The Casual Optimist

Books, Design and Culture

Elda Rotor: The Woman Who Runs Penguin Classics


penguin classics elda rotor

Photo by JL Javier

CNN Philippines interviewsd Elda Rotor, vice president and publisher of Penguin Classics at the Penguin Random House in New York:

The main joy is bringing an audience to a work that would otherwise lead a quiet life, not having the chance to be brought into the light of a modern readership. A greater joy is hearing individual responses of how enlightening or enjoyable a book has been, and connecting that experience with the fact that the edition was a Penguin Classic. The challenges are working very hard to edit, produce, and publish a book and to see its reception to be very modest. So either you realize that the readership was small, or that for some reason we failed to reach a wider audience for a variety of factors… In the 10 years I’ve worked at Penguin Classics, it’s proven to be true that there is nothing that compares to a quality edition of a great work of literature. We are very much in the digital world, providing e-books for much of our list. But there’s something about the physical beauty of a book, finely executed inside and out, that readers find deeply satisfying. We bring much work and thought into the production of our books, from authoritative texts, interior design, to cutting-edge book design, and we have built a strong reputation for this distinction. Developing series such as the Penguin Drop Caps, Penguin Horror, Civic Classics, and soon the Penguin Orange Collection and Penguin Galaxy represents our dedication to our readers and curating special series for their interests that are beautiful objects unto themselves. Overall it reflects the deep respect we have for the reader’s experience and our focus on enriching that experience with a Penguin Classic.

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