Picking up Penguins (Books) for 75 years

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Tales of the man who founded Penguin 75 years ago, conjure up the image of an eccentric character from one of the publisher's books.

Sir Allen Lane was the man who used a fairground slide to drop deliveries to his company (then based in a crypt) and came up with the Penguincubator - a vending machine for the firm's books to be installed on train platforms.

Stories differ as to whether this machine was ever made, with some reports suggesting at least one machine was installed at Charing Cross Station in London.

But as current Penguin chief executive and chairman John Makinson chats about the brand, he touts Sir Allen as the man who changed the reading habits of a nation.

"When Allen Lane founded Penguin in 1935 he had a pretty simple, but pretty radical idea: make great literature available to everyone at an affordable price and for it to appeal not just to the wallet, but to literary taste and the eye, with beautifully designed jackets and style," says Mr Makinson....

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