What are some upcoming trends for 2014?
Princeton Architectural Press has always published books that interest us intrinsically. Is the story strong? Are the images interesting? Is the writing accessible? So while we see trends in design, architecture and graphic design, it’s really not how we publish books. We want to have a unique voice that, we hope, leads trends rather than follows them and stands out from the pack. A few favorites coming this fall are some great photography books: one on the Arctic and Antarctic, Melting Away by Camille Seaman who spent the last 10 years documenting icebergs and wildlife; and San Francisco, Portrait of a City 1940-1960 by Fred Lyons, whose images are so beautifully composed; and Sheldon and Stefan Nadelman’s Terminal Bar, about New York City’s most notorious dive bar in Times Square in the dark days of the 1970s. Each book has its own unique story and is paired with stunning imagery and top-notch design and production.
What book/genre/topic would you like to see cross your transom?
I get very excited about submissions with the criteria I mention above—strong narrative, interesting imagery, accessible writing—and when these elements are paired with an unusual, unconventional or quirky topic, we know we have something special. For example, Emily Spivack’s Worn Stories just arrived, and it’s a spectacular mix of memoir, photographs and clothing. Louise Fili’s next book, Grafica della Strada, a decadelong documentation of the street and shop signs of Italy, is a visual feast of a disappearing art form. We also have a growing children’s list that focuses on art and architecture, such as our Meet the Artist series, which includes books on Pablo Picasso, Alexander Calder and (forthcoming) Henri Matisse, as well as Who Built That?: Skyscrapers and Who Built That?: The Modern House.
What topic don’t you ever want to see again?
Although it’s easy to tire of certain topics or genres, ultimately, if the elements are there, it’s exciting to see how a book can transcend the tried-and-true. We just published PetCam, a book of photographs taken by animals wearing collar-sized cameras, that we think surpasses the overpublished “pet book” category.
What is unique about your corner of the industry?
I am incredibly lucky to work with a roster of authors who care deeply not only about their own topic but also about the printed book. As a press, we pay a lot of attention to the text, design and production of the books we publish, all of which show and create a distinct Princeton “look and feel.” As a small press, we have a really diverse and interesting staff that really cares about our books and their beauty as physical objects. Not every publisher is able to do that these days, so we’re grateful for the chance and to have found an audience who appreciates this level of craft and attention to detail.
Jennifer Lippert is the Editorial Director at Princeton Architectural Press, where she specializes in books on photography, design, architecture and visual culture. Princeton Architectural Press is well-known for books that offer a unique editorial vision, unrivaled design sense and high-production values. See www.papress.com for more.