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In 1935, if you wanted to read a good book, you needed either a lot of money or a library card. Cheap paperbacks were available, but their poor production generally tended to mirror the quality between the covers.

Penguin paperbacks were the brainchild of Allen Lane, who decided that good quality contemporary fiction should be made available at an attractive price and sold not just in traditional bookshops, but also in railway stations, tobacconists and chain stores.

The first Penguin paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935 and were colour coded (orange for fiction, blue for biography, green for crime) and cost just sixpence, the same price as a packet of cigarettes. The way the public thought about books changed forever - the paperback revolution had begun.








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