Penguin Books was founded in 1935 by Sir Allen Lane, as a line of publishers The Bodley Head, only becoming a separate company the following year. 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 audiences existed for serious books. Penguin also had a significant impact on public debate in Britain, through its books on politics, the arts, and science.
Penguin Books is now an imprint of the worldwide Penguin Random House, a newly emerging conglomerate which was formed in 2012 by the merger of the two publishers. Formerly Penguin Group was wholly owned by Pearson PLC, the global media company which also own the Financial Times, but it now retains only a minority holding of 47% of the stock against Random House owner Bertelsmann who controls the majority stake.