At sixpence each, the books were tailor-made for Woolworths department stores. George Orwell immediately saw the disruptive potential. “Penguin books are splendid value for sixpence, so splendid that if the other publishers had any sense they would combine against them and suppress them.”
The reaction of the reading public, though, was enthusiastic and emphatic. Within four days of the launch, 150,000 Penguins had been sold. Within four months, sales reached one million. In 1946, the firm would sell its hundred millionth book.
- Penguin and the Lane Brothers: The Untold Story of a Publishing Revolution, is published by Black Inc Books