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Our Legacy

Penguin Books was the brain child 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 his producing 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. However, the books soon found a profitable market in the UK and set 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. The image of the penguin bird as the primary character, that in collective memory is the image of Penguin Books, as well as the name, was suggested by Lane’s secretary, Joan Coles. The initial design was created by the then-twenty-one-year-old office junior named Edward Young, after a trip to the zoo.

In India, Penguin was started in 1985, and is the largest English language trade publisher in the subcontinent. Publishing started in 1987 with only six books and in 2017 we celebrated thirty years of being in the region, publishing 250 new titles every year and proud owners of an active backlist of over 3000 titles. While we may be famous for publishing the legendary classic fiction people love to devour, we are also known for modern fiction as well as narrative non-fiction, including biography, travel, business, politics, history, religion and philosophy, lifestyle, cookery, health and fitness, sports and leisure, illustrated and children’s books.