Suspend Your Disbelief

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Buy a book, adopt a… penguin

Emperor Penguin with chicks 1

In possibly the cutest book promotion campaign ever, Melville House has started an adopt-a-penguin program to—oh, I’ll just let them explain:

To celebrate our publication of Andrey Kurkov‘s beloved Russian crime-fiction series starring a penguin named Misha, Melville House is announcing a new Adopt-a-Penguin program.

No, really… We will adopt a penguin in the name of any bookstore who successfully sells 25 copies of either book (combined or single title) in the series, which includes Death and the Penguin or Penguin Lost. The contest will run from now until December 31st.

As a reader all you need to do is head down to your local bookstore and pick up a copy of either book. If your local bookstore hasn’t heard about the promotion let them know about it by sending them to If they are already participating then, well then buy a book and help save a penguin.

It works the other way around, too. Penguin Lost, the blog for the series, adds:

Since the beginning of Adopt-a-Penguin, anyone who adopts a penguin on their own from the World Wildlife Federation, or one of the three other groups we’re using while the contest is running is due to receive a free eBook of Andrey Kurkov‘s Death and The Penguin. All you have to do is share the receipt with us via the the official email address (Misha will be away until mid-December and all his emails are forwarded to the marketing department).

I’m not sure what it is about penguins—okay, maybe it’s that baby penguins look like adorable little balls of fluff?—but penguins apparently cry out to be adopted, at least based on the surprising number of books on the topic. There is, of course, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, in which the Poppers add two penguins to their family with unfortunate consequences. But there’s also 365 Penguins, in which a family is mysteriously sent penguins in the mail and must take them in; Lost and Found, the story of a boy who tries to return a lost penguin to the South Pole and ends up adopting him, and the heartwarming And Tango Makes Three, based on the true story of two male penguins who adopt a chick and raise it at the Central Park Zoo.

So will our apparent love of adopting penguins help sell books? Melville House aims to find out.

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