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Princeton Architectural Press Moving Skyward
Jim Milliot -- 1/3/00

Although it was founded in 1981, it was not until the mid-1990s that Princeton Architectural Press began to experience rapid sales growth. The first of two actions that led to PAP's expansion was a 1996 distribution agreement with Chronicle Books. A year later, PAP founder Kevin Lippert sold a share of the company to Springer Verlag, parent company of the architectural publisher Birkhauser of Basel, Switzerland. The agreement not only strengthened PAP's European distribution channel, it added another 300 titles to the company's catalogue. Those two deals played a major role in boosting the press's sales by more than 90% between 1996 and 1998, a growth rate that would have made the company the fourth fastest-growing small publisher on PW's small publisher list (Feature, Nov. 29)

At the close of 1998, PAP had 12 employees, a number that is now up to 15; the company published 51 titles under its own imprint and distributed another 70 books for five other publishers last year. The company has a 250-title backlist, and sales in 1999 were projected to be around $3 million. According to Lippert, who started the press when he was a student at the Princeton School of Architecture, the goal of the company "is to publish books that bring architecture to the widest possible audience." The company's largest distribution channel is the consumer market, although PAP plans to increase its effort to reach the academic market in 2000. Other 2000 plans include expanding its graphic arts list and adding another distribution client.

The company's list includes monographs on leading contemporary architects, guidebooks, theory texts, illustrated histories and titles on landscape architecture and urbanism. Among its all-time bestsellers are Wright Sites and Sexuality and Space, both of which have sold more than 20,000 copies. Titles selling well now include Tibor Kalman: Perverse Optimist and Manhattan Skyscrapers.
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