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Penguin’s story is as compelling as the stories they publish.


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01:02 INTRO
The founder of Penguin first came up with the idea of starting his own publishing business on a platform at Exeter station after meeting a renowned writer. His idea was to introduce reading materials with more variety and accessibility than ever before

This section takes a brief look at the organizational structure of the Penguin Group. Even for those who are familiar with Penguin, this is likely to be the peek inside the global publishing company.


Penguin made a name for itself with its series of cover designs. Over the last seven decades, it has continuously introduced new and unforgettable designs. B takes a brief look at some of the publishing house’s major works by decade.


In some cases, the copyright of a single novel can be acquired by multiple publishing houses. B takes a closer look at the different approaches taken between other publishing companies and Penguin.

Penguin has reprinted some of its titles, with intervals as short as every few years, and others as long as a few decades. Because published goods tend to mirror the times, it is interesting to take a glance at what changes a title has gone through the years.


Penguin has its books sold in numerous languages in more than one hundred forty countries around the globe, and the editors have managed to track down some rare copies of Penguin books. It is fascinating, but without the Penguin logo, some of the books we found would not be recognized otherwise.

B visited one of the collectors’ home for an interview and then went further to assemble a number of rare copies after the collector’s some recommendations. What were once carefully stored in plastic covers were taken out and are now presented on the pages of this magazine.

This collector is widely known in the U.K. for his Penguin collection that media outlets such as the BBC have covered. The entire home actually looks like a Penguin museum, and B met the interviewee to share a number of stories that could not be heard anywhere else.

Books are published in vast variety of formats, ranging from hardcopy collections to e-books. Penguin’s signature paperbacks, come in a wide range of formats as well. This section compares a wide range of books that come in different sizes and designs.

Penguin attempted to introduce affordable reading materials for everyone, regardless of their income level, and this has remained an essential element to the company’s business. Based on consumer price indexes in each era, this section compares how much a Penguin title was worth when it was sold at six pence with a current Penguin title.

Penguin titles can be spotted in unlikely places, from barber shops to clothing stores to cemeteries. Indeed, one gravestone we found had an epitaph design inspired from Penguin’s signature book cover design.

Whether a book or movie title, a brand name remains entrenched in someone’s memory because it represents something special to that particular person. B’s Cut for this issue was drawn up after talking with an assortment of different Penguin readers who shared some of their own special moments.

The publishing company’s founder, Allen Lane, poured his heart and soul into bringing about changes to the world through the medium of publishing. B hopes its readers will make the time to discover more about the countless creative attempts made by the company’s founder.

As fall is said to be a season of book reading, perhaps we should all go out to a neighborhood bookstore to find something to read after going through this edition of B. It is all staff member’s sincere wish that readers find some pleasure in tracking down some notable literature.


Since its start in 1935, has been spearheading in suggesting ideas of what a modern day publisher should pursue by offering paperbacks with affordability and portability, formulating ideas to meet the needs of the times and establishing brand identity through book design ideas. Even when sold for affordable price, Penguin ensured quality of contents between the covers by finding the best-qualified authors. All of these were made possible by the founder, Allen Lane’s simple belief that “Books are for reading.”

Magazine B publisher Suyong Joh on Penguin, from the Publisher’s note in the issue:

While it is relatively easy for books and authors, music albums and musicians, and movies and directors to establish a brand name, the same is not true for publishing companies, record labels and film companies. Publishing companies are conventionally taken as platforms to distribute their creative production. The exception is Penguin, a publishing company that has established its own brand image. In the future, business will be about creating and distributing items with what kind of philosophy, as well as which creators and distributors are most likely to be at the center of attention. As markets are flooded with more and more contents – and clothing stores offering multiple fashion brands in one place are just a small part of this vast example – Penguin should give everyone a moment’s pause.

Other quotes from the issue:

Penguin introduced its Great Ideas series in 2003 and it created an enormous stir in the industry by going back to the original design ideas for paperbacks. Everything seemed to have gone back to the original – the book size and even the use of light and the thin paper for printing the actual pages. Penguin used tooling techniques like letterpress so the books have an analogue finishing touch to them in all respects – in both the way they look and feel. I think all of this was made possible because Penguin had its unique philosophy.
Kiseob Lee, CEO of Thanks Books
Penguin is unique that they valued the contribution of design from the outset and have never strayed far from their original ethos. Too many books get designed by committee, but Penguin are consistently sure-footed when it comes to backing a strong, singular approach – a rare and highly prized attribute for any designer!
David Pearson, Book Designer

A good pairing with Magazine B Tsutaya  and Magazine B: Monocle

Additional information

Weight 380 g
Dimensions 9.5 × 6.75 × 0.75 in





6.69 X 9.45in

Issue #


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