PRH launches new classics range, Pocket Penguins

PRH launches new classics range, Pocket Penguins

Penguin is bringing out a new series of classic titles in a "compact, jewel-like format" called Pocket Penguins.

The series - dubbed "the future of Penguin Classics" - will launch in May 2016, featuring titles such as Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf and The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, priced between £5.99 and £8.99 each.

The "stripped down" but "beautifully designed" A-format series steers Penguin away from "winning formulas" of the past - notably its use of oil paintings on black jackets - in favour of "timeless tri-band simplicity and bold colours".

Penguin’s art director, Jim Stoddart, who was tasked to produce the "approachable and contemporary" new design, said: "The new range blossoms from black into the technicolour of Penguin’s heyday. While this is a comforting nod to past Penguin, this is very much a series of books for the modern age."

PRH said the "bold next step" for Penguin Classics would cater to the same appetite for small, accessible classics publishing that led to over 2.5m worldwide sales of its Little Black Classics last year, including 903,086 copies for £1m through the UK's Nielsen BookScan. Penguin said the new design will show "the power of leaving authors' names and titles to speak for themselves". 

The "carefully curated" series launches with 20 titles from the "Penguin Classics treasure trove", highlighting, according to publishing director Simon Winder, "a mix of the famous and the unjustly overlooked". 

The first 20 titles are: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov; Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf; The Secret Agent by Joseph Conrad, The Good Soldier Svejk by Jaroslav Hasek; The Lost Estate by Alain-Fournier; The Call of Cthulhu by H. P. Lovecraft; The Betrothed by Alessandro Manzoni; Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka; The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge by Rainer Maria Rilke; The House of Ulloa by Emilia Pardo Bazan; Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev; Out of Africa by Karen Blixen; Walden by Henry David Thoreau; A Parisian Affair by Guy de Maupassant; The Beast Within by Emile Zola; The Cossacks and Hadji Murat by Leo Tolstoy; The Malay Archipelago by Alfred Russel Wallace; The Rainbow by D.H. Lawrence; My Childhood by Maxim Gorky; and O Pioneers! by Willa Cather.

Winder said: "We want to highlight a mix of the famous and the unjustly overlooked – these books are intimate, grand, funny, widescreen, painful, visionary – and we have been put on earth to make you want to read them."