Combine a bookmobile with a food truck and what do you get? The Penguin Book Truck — and for good measure, the Penguin Book Pushcart.
By combining the concepts of bookmobile and food truck, book-publisher Penguin Group (USA) recently introduced its first mobile bookstore. And just like a good book, there’s a bonus inside: the Penguin Book Pushcart, which rolls out of the truck and down a ramp to make books even more accessible.
“The Penguin Classics people had a (promotional) car, a Mini Cooper, they launched a couple of years ago,” said Penguin Group (USA) publicist Erica Glass, who explained that the Mini Cooper’s tour helped bring attention to the book-publishing brand.
“Thinking back to the popularity of bookmobiles, and the popularity now of food trucks, it sort of all came together,” she added.
Bookmobiles were (and in some places still are) rolling libraries.
The first bookmobiles were horse-drawn wagons.
Later, buses and delivery vans were converted into mobile libraries. Food trucks have a long history in some communities, and recently have enjoyed more widespread popularity.
“We’re always looking for new ways to bring writers to readers, and this is one of those ways,” Glass said.
Penguin’s book truck came off an assembly line as a GMC Savana cargo van. It was outfitted with a large cargo box that not only carries books and the pushcart, but that has sides that open to display the bookshelves inside. The truck is 27 feet long and contains 96 linear feet of display shelving.
The Penguin Book Truck and Pushcart will stock books from all Penguin Group imprints and include a wide selection of titles by authors ranging from Patricia Cornwell to John Green, Elizabeth Gilbert to Khaled Hosseini, Nate Silver to Sylvia Day as well as Penguin Classics. The selection will also be customized for individual events.
Susan Petersen Kennedy, President of Penguin Group (USA), said: “We think the Penguin Book Truck and Pushcart will allow us to, directly and in partnership with bookstores, connect writers with readers and to spread the iconic Penguin brand in fun and exciting new ways. This will be a movable feast of today’s great books.”
Featuring Penguin’s iconic orange logo the Penguin Book Truck is 27 feet long with 96 linear feet of bookshelves on both sides. The truck is LED lit for nighttime events, has awnings to protect shoppers from the elements, and cafe tables and chairs where browsers can sit and authors can sign books.
The Penguin Book Pushcart is inspired by the design of the classic New York City hotdog cart. It will be transported by the Penguin Book Truck to various locations including bookstores, parks, beaches, sidewalks in shopping districts, summer theaters, and green markets.
You can follow the Penguin Book Truck on Twitter at @PenguinBkTruck