Penguin Books is a British publishing house. It was co-founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane, his brothers Richard and John, as a line of the publishers The Bodley Head, only becoming a separate company the following year. Penguin revolutionised publishing in the 1930s through its inexpensive paperbacks, sold through Woolworths and other high street stores for sixpence, bringing high-quality paperback fiction and non-fiction to the mass market. Penguin's success demonstrated that large audiences existed for serious books. Penguin also had a significant impact on public debate in Britain, through its books on British culture, politics, the arts, and science.
Penguin Books is now an imprint of the worldwide Penguin Random House, an emerging conglomerate which was formed in 2013 by the merger with American publisher Random House. Formerly, Penguin Group was wholly owned by British Pearson PLC, the global media company which also owned the Financial Times, but in the new umbrella company it retains only a minority holding of 25% of the stock against Random House owner, German media company Bertelsmann, which controls the majority stake. It is one of the largest English-language publishers, formerly known as the "Big Six", now the "Big Five".