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Old 05-27-2010, 11:21 PM   #1
SensualPoet
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G&M: Penguin Celebrates 75 Years

Nice article in the Globe and Mail this morning in its series "Adhocracy".

Books, and that beguiling little bird

Over 75 years Penguin has become the publisher with a strong connection to consumers

Simon Houpt Marketing Reporter
Published on Thursday, May. 27, 2010 5:22PM EDT

Until a couple of days ago, Keir Hardie had no idea how many Penguin books he owned. For years he’d been collecting them informally, picking up a few at a time at second-hand shops. “Like a lot of fans, I grew up in a house with Penguin Books on the shelves,” he wrote in an e-mail this week, from his home in Inverness, Scotland. It was the books’ iconic design, he explained, that first grabbed his eye. “There was never much of a pattern to anything else, but the uniformity of the Penguins made them stand out.”

About five years ago, his interest intensified when he walked into his girlfriend’s new apartment and saw her shelves loaded with Penguins. “We were both egged on by the sight of each other's juicy collections.” This week, prompted by a curious reporter, he finally did a rough count of his Penguins and found they numbered easily more than 1,000. “Quite a shock!” he admitted.

Mr. Hardie is not alone: There is a Penguin Collectors Society whose members hold annual meetings to discuss their obsession. The publisher’s iconic design elements have spawned a small housewares line in the U.K. that includes mugs and espresso cups, tea towels, and deck chairs. Penguin admirers maintain a feed on the photo-sharing service Flickr, the Penguin Paperback Spotters Guild, which currently runs more than 7,700 pictures. But collectors are just extreme articulations of the relationship that most brands try to establish with consumers. So why, in this era of a branded planet, is Penguin perhaps the only publishing company in the world with that sort of relationship?

Full article here:
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/repor...rticle1583377/
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