Following is a post I made way back in 2012 about the beginning of paperbacks. An article in the Mental Floss Magazine had caught my eye, and I shared it with readers. I updated this post a bit in 2016, and I'm doing some more editing and adding now, in 2022, and sharing it again on the birthday of the paperback book. The history actually began in 1935 by Allen Lane who founded Penguin Publishers in England when they published their ten original paperbacks, so I'm including a piece on that, too. The United States was about four years later than the UK in trying out this new way of making books more affordable and accessible. Robert de Graff in partnership with publisher Simon and Schuster came out with Pocket Books in June 1939 to "transform New York's reading habits."
Below are links to "How Paperbacks Transformed the Way Americans Read" in Mental Floss, "How the Paperback Novel Changed Popular Literature" (which starts with Allen Lane and Penguin in the UK) in Smithsonian Magazine, and a video link about Penguin's paperback beginning. Enjoy!
From the Smithsonian Magazine site, here is a link to their article about Penguin's foray into the new world of making books more affordable to more readers by introducing the paperback.
Here's an amazing video talking about Penguin's revolutionary paperback beginning. It's #2 in a series of seven videos about the history and future of Penguin called "The Bird You Have Throughout Your Life."