The first paperback books were released in Aug. 1935 by Penguin Books (at first only as an imprint of Bodley Head (of Vigo Street) with the books originally distributed from the crypt of Holy Trinity Church Marylebone.) These were more obtainable due to cheap price and smaller size than their hardback predecessors.
Paperbacks, originally linked to poor production quality and pulp fiction, made rights to many classics obtainable for a cheaper price than they wouldve been through a known publisher and in hardback. The general consensus that paperback would be a passing fad paved the way for Penguin to buy thousands of titles and publish them.
Now, over 80 years later, The Penguin Group is a huge operation that is one of the larger distributors worldwide. They are also known for carrying many of the beat generation under their label.
First 10 Books Published by Penguin:
Ariel: a Shelley Romance — André Maurois
A Farewell to Arms — Ernest Hemingway
Poet's Pub — Eric Linklater
Madame Claire — Susan ErtzThe Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club — Dorothy L. Sayers
The Mysterious Affair at Styles — Agatha Christie
Twenty-Five — Beverley Nichols
William — E.H. Young
Gone to Earth — Mary WebbCarnival — Compton Mackenzie