Suspend Your Disbelief

Shop Talk |

"The stage is bare. Enter an actor and a book."

On the Penguin-UK blog, sales manager Fiona Buckland considers the possibilities of selling books in a “theatre of limited means.”

In one of the darkest years of the 1930s depression, Allen Lane founded Penguin with the — then groundbreaking — notion to sell quality writing as cheaply as a pack of cigarettes and to sell them everywhere.

Studying our own history gives us pause for thought as we tip headfirst into recession: bleak economic times are sometimes the crucible of inspiration and creativity. I think of the black box theatres so beloved of Peter Brook and endless student productions, in which limited resources became the spur to imagination. And I compare that to a particularly bloated production I once saw where just one effect must have cost thousands of pounds, scores of unionised man-hours and added precisely nothing of meaning or value to the piece.

Literary Partners