Today is a day for those who still enjoy the feel and smell of a real book. It’s Paperback Book Day: the anniversary of the day the first Penguin paperbacks were published in England in 1935.
When it was introduced, the paperback book revolutionized reading (much like the e-reader has done more recently)
Before that, books had heavy wooden covers, were bound in leather and stitched to a spine. These books were, and are, durable and attractive, but they are also expensive and bulky, heavy.
Although paperback books existed before 1935, they were mostly cheap and poor quality, since the hardcover book was the only way to read “good literature”.
Sir Allen Lane felt people should be able to get good books more easily and inexpensively. So he attempted to publish respectable quality writing without a hardcover and started what would become Penguin books.
One of the things that led to lighter books was the use of the railway, a fast form of travel across great distances. During those long journeys, passengers read to spend their time and this got easier when books became less expensive, large and heavy.
This simple innovation transformed the reading habits all over the world because paperback books have become more and more popular for both their reduced price and their portability: a beautiful way to carry about our favourite books on our person.
📕 “Books are a uniquely portable magic” – Stephen King
📕 “A book is a dream that you hold in your hand.” – Neil Gaiman
📕 “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy books and that’s kind of the same thing.” – Anonymous