Over 75 Years
The evolution of Penguin Books over the past 75 years has been extraordinary. In 1935, the world was cast into a global economic downturn and The Dust Bowl had laid waste to a huge swath of American and Canadian prairies. Across the Atlantic, Adolf Hitler announced German re-armament, thus setting the stage for another bloody world war. But this was also the year in which one man had a vision that would change publishing forever.
Allen Lane had the revolutionary idea to offer affordable, quality paperback books through outlets like railway stations and newsagents as well as bookshops. He wanted to make good books as accessible and cheap to procure as a pack of cigarettes at a kiosk. Lane launched his new line of books on July 30, 1935, with ten inexpensive paperbacks (for an in-depth look at these first ten Penguins, click here). Simply designed with broad bands of color, the original ten books immediately established themselves within the history of design. Skeptics dismissed Lane's idea as imprudent and crazy, but by March 1936ten months after the company's launchone million Penguin books had been printed. Within a year, Penguin had sold three million paperbacks. The skeptics were proven wrong and a new, innovative publishing model was launched into the world.
Now, in 2010, Penguins are published globally in the United States, U.K., Canada, South Africa, India, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland, China, and Korea. Penguin Books authors have won 25 Nobel Prizes, 18 National Book Awards, and 12 Pulitzer Prizes. Penguin Books is the flagship imprint of Penguin Group (USA) and includes Penguin Classics, the largest and most comprehensive list of English language classics published in the world. And now in 2010, Penguin Bookswhich publishes more than 300 books per year in the United States and has more than 3,600 Penguin Books and 1,500 Penguin Classics in printis thrilled to be celebrating its 75th birthday.