The Penguin Takes Off

Today in 1935, the first ten Penguin Books, paperback reprints of titles previously published as hardbacks, are issued by publisher Allen Lane. Each title costs only sixpence each, the price of a pack of cigarettes, and all the titles feature the Penguin brand image and a standardized cover design. Within the first ten months, one million Penguin books had been printed.

In 2005, Toby Clements wrote about Allen Lane in The Telegraph: “Instead of going to university, he joined his uncle at the publisher Bodley Head in London, and perhaps this truncated education – unusual among gentleman publishers of the day – made him impatient with the staid world of pre-war publishing. He was certainly attracted to publishing’s riskier ventures.”

Sounds like anticipating Peter Thiel idea of giving annual scholarships to “20 under 20” for pursuing entrepreneurial, rather than college, careers.

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