Skyhorse Publishing

Skyhorse Publishing, Inc. is an American independent book publishing company founded in 2006 and headquartered in New York City, with a satellite office in Brattleboro, Vermont.[1]

Skyhorse Publishing
FounderTony Lyons
Country of originUnited States
Headquarters locationNew York City
DistributionSimon & Schuster (United States & worldwide - except South Africa)
Key peopleTony Lyons (President and Publisher)
Publication typesBooks
ImprintsAllworth Press, Arcade CrimeWise, Arcade, Sky Pony, Sports Publishing, Carrel Books, Talos Press, Night Shade Books, Good Books, Helios, Not For Tourists, Hot Books, Racehorse Publishing, Clydesdale Press, Seahorse Press, Racehorse For Young Readers
No. of employees56 (as of October 2018)


The current president and publisher is founder Tony Lyons, former president and publisher of Lyons Press until 2004. As noted by Publishers Weekly, "Skyhorse's list will have some similarities to the old Lyons Press, with books on sports, flyfishing, nature and history a central part of Skyhorse's publishing program. The list includes narrative nonfiction, military history, gambling and business titles. In addition, [Tony] Lyons intends to bring back 'forgotten classics.'"[2]

Growth and expansion

In 2010, Skyhorse acquired Arcade Publishing with its portfolio of 500 titles,[3] as well as another 300 titles through the acquisition of Allworth Press.[4] Skyhorse also announced the 2011 acquisition of Sports Publishing with its 800 titles, and the launch of a children's and young adult imprint called Sky Pony Press.[5] By 2011, Skyhorse grew "from one imprint to five, and from eight employees to more than 40,"[6] The company "entered a three-year, 30-book licensing agreement with Norstedts of Sweden to acquire world English rights to a range of titles on crafts, health, fitness and cooking."[6] At this point, Publishers Weekly listed Skyhorse Publishing as one of the fastest-growing independent presses.[7]

Skyhorse added 250 new titles to its catalog with its acquisition of science-fiction and fantasy publisher Night Shade Books in 2013.[8] Also, that year Skyhorse announced the launch of the new imprint, Carrel Books, catering to the library market with books on medicine/health, history, biography/memoir, business/careers, among others.[9] In 2014, Skyhorse partnered with Perseus Books Group to acquire the assets of Good Books. While Perseus retained the Mayo Clinic line of health books from the Good Books catalog, Skyhorse obtained all other books assets, including the New York Times Bestselling Fix-It and Forget-It series.[10] Another Skyhorse imprint, Talos Press published its first book in 2014. In partnership with the literary agency, International Transactions, Skyhorse launched the new imprint, Yucca Publishing, featuring "both new and established authors who have 'intent, literary strength, and fresh, new visions."[11]

In May 2015, partnering with David Talbot, founder and former editor-in-chief of Salon, Skyhorse launched the investigative book imprint Hot Books.[12] Hot Books’ first title, released September 2015, was The Beastside: Living (and Dying) While Black in America, written by D. Watkins. In an interview by Fresh Air host Terry Gross on NPR, Watkins recounts harrowing stories of growing up in East Baltimore.[13]

Skyhorse started a new division in 2016 called Racehorse Publishing, which publishes a range of categories, including promotional titles, instant books, and classic works of literature. The promotional line is operated under the new Clydesdale Press imprint. Another new imprint, Seahorse Press, publishes books on boating, sailing and sea adventures.[14] Skyhorse launched the new imprint Arcade CrimeWise to publish crime fiction, mysteries, noir, thrillers, and spy novels — with the first titles to be released in the fall of 2019.[15]

Revenues were expected to rise 30% to about $43 million in 2015 over the 2014 fiscal year, with e-book sales up 23% through the third quarter of 2015, compared to the same period in 2014. To manage the close to 1,000 titles that it stood to publish in 2016, Skyhorse increased staff from 56 to 81 in 2015. According to publisher, Tony Lyons, going after specialty customers and big publicity hits is a priority for 2016.[16]

Skyhorse Publishing marked its 10th anniversary in September 2016, posting revenue of more than $43 million for 2015, and having a backlist of 6,000 titles. With 93 people then on staff, the company planned to release 900 books in 2017 through its 18 imprints.[17] Practical books for sports lovers, gardeners, cooks and gamers, etc., sold more than 3,000,000 copies in total during 2015 and are expected to sell even more in 2016. Adult coloring books, first introduced in May 2015, have sold over 4,000,000 copies.[18]

In June 2017, a group of Skyhorse employees announced intentions to hold a union election in order to join United Auto Workers Local 2110. [19] According to a National Labor Relations Board count, staffers fell short of the votes needed on November 30, 2018, with 18 voting for, 28 voting against, and an additional 23 votes submitted but counted as ineligible ballots. [20]

In April 2018, Skyhorse announced “a major reorganization” with job cuts of 16 full-time positions and plans “to reduce new titles published by ‘approximately 25 percent’ in 2018” compared to 2017, when it released 1,120 titles.[21] Publisher Tony Lyons announced the decision in response to a decline in net sales by 19% in 2017, and issues related to paper shortages and book distribution.[22]

Partnerships and distribution

In December 2016, Skyhorse announced the launch of a new venture to extend its brand into the TV, film and streaming digital arenas, teaming up with boutique production company Thank You, Brain! Productions. The enterprise will mine the intellectual property of Skyhorse and adapt books for visual media and genres.[23]

For branded titles related to outdoor topics, Skyhorse has developed partnerships with operations such as the oldest mail-order retailer in the U.S., Orvis, and the non-profit organization, Trout Unlimited.[24]

Skyhorse and Simon & Schuster released the news in July 2018 that Simon & Schuster will distribute Skyhorse titles in the U.S. and most markets and territories around the world beginning in January 1, 2019.[25]

Bestselling books and notable authors

In 2008, Skyhorse published the erotic travelogue Around the World in 80 Lays, by Joe Diamond, writer for Playboy TV's travel series Sexy Things to Do Before You Die.[26] Skyhorses's 41st bestseller Defeating ISIS: Who They Are, How They Fight, What They Believe by Malcolm Nance, debuts as #9 on the New York Times e-book bestseller list, July 3, 2016.[27]

The Case Against Impeaching Trump by Alan Dershowitz became a New York Times bestseller on July 29, 2018.[28] Published through Skyhorse’s Hot Books imprint, “Mr. Dershowitz said he wanted to offer a counterpoint to the raft of books arguing for the validity of impeachment.”[29]

As of Spring 2019, the company has published 49 New York Times Best Sellers, as can be found combing the New York Times Best Seller Lists.[30] Notable among these are A Man Called Intrepid, American Conspiracies, Fix-It and Forget-It Cookbook, Gameknight999 Series, Man Who Killed Kennedy.[31][32][33][34][35] Recent best sellers include Kitty Genovese, Hands of War, Secrets of the Notebook, Search for Anne Perry, Surgeon in Blue, Spymistress.[36][37][38][39][40] and Framed: Why Michael Skakel Spent Over a Decade in Prison for a Murder He Didn't Commit by Robert F. Kennedy Jr., arguing that Skakel is not guilty of the Murder of Martha Moxley for which he was convicted in 2002 but released pending a new trial in 2013.[41] On September 20, 2017, ‘’IndieWire’’ announced that FX Productions has obtained the rights to develop a multi-part television series based on Kennedy’s book.[42] Children's picture book Touch the Earth by Julian Lennon reached #4 on the May 7, 2017 List.[43] The Mueller Report with an introduction by Alan Dershowitz was added to the Best Seller List on May 1, 2019.[44]

Skyhorse has also published the works of four Nobel Prize Novelists, including: Samuel Beckett, Octavio Paz,[45] Ivo Andric and Mo Yan,[46] who won the Prize in 2012,[47] as well as by Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Elie Wiesel.[45]

The book, The Walk by Philippe Petit, about his daring walk between the NYC World Trade Center Towers, released by Skyhorse on July 21, 2015,[48] based on a major motion picture also titled The Walk directed by Robert Zemeckis and released on September 30, 2015.[49] On September 16, 2016, Skyhorse released the official motion picture tie-in book Snowden, timed to the release of the Oliver Stone film by the same name.[50] The book Last Flag Flying, by Darryl Ponicsan, published by Skyhorse on September 5, 2017, has been made into a feature film, directed by Richard Linklater, and starring Bryan Cranston, Laurence Fishburne, and Steve Carell, and will open at theaters on November 3, 2017.[51]

Sky Pony, the children's book imprint of Skyhorse, publishes a line of unofficial Hacks for Minecrafters books, and a series of original, unofficial novels. Along with Scholastic, the official licensing publisher of Minecraft books in the U.S., the two houses publish the majority of Minecraft titles for kids.[52]

Skyhorse has published thirty-five titles about the assassination of John F. Kennedy,[53] including many promoting conspiracy theories.[54][55] The company was reported to have invested $1 million on acquisition, printing and marketing for the publication of eight new books on the subject in 2013; as well as $300,000 to $400,000 on the reprints of seventeen others.[55] Authors on the subject published or re-published by Skyhorse include Richard Belzer,[53][55] Gaeton Fonzi,[53] Jim Garrison[55] Mark Lane,[55] Peter Dale Scott,[55] Roger Stone,[53] Jesse Ventura,[53] and Harold Weisberg.[53]


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  54. David Corn, Trump's No. 1 Booster Goes Real Dirty to Attack the Clintons: With his new book and video project, can Roger Stone get any lower?, Mother Jones (September 18, 2015)
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