In 1935 Allen Lane, chairman of British publishing house Bodley Head, couldn't find anything to read while waiting at Exeter train station. Fortunately, he conceived the idea of selling quality, reasonably priced books at train stations. Lane financed his venture and called his new publishing house Penguin Books. A 63,000 book order from Woolworth is what helped Lane begin his project. He acquired the rights to ten reprints such as: The Mysterious Affair at Styles by Agatha Christie, A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway, and The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club by Dorothy Sayers and sold millions of books. Another factor for Penguin's success was the simple design and appearance "The covers contained simple, clean fonts, color-coding (orange for fiction, dark blue for biography) and that cute, recognizable bird." (Anne Trubek, smithsonianmag.com) Subsequently Penguin Books expanded to include other imprints: Pelican Books (non-fiction), Puffin Books (children's books) and Penguin Classics. Overall, Lane introduced quality reading to the general public with his idea for paperbacks.
Who would have thought that all it took was for someone not to have anything to read at the train station for Paperbacks to be developed! Go and pick up a new, old or favorite paperback and start reading!!!