Todays This Day in Tech blog from Wired relates how today Penguin publishes the first paperback books of substance, bringing the likes of Ernest Hemingway, André Maurois and Agatha Christie to the masses.
"Allen Lane, then with publisher The Bodley Head, had spent the weekend at the country estate of celebrated mystery writer Agatha Christie. (Lucky chap.) Whilst waiting at Exeter station for his train back home, he sought out at the bookstall something suitable to read for the trip.
“Appalled by the selection on offer, Lane decided that good quality contemporary fiction should be made available at an attractive price and sold not just in traditional bookshops, but also in railway stations, tobacconists and chain stores,” Penguin reports in a history of the company."