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Hi Richard. I don't have any solutions, I'm afraid, but certainly agree with the idea. A sort of online Swap Shop would be ideal. I quite often buy second copies of things on the off-chance that someone will want them someday. Hopefully there are some technically whizzes reading this who can help.


This is tough. I know how you feel: my collection has basically come from my parents, and grown from charity shop, second hand, and car boot purchases.

The other day I was in my local Oxfam bookstore (where I today got photographed by the traffic wardens, on a sunday, whilst delivering books to a charity shop - £100 fine - nice, but that's an aside) and they had taken in a collection:


(this was in Chiswick, W4, by the way)

Now, these aren't Marber era, but there were a few, including a couple of the green Marlowe / Chandler series. i read The Long Goodbye last year (yep, I read them too) and loved it.

It said 49p in it - so I collected the 3 of them - but then I found that they'd priced the "collection" at £2.49 each. Meanwhile other penguins in other shelves were still at individual prices.

Now, call me strange, but whilst that's still cheap for a book, the thrill is diminished when someone is selling them at a premium - I'm used to 49p - £1.99 for penguins - and in a knowing manner. Is that strange?

Anyway, sorry to not answer the question of supply. Twitter group to alert sightings? Maybe start vicariously with the trinity of penguin by deisgn; penguin by designers; and 700 penguins?


Vintage Penguins are not difficult to find in New York City, if you know your way around. I was in London recently and failed to find a vintage Penguin for less than two pounds, which I find to be a very high price indeed for a book that regular readers would have no interest in. You can find them for a half-dollar in New York sometimes.

Libraries often sell used books, that's one good place to look.


Swaps? That could be good Anne. We could post what we have available on Flickr so we can all browse each others "Penguin Swaps" sets and come to our arrangements on a fairly casual basis. Swaps would be good because there would be no postage issues (or at least I don't think there would be any). Only problem being we'd need to have something to swap of course.

Peter, I agree that The Long Goodbye is ace (I've got lots of pre-Marber and Marber-Grid Chandlers and have read them all). I also agree about the thrill of getting a Penguin for 50p in a charity shop. Much better than 2 or 3 quid from a dealer.

Martin, that's good news for Antonio (didn't mean to be so presumptuous). As for price, you're right of course. And I guess that might be a factor that will inhibit this idea; if a Penguin only costs 50p or a pound, what would postage cost to or from the US? I guess it depends on how much you want the book/cover as to whether you'd be happy to pay more for the postage than the actual book.


Martin, could you shoot me an email and let me know where in NYC I can find these books. Thanks.

Kev Mears

I love looking in charity shops for books, and in my little town, Pontypridd, there are 7 charity shops with a variety of prices.

The British Heart Foundation is the priciest, and strangely enough the most modern books. I like to go to shops in posh areas - that's where all the good stuff is.

I resolve to take pics of some of the wierder penguins I have at home.

Paul Mison

I'm surprised nobody's mentioned the Penguin Collectors' Society yet - http://www.penguincollectorssociety.org/home.htm -, given they're the source of the Penguin by Designers book. I expect there may be some bias amongst the members towards those "more interested in first editions than cover design", but nonetheless, their meetings might be a fruitful place to arrange swaps as well as look for dealers.

The most recent issue of their magazine also had a plea for recommendations for places that sell Penguins, so June's issue may be useful on that front.


I agree Kev. For me, the very best places are those charity book shops. We have a War on Want bookshop locally.

Paul, I had mentioned the Society to Antonio "off blog" but you're absolutely right to mention them. It's still not ideal though: a) we're talking here about an online/image-rich source, b) I haven't been too successful sourcing specific covers through Society listed dealers (perhaps I haven't tried hard enough), and c) You'll pay premium prices.

I would, however, go to great lengths to emphasis how brilliant membership is. The magazine is info-rich and they do some superb irregular publications. If anyone's interested in Penguins, they should join.


swaps would be great, I don't get many because a) if I get a dupe and my partner who is also a penguinista doesn't have it I give it to her, and b) even if she does if it's at all different I keep it because I'm so anal! But even so, I've got two or three! In the long run the partner factor will help though, as it means I do pick up penguins I know I have already if they're well priced.

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