Although we know penguins cannot fly, that has certainly not stopped the publishing company from reaching out to engage socially with its fan base. Penguin Books has stood as a literary monument for many years allowing readers access anything from the classics to the latest bestsellers to a variety of unique merchandise. We are extremely excited to be able to feature them through our ShopTab service on Facebook and here on our blog today.
Q: Penguin Books has been around for quite some time and is internationally well-known today. How did Penguin Books come about?
In 1935 Allen Lane, then a director of The Bodley Head, found himself on a platform at Exeter station searching its bookstall for something to read on his journey back to London, but discovered only popular magazines and reprints of Victorian novels. Appalled by the selection on offer, Lane decided that good quality contemporary fiction should be made available at an attractive price and sold not just in traditional bookshops, but also in railway stations, tobacconists and chain stores. The first Penguin paperbacks appeared in the summer of 1935 and cost just sixpence, the same price as a packet of cigarettes.
Today the company has offices in fifteen countries – from Penguin US (formed in 1939) to Penguin Ireland (opened in 2003) – and keeps more than 5,000 different titles in print at any time. In the twenty-first century the Penguin Group can cater for every stage of a reader’s lifetime, with books from Dorling Kindersley, Frederick Warne, Ladybird, Penguin, Puffin and Rough Guides, making Penguin the home of reading.
Q: You logo resonates very well with readers. What importance does it hold to you and Penguin Books?
A: The company’s founder wanted a ‘dignified but flippant’ symbol for his new business. His secretary suggested a Penguin and another employee was sent to London Zoo to make some sketches. Over 75 years later, wherever you see the little bird – whether it’s on a piece of prize-winning literary fiction or a celebrity autobiography, political tour de force or historical masterpiece, a serial-killer thriller, reference book, world classic or a piece of pure escapism – you can bet that it represents the very best that the genre has to offer.
Q: How does Penguin Books decide which books and writers to publish?
A: Penguin has a team of editors who read manuscripts from new and established writers and decide which to publish.
Q: What are some of your top books/writers?
A: There are too many to name! We’ve been blown away by the recent success of Jamie Oliver’s Jamie’s 30-Minute Meals, which has become the fastest selling non-fiction book of all time in the UK. Recent autobiographies from Michael McIntyre and Stephen Fry are wonderful insights into some of our favorite celebrities and they’ve had amazing receptions. We even published Stephen Fry in app form, myFry, and we’re planning lots of exciting new apps for the upcoming months and years. The Penguin Classics continue to thrive, and include everyone from Jane Austen to Kafka. In terms of contemporary writing, we’re proud to publish the biggest names in literary and commercial fiction, from Clive Cussler to David Foster Wallace. Our non-fiction too, includes cutting edge historians, biographers and political theorists such as Orlando Figes, Claire Tomalin and Dambisa Moyo. And, of course, our children’s divisions, which include Peppa Pig, Beatrix Potter, Percy Jackson and many many more.
Q: How does your online book club work? What are the benefits to users?
A: www.penguin.co.uk/readers is our exclusive area for readers’ group members and those who want to start or join a reading group. Users can take advantage of exclusive discounts, apply for advance copies, contact other reading groups via our noticeboard and swap ideas and suggestions on the Readers’ forum (www.penguinreaders.campaignserver.co.uk). We also send out Café Penguin, a monthly newsletter, with author interviews, book group suggestions, discounts and giveaways.
Q: How has Penguin Books utilized Social Media and an online presence to interact with fans?
A: Penguin Books was the first trade publisher to have a website, the first to open an eBook store and with our apps and enhanced eBooks we continue to be at the forefront of new technologies. According to Jason Gonsalves, Head of Engagement Planning at BBH, “Penguin is every bit as innovative as Nike, which is at the forefront digitally. Its use of digital opportunities to take it in new directions makes it unique in the world of publishing.”
Our website and social media provide an amazing opportunity to have a conversation with book lovers and Penguin enthusiasts. Through our website, blog, Facebook and Twitter, we are able to talk about the editorial process and design story; facilitate greater access to authors; and generally give readers a greater insight into the publishing industry. Readers in turn can feed back to us directly, and so we are more able to respond to their needs.
Q: As a new ShopTab user, what has your experience been so far?
A: We’ve found ShopTab to be very user-friendly, particularly the ease with which products can be added to and moved around within the catalog.
Q: What features do you like best about ShopTab? Why does it work well for Penguin Books?
A: It’s an effective way to display our products online and showcase the range of our publishing to our Facebook fans and for them in turn to share their favorite Penguin products with their friends. It’s a great way to make our catalogue more accessible to people in their own environment. Instead of just linking to our website, now our Facebook fans can browse for books within the Facebook page itself.
Q: How do you feel ShopTab could benefit other businesses and entrepreneurs?
A: As more and more people wish to share with their friends the brands and products they love ShopTab is the perfect way to link up a brand with its consumers and their network of friends.
Hop on over to Facebook to check out Penguin Books and their recently established ShopTab. Comment below and let us know what some of your favorite Penguin Books are? Do you have any favorite brands that leverage social media in unique ways?
Image Source: Observer