Baker Publishing Group to acquire Regal Books Print
Written by Christine D. Johnson   
Wednesday, 14 May 2014 08:14 AM America/New_York

Gospel Light to concentrate on core mission of resourcing churches with curriculum rather than trade titles

Regal-Color-logoGospel Light has signed a letter of intent to sell the publishing assets of Regal Books to Baker Publishing Group. Stan Jantz, interim CEO of Gospel Light, and Dwight Baker, president of Baker Publishing Group, say the goal is to have the transaction closed by June 30.

“Over the last several months, the board and leadership of Gospel Light made a strategic decision to concentrate on Gospel Light’s core mission,” Jantz said. “From the time Henrietta Mears founded Gospel Light in 1933, resourcing churches with curriculum and Vacation Bible School materials so they can reach children and families with the gospel has been at the core. In order to concentrate on that mission, the board decided to find a compatible new home for Regal’s authors.”

Baker is aware of that compatibility. 

“Baker Publishing Group has a long-standing fellowship with the Gospel Light/Regal Books community,” he said. “Our two respective publishing programs complement each other well. I have observed with admiration as Regal introduced such authors as George Barna, John Perkins, Norm Wright and Dutch Sheets to a wide readership. This is the legacy of Regal and a standard that we are compelled to maintain.”

“They went from a three-generation independent to a three-generation independent,” said Baker of the transaction.

Baker told Christian Retailing that his company “can’t add any expertise to Gospel Light,” but can support Regal’s 280 active authors, 59 of which have been published by Baker and Regal, including J.I. Packer, R.C. Sproul and Os Guinness.

Baker’s reason for acquiring Regal Books’ authors was to provide “readership for the long term,” he said. “The setting there was more difficult for them to insure that long-term support and availability, so part of it was structural. They decide to capitalize on their trade books and invest fully in the continuity of their curriculum publishing.”

It was decided in consultation with Jantz that Baker would not do a Regal division in part because of the similarity of the name Regal to Baker imprint Revell, which was thought to be “an invitation to confusion,” Baker said, but also because Regal authors fit into what Baker is already doing with its four trade divisions, Baker Books, Chosen, Bethany House and Revell. Baker Publishing Group was allocating Regal authors to their respective divisions at press time.

With its “Spirit-filled” emphasis, Chosen has the “largest overlap of any by far,” Baker said.

Gospel Light “viewed author care as the top priority in the sale of Regal,” Jantz said. “One of the primary reasons the board selected Baker was its compatibility in this area, plus the Baker family and their teams are just good people. We feel a kinship with their mission and the way they do business—for the glory of God and the benefit of their authors.”

Because Gospel Light retained the Regal Books trademark, they have the option to rebuild Regal should they so choose.

Founded by Bill Greig Jr. in 1965, Regal published How to Be a Christian Without Being Religious by Fritz Ridenour as its first book, which is still in print.