Author: Ann Spivack

Small Book, Big Comfort

In 1934, Allen Lane couldn’t find a thing to read at the Exeter train station. He decided to create well-designed copies of classic titles and make them affordable. Lane wanted each book to cost no more than a packet of cigarettes — just 6 pence per copy. The publishing trade in England dismissed his idea but when Woolworth pre-ordered 63,000 copies, Penguin Books was born. The first ten titles included authors Ernest Hemingway, Agatha Christie and Dorothy Sayers — and brought in $3 million in 12 months.   During WWII, Penguin printed titles directed at the war effort —...

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A Grander Vision

If you think of life as a river, with each of us tumbling in the current, bookstores form small coves, places where you can escape the rush while considering the world. Amazon can get you the books but it’s not a haven.   I met Jeff Bezos when Amazon was new. He was considering buying the company I worked for. I loved the idea of an online bookstore and couldn’t wait to talk to Jeff about books. It shocked me to discover he didn’t love books. Books, toys, pantyhose – for Jeff, these were steps toward a grander vision....

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* The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and most probably, but do not necessarily, reflect the position of Word151.

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