Why Penguin may be the smartest publisher around

Oh, Penguin, you’ve found my soft spot.  Books, books, beautiful books, as alluring on the outside as you are on the inside.

Take a gander at these beauties:

The Major Works of Dickens in the new Penguin Classics boxed set

Penguin has come out with special edition classics, with stunning covers created by acclaimed designer Coralie Bickford-Smith.  Their web page says, “Penguin Classics presents beautiful hardcover editions of the world’s favorite books. Featuring gorgeous patterns stamped on linen cases, colored endpapers, and ribbon markers, these are rich and sumptuous volumes that continue what will be one of the most coveted sets of books ever produced.”

“Great Expectations” has white chandeliers on a black background. “Cranford’s” cover is adorned with climbing sweet peas, “Little Women” pink scissors against taupe, ” creamy moths flutter across the cover of “The Hound of the Baskerville’s”.  Wonderful stuff.

I admit it — I’m reading a lot of books on my Kindle these days.  I picked this e-reader over others not because I am in love with Amazon, but because it’s an ink reader and much easier on the eyes than other computer-screen type readers.  When you do as much reading as I do, this matters.  At first I thought I’d only read non-fiction on my Kindle, but before long I was reading just about everything on the darn thing.  I don’t know why, but I seem to read faster, and then, too, I don’t have to lug an extra suitcase of books with me when I travel. Not to mention the fact my house is less buried under stacks than it once was.

But if I read a book on my Kindle and love it, I end up buying the actual book.  This means I am a publishers dream, I do get that, and I don’t mind, since publishers publish ME and I want them to stay in business.  The books slowly making their way to my shelves , therefore, are the ones I really love, and that truly reflect, I think, my interior world, which is one thing a house full of books does, don’t you think — it acts as a sort of map to the reader’s mind and heart and soul.

And then there are the classics, like these Penguin books, which I will always want to read in the actual book form, simply because it is part of the ritual of reading them, in a way that reading say, a murder mystery or the latest ‘must read’ contemporary fiction.  Books are objects of beauty even when they’re not packaged so enticingly as these Penguin editions — but man, I simply can’t resist these.  I’ve decided to buy one a month until I have the entire collection, and I only hope they come out with more and more.  Bravo to Penguin, who understands the value of a lovely cover and a well-made object.


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