30 July

Classic Cocktail image

Penguin Books Debut

So we are drinking a...

Classic Cocktail

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The paperback revolution began on this day in 1935 with the publication of ten Penguin books.

They were the inspiration of Allen Lane, who, travelling home from a weekend visiting Agatha Christie in Devon, was frustrated at the lack of cheap but good fiction available at Exeter railway station. The original Penguin books were colour-coded and included works by Ernest Hemingway, Dorothy L. Sayers and Agatha Christie. Each one cost just six pence, at a time when hardcovers were priced at seven or eight shillings. The new concept was an instant success and Lane went on to launch Penguin as a standalone publisher in 1936. Within a year, Penguin had sold three million paperbacks, many of which would go on to become classics, so today we'll be drinking none other than a Classic Cocktail.

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