Penguin Books began as a European colony on the American
continent: Robert Jonas, Penguin's most important cover designer , was
a European at heart, and Kurt Enoch was German by birth.
With their introduction of PELICAN BOOKS (later to be named
MENTOR BOOKS), a series of nonfiction titles, Penguin set a precedent
which was not followed up by other quality paperback publishers until
after the war.
In July of 1939, a month after the first Pocket Books were
distributed in New York, British Penguin opened an American branch in
that same city, with offices at 3 East 17th Street.
The American Penguin branch was set up strictly as an importer: their task was to bring Penguins, Pelicans and PENGUIN SPECIALS in from England and to sell them in America for 25 cents a copy. This turned out not to be quite as simple as it sounds, though, as the books had to be transported not only from England to East 17th Street, but also from East 17th Street to booksellers throughout America. At this point, Ballantine was missing the one service to which Pocket Books owed its phenomenal succes: an effective distribution network.
|(from The Book of Paperbacks by Piet Schreuders, Virgin Books,1981)||read on|