Eighty Years Ago, Paperback Books Were Considered “Creative Destruction”

July 30th, 2015

Today when we think about the publishing industry, we usually think about the ways that it is changing to accommodate the digital world.  E-books, E-readers, cloud storage and white backgrounds dominate the conversation.

But believe it or not, there have been other times when the publishing industry has been rocked by fundamental change and when that change was met with fervent resistance.  One of those times was eighty years ago when an executive name Allen Lane, had this idea for something called “paperback books.”

Books that would be more accessible to the masses. Available not just in bookstores, but in train stations, newsstands and and even the corner grocer.

That fundamental idea by Lane, has been a part of all our lives and of our reading and learning experience.  It also became the basis for the company that he started,  Penguin Books.  One of the most iconic names in publishing today.  An imprint that today is the flagship of Penguin Random House and on this very day marks its eightieth anniversary.

Looking back and looking forward at the publishing industry is Patrick Nolan, VP, Editor in Chief and Associate Publisher at Penguin Books.

My conversation with Patrick Nolan: