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An opportunity to rescue Penguin bookshelves


From the Penguin donkey to the Penguincubator, the subject of book display whether for sale or in one's own home, has exercised the mind of book lovers over the decades. A casual search on Pinterest calls forward many ideas showing displays past and present; from libraries to tiny spaces, the grand to the ingenious.

Display shelves for bookshops have an interesting history. From the mid-1950s, Penguin and other publishers promoted the display of their books, and gave some financial aid to bookshops. They arranged for the supply of custom bookshelf units and met part of the cost but few of these units have survived the evolution of bookshops and bookselling since then.

Interestingly, Mark Hayhoe of the (sadly closing) Addlestone Bookshop has been using these shelves for some years and is now looking to find a new home for them.

The display shelves date from the early 1970s, and were made by Point 8, a company in the West Midlands that once produced an industry-wide paperback book fixture. The Fontana bookcase (shown left below) shows clearly how the case curves so that the lower shelves are easier for the customer to browse the stock. The vertical section at the bottom of the fixture with the Penguin signage is not part of the same unit, but shows how enterprising sellers have adapted the shelves over the years.

These units have an interesting history. In the seventies they were in use in writer and director Brian Forbes' shop in Virginia Water. Detouring via Chertsey, they have been in the Addlestone Bookshop, nearby, for the past 15 years. The shop will be closing and the business will be transferred to a warehouse in April, and the owner, Mark Hayhoe, has contacted the Society in case a member might wish to buy them.

Altogether there are four units (two with Penguin mastheads, one Pan and one Fontana) and in addition to this there are some spare shelves. The lower verticle unit on which the run of three currently rests could also be made available. Details of size and price can be supplied by Mark and the shelving can be seen at the Addleston Bookshop, 167 Station Road, Addlestone KT15 2BA; 01932 850674 or 07876 154066.

                   
Posted on Tuesday, 7th March 2017