Albatross Books
Albatross Books was a German publishing house based in Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 that produced the first modern mass market paperback books.

Albatross was founded in 1932 by John Holroyd-Reece, Max Wegner and Kurt Enoch. The name was chosen because "Albatross' is the same word in many European languages. Based on the example of Tauchnitz
Tauchnitz was the name of a family of German printers and publishers.Karl Christoph Traugott Tauchnitz , born at Grossbardau near Grimma, Saxony, established a printing business in Leipzig in 1796 and a publishing house in 1798...

, a Leipzig
Leipzig Leipzig has always been a trade city, situated during the time of the Holy Roman Empire at the intersection of the Via Regia and Via Imperii, two important trade routes. At one time, Leipzig was one of the major European centres of learning and culture in fields such as music and publishing...

 publishing firm that had been producing inexpensive and paperbound English-language reprints for a continental market, Albatross set about to streamline and modernize the paperback format.

Produced in a new standardized size (181 x 111 mm) that approximated an esthetically pleasing ratio called the Golden Mean
Golden ratio
In mathematics and the arts, two quantities are in the golden ratio if the ratio of the sum of the quantities to the larger quantity is equal to the ratio of the larger quantity to the smaller one. The golden ratio is an irrational mathematical constant, approximately 1.61803398874989...

, using new sans-serif fonts developed by Stanley Morison
Stanley Morison
Stanley Morison was an English typographer, designer and historian of printing.Born in Wanstead, Essex, Morison spent most of his childhood and early adult years at the family home in Fairfax Road, Harringay...

 among others, color-coding its offerings by genre (green for travel, orange for fiction, etc.), and prominently featuring an albatross as a logo, the series was so successful that Albatross soon purchased Tauchnitz, giving itself an instant 100-year heritage.

The oncoming war brought the Albatross experiment to an end. Allen Lane
Allen Lane
Sir Allen Lane was a British publisher who founded Penguin Books, bringing high quality paperback fiction and non-fiction to the mass market.-Early life and family:...

 adopted the look-and-feel of Albatross editions closely, copying most of its innovations, for the first Penguin Books
Penguin Books
Penguin Books is a publisher founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane and V.K. Krishna Menon. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its high quality, inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence. Penguin's success demonstrated that large...

. Lane later hired co-founder Kurt Enoch to manage Penguin's American branch.

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