It was founded 1970 in Frankfurt am Main by Swiss editor Peter Lang (died 2001) as Peter Lang GmbH. A 1977 development saw it transformed into Peter Lang AG, going to Bern. Today the head office remains in Bern, with other offices in Berlin, Brussels, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, and Vienna. It publishes predominantly in English, though also in German, French and occasionally other languages. Books are distributed directly from Switzerland and are not usually available in bookshops. Primary markets are university libraries of Europe and North America.
The press started as a publisher specialising in PhD theses and similar academic volumes mainly in German and serving the needs of German and Austrian academics. It has since broadened its scope, shifting its language focus to English.
Founded in 1982, Peter Lang Publishing Inc is the North American division of the Peter Lang Group. The company, headquartered in New York City, specializes in the publication of monographs in the humanities and social sciences, as well as advanced textbooks in education and media/communication. The research monograph program includes languages and literatures; religion and theology; history; sociology; cultural studies; women’s studies; multicultural studies; linguistics; theater arts; political science; and philosophy. Peter Lang AG in Oxford was founded in 1996. P.I.E.-Peter Lang in Brussels was founded 1999.