Apress was founded by authors Gary Cornell and Dan Appleman.
In 2003, Apress purchased much of the intellectual property of the designer-oriented publisher friends of ED.
Apress books, for the most part, are characterized by a uniform appearance on the shelf, with a distinctive yellow and black design. This uniformity was pioneered by the design of O'Reilly books, the first contemporary computer publisher to establish a visual presence in shops with a consistent design: however, MacDonald-Elsevier had anticipated this in the 1970s with a uniform design for its series "Monographs in Computer Science".
The uniformity of appearance of Apress books is balanced by a diversity of authorial voices and reasonable tolerance for authors' point of views.
On balance Apress titles are more Microsoft-centric than those of O'Reilly, but some of its most popular titles cover (see below) non-Microsoft subjects.
Their books are distributed worldwide by Springer-Verlag.