Tag Archive for Penguin

Penguin using heavy social media ploy for “Likes” on anniversary

Well, you can’t say Penguin isn’t aiming for the younger crowd. (And they’re using social media so blatantly that I’m rather cynical about it.) Their Penguin Classics line is turning 65, so the company is starting a contest. As described in this USA Today Books article (Penguin Classics rolls out skateboard photo contest for 65th anniversary), it’s all about contestants posting a photo of a Penguin Classic book posing with a skateboard.

Fans can post the photos on Penguin USA’s Facebook contest page.  The three prize winners will get skateboard decks with Penguin-themed designs on them. First prize will receive  an Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Graphic Classic skateboard deck; second prize wins a Dharma Bums Graphic Classic deck; and third prize gets a We Have Always Lived in the Castle deck.

Penguin themselves won’t be deciding on the winners, though. This is a pure social media contest. Winners will be decided by public vote — that is, by visitors to the site expressing their vote on the page. So in essence, it’s not really a contest for the best photo of a skateboard and a Penguin Classic. Rather, it’s a contest to see how many people each entrant can drag over to the page to “Like” Penguin and vote.

You’ve got to admit, this is a prime marketing use of social media. It’s all about the number of “Likes” of the PAGE rather than about a) genuinely good contest photos; or b) the number of people who have actually heard of Penguin and really like Penguin BOOKS. They may get a few new book fans this way, but I suspect this will be more like a quick flash mob, hordes of younger people trying to help their friend get a skateboard, and then a ton of “Unlikes” after the contest is over.

Ah well. You do what you have to, I guess.

One thing to note, though, if you’d like to enter the contest because you love books, and you have a ton of bookish friends who will vote for you — the last day to enter the contest is July 31st, 2011. So you don’t have very long.

A Christmas Carol Penguin Audio Book Break

Penguin USA is getting into the holiday spirit this week for its book break. This week’s break is the first four chapters of Dickens’ A  Christmas Carol.

Have you seen any of the Christmas Carol movies yet this season? I noticed one the other night, while I was surfing toward something else, but it didn’t appeal to me particularly. I never really had a favourite until someone insisted I should watch the Alastair Sim version.

I fell in love with it! Yes, it’s over the top, but the whole story is rather over the top, when you think about it. To my mind, at least, the melodrama really fit the story. Now I’m starting to look for that version every year. I haven’t seen it yet, but I bet as we get closer to Christmas, it will show up on some channel. Woo!

Meanwhile, give the Penguin chapters a listen if you’re in the mood for this Christmas tradition:

How far has Penguin come!

Penguin books

I’ve always thought of Penguin books as kind of elite books, or at least the sort of things that university students and intellectuals would buy. I had no idea that they actually started out as books designed to provide inexpensive, good quality fiction for the masses.

Penguin tweeted a link to their company history today, so I started reading. I didn’t know that in the beginning, they carried three genres: biography, fiction, and crime writing, with each genre having its own colour in a band on the cover. (Biography=dark blue, crime=green, fiction=orange)

I love some of the reactions to this new publishing venture, that they’ve quoted on the page. Take George Orwell, for example, in 1936:

if other publishers follow suit, the result may be a flood of cheap reprints which will cripple the lending libraries and check the output of new novels

Isn’t that a scream? The advent of Penguin was going to stop new novels! Of course, that was because the company was simply reprinting previously issued books, in the beginning. It wasn’t long, though, before the Pelican imprint appeared, which published books on important issues of the day, as well as original books.

And then came the line that I myself first associated with the publisher: Penguin Classics. I squealed when I read that the first title in this line was The Odyssey, translated by E.V. Rieu. I have that book! Not with that first cover, but I do have it. This gives me goosebumps.

Meanwhile, you don’t really think of Penguin as the poster boy for defying the authorities, do you? Yet in the 1960s, the publisher’s acquittal under Britain’s Obscene Publications Act, after they published an unabridged version of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, helped alter censorship laws. Those rebels!

Give the article a read, if you’re interested in the history. I’d had no idea just how innovative Penguin really was over the years.

Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin