big Lie, is coming in July, and Regnery has signed Ed Klein to do a fifth book with the house. Villians will published in October. A new book that Ross believes will generate its share of controversy will be released in April: Drain the Swamp by Ken Buck, a Republican who was elected to Congress in 2014 and who is critical of both Democrats and Republicans whom he considers more interested in being career politicians than in serving the public. Ross said Buck “names names” in the book.
As a publisher of conservative books, Regnery faced the prospect of its readership losing some interest in its titles now that Republicans are back in power. But Ross said Regnery’s base “remains very engaged” and is interested in not only reversing some of the policies of the Obama administration but keeping an eye on the Trump presidency as well.
In August, Salem acquired the self-publishing company Hillcrest Media. In its 10-K filing made with the SEC last week, Salem said it paid $3.5 million for Hillcrest and assumed $1 million in revenue liabilities. Hillcrest added $1.1 million in revenue to the Salem publishing division following its purchase, which offset a $400,000 decline in book sales from its Xulon Press self-publishing unit. Self-publishing fees at Xulon rose by $300,000 in 2016. (Total self-publishing fees of Hillcrest and Xulon in 2016 were $6.1 million). Salem said it is in the process of integrating Hillcrest with Xulon to create the Salem Author Services group.