Since its start in 1935, Penguin has been spearheading in suggesting ideas of what a modern day publisher should pursue by offering paperbacks with affordability and portability, formulating ideas to meet the needs of the times and establishing brand identity through book design ideas. Even when sold for affordable price, penguin ensured quality of contents between the covers by finding the best-qualified authors. All of these were made possible by the founder, Allen Lane’s simple belief that “Books are for reading.”
A year has passed since B published its first issue. We are now proud to present our 10th issue.
Truthfully, it has not been easy to publish a magazine on a monthly basis with so many important things to take into account. The most important of all, of course, is our readers, who have been so supportive of this magazine’s unique approach since its inception. Knowing that many of our readers have already begun stacking past editions of B on their bookshelves, everyone here has been working hard to continually come up with new and exciting ideas.
Any successful brand name needs a certain belief system to establish its “philosophy.” The philosophy cannot be too heavy, nor can the subject matter be overly complicated because it all starts from observations and curiosity about day-to-day life. To keep up with all the good work after a brand’s launch, however, tremendous courage and persistence are needed. No matter how solid a brand’s philosophy may be, without the continued hard work it will not be successful – without the courage and persistence it simply won’t live on. The past year has allowed us – and by extension you, the reader – to learn more about certain world-famous brands that embrace this notion of a solid philosophy, courage and persistence so that we can share these companies’ stories with everyone. Ultimately, it also allows us to discover the importance of their values.
This issue focuses on Penguin, a British publishing company with more than seventy years of history behind it. The late founder, Allen Lane, was appalled by the lack of “good quality reading materials at attractive prices” and began to seek ways to offer quality books for the mass public. That is how Penguin got its start in 1935. Light and portable Penguin paperbacks were indeed the founder’s brainchild. Back then, paperbacks, in general, were considered poorly produced. Mr. Lane, however, made reading affordable for the public at large with his ingenious idea to create entire paperback series. To carry out this idea, he published books that were adjusted by size and weight, yet never compromised on the quality of the material between the covers. Penguin has set an amazing example in terms of book design by hiring top designers like the typographer Jan Tschichold, and is continually providing inspiration to future designers. These ceaseless efforts have led to a truly pioneering set of books that can be offered at affordable price. And this was ultimately made possible thanks to the founder’s belief that books are made for “reading, not collecting.”
While it is relatively easy for books and authors, music albums and musicians, and movies and directors to establish a brand name, the same is not true for publishing companies, record labels and film companies. Publishing companies are conventionally taken as platforms to distribute their creative production. The exception is Penguin, a publishing company that has established its own brand image. In the future, business will be about creating and distributing items with what kind of philosophy, as well as which creators and distributors are most likely to be at the center of attention. As markets are flooded with more and more contents – and clothing stores offering multiple fashion brands in one place are just a small part of this vast example – Penguin should give everyone a moment’s pause.
As B moves on to its second year, JOH & Company pledges to make its dream of establishing a brand that is small in size yet can maintain a unique value a reality – just as the magazine has done with the other brand names it has covered over the last year. These are brand names that are not easily bowled over by current trends or short-term profits, and instead work hard no matter how many challenges they face along the way. I would like to express my sincere thanks to everyone at JOH & Company who has shown such enormous support for my dream over this time, and also to all the incredible readers out there for their continued interest in and support of B.
The founder of Penguin first came up with the idea of starting his own publishing business on a platform at Exeter station after meeting a renowned writer. His idea was to introduce reading materials with more variety and accessibility than ever before.
06:28 PUBLISHING STRUCTURE
This section takes a brief look at the organizational structure of the Penguin Group. Even for those who are familiar with Penguin, this is likely to be the peek inside the global publishing company.
07:30 COVERS BY ERA
Penguin made a name for itself with its series of cover designs. Over the last seven decades, it has continuously introduced new and unforgettable designs. B takes a brief look at some of the publishing house’s major works by decade.
09:36 ONE NOVEL BY THE DIFFERENT PUBLISHERS
In some cases, the copyright of a single novel can be acquired by multiple publishing houses. B takes a closer look at the different approaches taken between other publishing companies and Penguin.
10:38 PENGUINS FROM THE DIFFERENT DECADES
Penguin has reprinted some of its titles, with intervals as short as every few years, and others as long as a few decades. Because published goods tend to mirror the times, it is interesting to take a glance at what changes a title has gone through the years.
11:40 PENGUINS FROM THE DIFFERENT COUNTRIES
Penguin has its books sold in numerous languages in more than one hundred forty countries around the globe, and the editors have managed to track down some rare copies of Penguin books. It is fascinating, but without the Penguin logo, some of the books we found would not be recognized otherwise.
12:42 RARE VINTAGE PENGUINS
B visited one of the collectors’ home for an interview and then went further to assemble a number of rare copies after the collector’s some recommendations. What were once carefully stored in plastic covers were taken out and are now presented on the pages of this magazine.
13:47 INTERVIEW 03
This Penguin collector is widely known in the U.K. for his Penguin collection that media outlets such as the BBC have covered. The entire home actually looks like a Penguin museum, and B met the interviewee to share a number of stories that could not be heard anywhere else.
14:52 BOOK FORMATS
Books are published in vast variety of formats, ranging from hardcopy collections to e-books. Penguin’s signature paperbacks, come in a wide range of formats as well. This section compares a wide range of books that come in different sizes and designs.
15:54 A BOOK’S WORTH
Penguin attempted to introduce affordable reading materials for everyone, regardless of their income level, and this has remained an essential element to the company’s business. Based on consumer price indexes in each era, this section compares how much a Penguin title was worth when it was sold at six pence with a current Penguin title.
18:66 PENGUIN SPOTTING
Penguin titles can be spotted in unlikely places, from barber shops to clothing stores to cemeteries. Indeed, one gravestone we found had an epitaph design inspired from Penguin’s signature book cover design.
21:73 B’S CUT
Whether a book or movie title, a brand name remains entrenched in someone’s memory because it represents something special to that particular person. B’s Cut for this issue was drawn up after talking with an assortment of different Penguin readers who shared some of their own special moments.
22:88 BRAND STORY
The publishing company’s founder, Allen Lane, poured his heart and soul into bringing about changes to the world through the medium of publishing. B hopes its readers will make the time to discover more about the countless creative attempts made by the company’s founder.
As fall is said to be a season of book reading, perhaps we should all go out to a neighborhood bookstore to find something to read after going through this edition of B. It is all staff member’s sincere wish that readers find some pleasure in tracking down some notable literature.
- Suyoung Joh
- Editor In Chief
- Taehyuck Choi
- Deputy Editorial Director
- Eunsung Park
- Heather Yoo
- Styling Editor
- Insung Yoo
- Project Editor
- Nari Park
- Guest Editor
- Donghyun Seo, Eunah Kim
- Contributing Editors
- Hyeyoung Lee, Nari Park(U.K), Eaji Lee(JAPAN), Sungjoo Kim(GERMANY)
- Art Director
- Chiho Ghim
- Hyekyung Shin
- Rama, Junghoon Woo, Juyeon Lee, Minhwa Maeng
- Onedoe Jung
- Gieun Lee
- Text Correction
- Richard Harris, Heather Yoo
- Hyungjin Choi
- JOH & Company
- Top Process
- Paper Supplying
- Penguin Group’s Official Webpage
- Penguin Archive Project by Bristol University
- Penguin Collectors Society
- Popular Penguin Facebook Page
- Penguin Special – The Life and Times of Allen Lane
- Penguin Portrait – Allen Lane and the Penguin Editors
- Penguin by Design: A Cover Story 1935-2005