Regnery Publishing has acquired the ISI Books imprint from the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, a conservative higher education nonprofit. The purchase involves more than 85 titles, including works by J. Budziszewski, Anthony Esplen, Paul Kengor, Russell Kirk, and Karen Santorum, as well as the Student Guides series.
Regnery is retaining the ISI Books name, although as titles are reprinted, some will appear under the Regnery Gateway imprint, Regnery president and publisher Tom Spence told PW. Going forward, Regnery plans to publish two books a year with the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Spence said; those books will be released under the ISI Books imprint.
In a statement, ISI president Johnny Burtka said the sale to Regnery “will allow ISI to concentrate on its core mission of educating young Americans for liberty while giving these enduring books a loving home where they will flourish for years to come.”
Beginning March 1, distribution of the ISI line will move to Regnery's distributor, Simon & Schuster.
The purchase is the latest step by Spence, who took over as Regnery president and publisher in January of 2020, to deepen Regnery’s backlist. The publisher has depended on conservative political and current events titles to drive sales, a strategy that led to a bit of a rollercoaster ride for company revenue, Spence said. That was the case in 2022, when sales fell from 2021, a year in which Regnery had a number of solid sellers, including books by Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley. And while Regnery tends to do better in years when there is a Democrat in the White House, that hasn’t happened with the Biden Administration. “There haven’t been many books that are critical of Biden,” Spence noted.
As part of his shift to publish books “that will have a longer shelf life at bookstores,” Spence is also making a slight change in Regnery’s publishing philosophy. While Regnery will always publish “politically-charged books,” Spence said, the publisher is also looking for books that examine a range of cultural issues from a conservative point of view. An example of this approach is a book Regnery published under its Salem Books religion imprint, Fault Line: The Social Justice Movement and Evangelicalism’s Looming Catastrophe.
Other new initiatives by Spence include expanding Regnery’s history program. Under associate publisher Mark Bloomfield, Regnery has published a number of books by or about Holocaust survivors that have done well, and later this year will release Inseparable: A Holocaust Survivor’s Story by Faris Cassell. (Regnery has previously published Cassell’s The Unanswered Letter: One Holocaust Family’s Desperate Plea for Help.)
Regnery, which celebrated its 75th anniversary last year, is also in the process of reissuing a number of titles on religion and philosophy that were originally published by founder Henry Regnery. The first of these, Gateway to the Stoics, was released in January, and three additional titles are set to be published this year.
Spence said 2023 has gotten off to a good start for Regnery, and he is optimistic about the year. Cruz and Hawley both have new books due out this year, and there is a biography on the late Supreme Court justice Antonin Scalia, Scalia: Rise to Greatness, 1936 to 1986, set for release on March 7. Spence also said that Regnery has seen more submissions the last few years following the decision by most major New York publishers to shy away from releasing conservative books, but he said that the impact of those decisions “is not as much as I thought it would be.”