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Our Legacy

Penguin Books was the brainchild of British publisher, Allen Lane, in 1935. Urban legend speaks of his fruitless quest to find a good book to read at the Exeter Railway Station, which, among other factors, led to the inspiration for Penguin Books and the production of a range of affordable and high-quality paperback books.

At the time, paperbacks weren’t the chosen format for anyone wishing to publish serious, well-written literature. The books soon found a profitable market in the UK, surprising initial skeptics of Lane’s idea, and setting the tone for intellectual reading as a layman’s game in the twentieth century-a tradition still upheld by you, amongst millions of other bookworms today.

In 1925, Bennet Cerf, aged 27, and Donald S Klopfer, aged 23, purchased the 109- volume Modern Library, reprints of classic works from literature and added more American writers and some older classics to the series. After two years of expanding The Modern Library, these budding publishers said ‘We just said we were going to publish a few books on the side at random’ and founded Random House – a publishing house that will let them publish books that interested them, at random.


The Penguin logo is perhaps one of the most recognisable and iconic logos in the world. And to think of it, the name and the logo was a mere suggestion by Lane’s secretary, Joan Coles. The initial design of the Penguin logo was created by 21 years old office junior, Edward Young, after his trip to the zoo. And now, the little bird can be found on the spines of so many of our most cherished books.