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The largest Penguin Book Reference Site on the Web

☆ 150 pages of information: lists of books, cover designers and translators, and other material, with over 8,800 entries and over 9,300 images.      WEBSITE CONTENTS

☆ We now have complete AUTHOR and TITLE Indexes (pink and lilac tabs/links on left)
☆ We have fully comprehensive lists of over 1,300 Designers, Illustrators, Artists and Photographers who created or are featured on Penguin BOOK COVERS (light blue tab/link on left)
☆ And complete lists of over 350 TRANSLATORS (yellow tab/link on left)
☆ There is now a new FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions) section with some questions from our mailbag (purple tab/link on left)

A year for reflection and hope

Next year, 2025, sees Penguin celebrate 90 years of publishing. Over the years since 1935, though the company has grown, been taken over and merged, the name 'Penguin' has remained at the forefront because of its iconic branding. This was both the vision and the legacy of its founder, Allen Lane. You can see more about the HISTORY OF PENGUIN BOOKS here.

However, the iconic branding did not prevent one or two unusual series from appearing.

In 1961 Allen Lane did a deal with Horwitz, an Australian publisher of pulp fiction, to print some of Penguin's list. These books had rather garish covers to appeal to a popular readership, a format which had previously been understood to be contrary to Allen Lane's taste in book covers. Penguin claimed that this was a marketing experiment which aimed to reach the mass market. They were sold through cornershops and newsagents. The erarliest Penguin title was Dashiell Hammett's The Thin Man, originally publshed as number 14 in October 1935. See HORWITZ PENGUINS (Australia) 1961-3

In 1965 Penguin supported a move to 'new mathematics' by printing copies of what was called 'The Shropshire Mathematics Experiment'. It was meant to be a 'work in progress' project with book revisions generated by feedback from teachers and pupils. The project was the inspiration of Raymond Sydney Heritage, a mathematics lecturer at a teachers training college, and he was the principal author of all the books in the series. These books then became part of the Penguin Education series a couple of years into the project. See THE SHROPSHIRE MATHEMATICS EXPERIMENT

In 1982 Penguin took over the Frederick Warne publishing house. Its titles included not only well-known children's fiction such as the books of Beatrix Potter, but also the non-fiction Observer's series. Penguin attempted to revitalise it with new and updated volumes such as 'N5' Observer's Warships by Hugh W. Cowin in 1987. See PENGUIN (NEW) OBSERVER BOOKS, 1987-9

WEBSITE: Work on this site first began in January 2013 and over the years we have gradually enlarged and developed the site contents.

Intended originally to cover the early Penguin Years, 1935 - 1956, we then expanded to include books published up to around 1970. With the development of the new section on Penguin Education, books from the later 1970s are also included.

This is ongoing work, with Penguin Education 'X' series to be continued to 1,000, and further expansion of the Penguin Classics 'L' and Peregrines 'Y' series. And, in 2023, additional pages for PENGUIN OBSERVER BOOKS and PENGUIN UNIVERSITY BOOKS (1971-4) were added to our website.

It is also our hope that later this year we will start a new FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS (FAQ) section.

We would like to thank all those who have contributed ideas and suggestions, information and corrections, and additional images to help make the site more complete and definitive. Thanks are also due to the archivists at the PRH Archive for their help and in facilitating my incursions into their stacks of books.

Every year some 20-25,000 users hop 250,000 times around our site, consulting about 90,000 times on one of our 150 pages of entries, indexes, lists and information. The vast majority are from English speaking nations: UK, USA, Australia and Canada, but we are also viewed by people from an average of 140 countries each year.

At the moment just over half of our visitors still view us from their desktop equipment, but a growing number now find us from their mobile devices. From wherever you come and however you view us there are over 8,000 early Penguin titles and even more images to be found on this website. We hope you will enjoy your voyage of discovery.

This website provides an easy to use comprehensive resource for Penguin lovers everywhere!   A unique reference site for Penguin Book collectors and researchers - with lists and images of early Penguin and vintage Penguin books. There are also Author and Title indexes and alphabetical lists of designers and translators. Plus pages on FAQs, Penguin Ephemera, Classified Booklists, Penguin News, Stocklists and Penguin Progress, lists of the Penguin Collectors Society publications and much more.


This site is a free information resource on Penguin First Edition books (or Penguin First Impressions) - those lovely early and vintage Penguin paperbacks which have now become very collectable!

The site includes detailed lists of books, photographs and information on all of the early Penguin Books - usually thought of as the first 21 years of publishing - from 1935 to 1956, although we also list books and/or series running into the 1960s and 1970s.

You can access the various series from the WEBSITE CONTENTS.

You can also view a list of all the 'PENGUIN SERIES' (also accessed from the green tab on the left) of all the books and periodicals series published by Penguin from 1935. In the list you will find those series already included in our data-base are entered in CAPITAL letters. Just click on that to take you to the relevant series. Each page contains information, with titles and photographs of covers. Alternatively, you can view the list in chronological order of creation at CHRONOLOGICAL LIST OF SERIES

There is also a growing section on The HISTORY of Penguin Books.

Penguin No. 1

Penguin No. 1,000

First Pelican (A1)
This website is intended to provide a resource for those who are collecting PENGUIN BOOKS, researching PENGUIN BOOKS or are just interested or fascinated by them and want to know more. It should be of help to researchers and collectors. All of the series produced by Penguin are collected - and some books are much rarer than others and have become prized by the cognoscenti. Although many thousands of copies were made of most books, some have almost but disappeared - hence their rarity and high value. However, for many of us, it is that familiar look and feel that brings warmth. This web-site is for those who love PENGUIN BOOKS or simply want to find out more about them.

  • LIST OF ALL SERIES - and a link to the information

  • MAIN SERIES 1 - 3,000
    The first ten were published in July 1935 and sold for 6d.(six pence) each. By 30 July 1954 Penguin had published Number 1,000. We have listed the complete run to 3,000, the final book being Ulysses by James Joyce, pubished in April 1969. The listings take the publication date to around 1970.
    Penguin used the colours of the cover to signify different types of book:
    Fiction were in Orange covers
    Biography in Dark Blue
    Crime/Detection in Green
    Travel and Adventure in Cerise
    Plays in Red
    Miscellaneous in Yellow
    Essays and Belles Lettres in a Light Purple
    World Affairs in Grey.

  • PELICANS 1 - 1,000
    Penguin published PELICANS from May 1937. These were in their familiar light blue and white covers. We list the first 1,000 which were published up to early 1969.

    This was a very fine set of illustrated hardbacks - The KING PENGUIN series. The series began in November 1939 and the final book, number 76 was published in 1959. This series has become very collectable.


    This site would like to acknowledge the help provided by Helen Beardsley and the staff at the Archives and Special Collections section of Stirling University Library which houses the Mitchell Penguin Collection, a collection of some 3,500 Penguin Books collected by Dr Angus Mitchell (a former Chair of the University Court). [see 'Useful Links' page]

    We also acknowledge the generous assistance given by Nicki Carter at the Penguin Random House Archive and Library, Rushden, with their wonderful collection of Penguin Books as part of a huge archival resource; and previously Sue Payne at Rugby.

    We would like to express our thanks for the help of the late Hannah Lowery, Archivist at the Special Collections, University of Bristol Library. The archive holds a large number of Penguin Books from 1935 to present day and includes some 7,800 Penguin books from the personal collection of Sir Allen Lane. [also to be found on the 'Useful Links' page]

    We also are grateful for the co-operation of the Centre for Research Collections, University of Edinburgh Library, in accessing their Penguin Book Collection.

    PENGUIN BOOKS UK particularly wishes to acknowledge with grateful thanks the kind permission of Penguin Books Ltd. (UK) to reproduce its book covers and, where incorporated, its various logos. We would wish to point out to users of this site that, as appropriate, Penguin Books Ltd. and its designers retain their copyright and/or intellectual property in the relevant material.

    Please make your selection from the menus on the left side of this page to access the information resources.

    If you prefer, you can alternatively browse the website from this sitemap.

  • This page was last modified on 7 July 2024
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