Friday, July 30, 2010

Friday Freebie: Penguin's 75th Anniversary

At some point in our reading lives, all of us have held a Penguin.  (And if you haven't, then you're really missing out on the world's finest literature.)  What began as the brainchild of Allen Lane in 1935 as a way to distribute quality paperbacks at a price cheaper than buying a pack of cigarettes, soon exploded into a publishing phenomenon.

From the publisher's website:
Simply designed with broad bands of color (orange for general fiction, green for crime fiction, dark blue for biographies), and using the font Gill Sans-Serif, the original ten books immediately established themselves within the history of design.  Skeptics dismissed Lane's idea as imprudent and crazy, but by March 1936 — ten months after the company's launch — one million Penguin books had been printed.  Within a year Penguin had sold 3 million paperbacks.  By April 1938 the first 140 titles had been published, as well as 30 Pelicans, 18 of the Shakespeare series, and one Penguin Special.  The skeptics were proved wrong and a new, innovative publishing model was launched into the world.

Personally speaking, Penguins have formed the foundation of my classics reading experience--starting in college with a copy of Charles Dickens' Dombey and Son (whose orange spine now has scoliosis from multiple reads) and continuing on through today where, in my basement library, I have an entire collection of nearly 150 black-band Penguin Classics.  Simply put, they are the most exciting way to discover (and re-discover) the classics.  A world without Penguins would be a very bleak landscape indeed.

In honor of the publisher's 75th Anniversary, I am teaming up with Penguin to give away one copy of any title from this list of 75 books (please note: the contest referred to on that webpage was sponsored by Penguin and has now closed; but you can still choose one of the 75 for my contest).

All you have to do is e-mail me the title and author of one of the Original 10 Penguins published in 1935.  You'll have to poke around the Penguin anniversary site a little bit, but the answer shouldn't be hard to find.

Click here to e-mail me your answer

Please include your name and your choice from the list of 75 titles.  If you're the winner, I'll contact you for the mailing address to where you'd like us to send the book.  One entry per person.

The contest closes at midnight on Aug. 5, at which time I will place all the correct respondents in a hat and draw the winning name.  I'll announce the winner on Aug. 6.

Good luck and happy Penguining!

1 comment:

  1. about 10 years ago it was a wondrous feeling when I looked at the book case I use for paperbacks and noticed it was about three quarters orange, with a strong contrast of penguin black, and a scattering of off brands.