In 1934, on his way to London after visiting his friend Agatha Christie, the young publisher Allen Lane stopped at the station bookstall at Exeter St Davids and saw that the books on sale were of a poor quality and overpriced. What was needed, he realised, were good books at a price everyone could afford. Within a year he had founded Penguin Books, creating a paperback revolution that would sweep the world.
Today at Penguin Random House, Sir Allen Lane’s founding principles remain as important as ever. We connect the world with the stories, ideas and writing that matter, putting books into the hands of as many readers as possible.
Today, a commerative plaque for Sir Allen Lane is being unveiled at Exeter St Davids station, in the very spot where he was inspired to create the sixpenny paperback. To celebrate, we are exploring his life and legacy, as well as his contribution to British publishing and influence on Penguin Random House today.