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Penguin Collectors Society

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Why do the PCS Publications vary in size and format?

The size and format of each book is judged entirely according to what is appropriate for the book in question.

Sometimes, as with three of the books on the Building of England series, they are published in the same format so that they look similar, but in most books the size and format is determined by individual factors. Here are the reasons for the size chosen for some of our publications:

Maigret and the Penguin Books. This is in ‘A’ format, 111 x 181mm, the original size of Penguin books and of paperback books in this country before B format became common. This was the most appropriate size for this title as most of the Simenon Maigrets were published in this format. Abram Games and Penguin Books and Father and Son were published in this size for the same reasons.

Penguin Scribe. This is in ‘B’ format, 129 x 198mm, the size of most modern paperbacks. Other titles in this format are In Search of a Hero, Penguin by Designers, Penguin Classics, Penguin in Africa, The Penguin Companion and William Shakespeare in Penguin Books.

A Checklist of Puffin Picture Books and Related Series is in the same format as the Puffin Picture Book series to which it refers.

King Penguins. This size, 148.5 x 210mm, was chosen for two reasons. The first was that it is an economical size in terms of minimal paper wastage in printing. The second was that the width was needed for the sake of the Appendices, particularly Nos.2 and 4, and the overall page size allowed illustrations and text to be integrated with the illustrations at a good size. The hardback binding was chosen as the majority of King Penguins were hardback.

The Penguin Collector. For many years the size was 129 x 190mm, established by Steve Hare in conjunction with a former Penguin typographer and the Secretary of the Private Library Society in December 1995. From issue 88 the size was increased to ‘B’ format 129 x 198mm in order better to accommodate illustrations. Since issue 31 the cover has been a tribute to the tri-banded horizontal design of the earliest Penguins, with varying colours representing Penguin’s own original colour-coded categories. There have been two exceptions; to mark Penguin’s 80th anniversary Steve Hare commissioned designs for issues 84 of June 2015 and 85 of December 2015. The cover for issue 84 was designed by Jim Stoddart, Art Director of Penguin UK, and the cover for issue 85 was designed by Paul Buckley, Creative Director of Penguin USA. Both these designs were also personal tributes to Steve Hare who had died earlier that year