I was surprised that the New York Times, in this morning’s edition, devoted as much space as it did to an insignificant lawsuit filed by a handful of disgruntled authors against Regnery Publishing, the conservative publisher founded by my father sixty years ago, and which I headed for eighteen years before becoming publisher of The American Spectator. From its earliest days, Regnery Publishing (which was previously known as the Henry Regnery Company) played a crucial role in helping hundreds of conservative voices break through the liberal censorship of the publishing industry and the big media. In earlier times, virtually every leading conservative thinker and writer was published by Regnery, and many of today’s most prominent conservatives gained prominence as our authors, and are now helping the conservative movement fight its major policy battles of the day.
Although I no longer run the business, I remain on the board of Regnery Publishing and keep well versed on what it is doing. The firm continues to launch the careers of many budding conservative authors, just as it always did. That was just as true when we published God and Man at Yale by Bill Buckley and Russell Kirk’s The Conservative Mind, as it is today with authors like Ann Coulter, Laura Ingraham, Dinesh D’Souza, and Mark Steyn. When I was head of the company, we published no fewer than 22 New York Times bestsellers — a tradition that continues: over the last couple of months, Regnery has added two new bestsellers to its long list of successes in Ingraham’s Power to the People and D’Souza’s What’s So Great About Christianity.
Just as it is doubtful that many of the conservative movement’s founders would have been published had it not been for Regnery, it is also probable that several, if not all, of the five authors suing the company would not have been published had it not been for us, and it is certain that they wouldn’t have been New York Times bestsellers — Regnery put four of the five on the list.
The merits of the lawsuit are hardly worth discussing. To anyone in the book publishing industry they’re laughable. I’m a lawyer and know that the contracts they signed are clear and transparent, and are similar to the contracts used throughout the industry. I also know that Regnery puts marketing muscle and expertise behind its books like nobody else in the business — something that each of the five authors involved benefited from enormously. These disgruntled authors are, perversely, complaining about that muscle. But it’s one of the reasons why Regnery has the success it does in putting conservative books where the New York Times doesn’t want them — on its bestseller list.