chapter  18
8 Pages

Allen Lane's Idea

The 1930s was not a propitious decade for new enterprise in Britain, and the publishing world was certainly not exempt from the general economic malaise. Despite the achievements of Unwin and Gollancz, the general ethos was conservative rather than radical, and favoured retrenchment rather than expansion. It is therefore startling to find that perhaps the greatest single innovation in twentieth-century publishing should have emerged during this discouraging time: the mass-market paperback, which has revolutionised the commercial world of books and has taken books to places and to people which they had never previously reached.