The Book, Cat, & Cat Book Lovers Almanac

of historical trivia regarding books, cats, and other animals. Actually this blog has evolved so that it is described better as a blog about cats in history and culture. And we take as a theme the advice of Aldous Huxley: If you want to be a writer, get some cats. Don't forget to see the archived articles linked at the bottom of the page.

July 7, 2016

July 7, 1970

Allen Lane (September 21, 1902 to July 7, 1970) was the founder of Penguin Books, which paperbacks are said to have revolutionized the book business. When Lane bought the paperback edition rights from the original hardback publishers (1935 and later) they took the money, confidently expecting the paperback venture to fail. After all, Lane's were not the first paperbacks to be tried. But he had a vision of marketing opportunities, and also his cover designs was fresh and proved magnetic.

In a review of a biography of Lane, Penguin Special: The Life and Times of Allen Lane by Jeremy Lewis (2005), that Jstor made available, one reader was quoted that the Penguin edition of the Pevsner guides are "a whole cultural education in the built environment." And regarding the Penguin paperback covers, they were color-coded according to category. Orange bands were used on fiction. Here is a picture which may be old:

I am not sure of its origin but I appreciate this site publishing the above example of a fiction cover. The cover of the book she is reading of course.

Green (and white obviously) covers specified crime fiction, cerise was for travel and adventure, dark blue for biographies, yellow for miscellaneous, red for drama; and purple for essays and belles lettres. Grey bands signified content about world affairs.

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