Collecting Penguin paperback books is an easy way to enter the world of book collecting. The first ten vintage Penguins were published together in 1935 when Allen Lane wanted to make an inexpensive but high-quality paperback available for purchase in train stations and newspaper stands and book stalls. It is one of the first mass-market paperbacks. Even today, Penguin paperbacks are plentiful and relatively easy to find. The titles are also diverse. You can find novels, biographies, travel narratives, crime, science fiction and classics.
- Skill level:
Choose a collectable category you enjoy, such as novels or biographies. Or specialise within each category and look for little-known authors or award winners. Collecting books with mistakes or illustrations, or collecting first editions can be interesting pursuits as well.
Research the titles available in your area of specialisation through online booksellers. Learn about what editions are available, the range of prices and the rarity of certain titles.
Search for books in your community. Go to antique and consignment shops. Find estate sales announced in the local newspaper, and get there early. Browse used bookstores and talk to the shopkeepers.
Record the title, author, edition, publication date and condition of the books you collect. Note any interesting details about the author or title. For example, you might have an edition that contains errors the publisher later corrected.
Upgrade the quality of your collection. Keep searching for new titles, and grow your collection as you diversify.
Tips and warnings
- Penguin paperback fiction covers are orange; biography covers are blue; crime fiction is green; and pink is for travel.
- "Marching on Tanga" by Francis Brett Young, published in 1940, was accidentally printed with an orange cover, then later corrected. Don't pass up an opportunity to buy a rare book like this one.
- Contrary to popular belief, books don't do well wrapped or sealed in plastic.
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