Penguin’s new Little Black Classics site was inspired by the iPod Classic

Penguin Books is launching a new series of books to celebrate its 80th birthday this year. Called Little Black Classics, they’ll be available in paperback and on Kindle from 26 February for 80p each.

In the meantime, the Little Black Classics site is a great way to find out more about the books in question. According to Fast Company, it was inspired by the gone-but-not-forgotten click wheel of the iPod Classic (RIP). Penguin Books’s community manager Claudia Toia came up with the idea, and freelance designer Mathieu Triay made it a reality.

The homepage features a circle with a tiny Penguin, who can be moved to 80 different points around the wheel. At each stop, you’ll get quotes from/info about each book. Or you can click the penguin to make it ‘spin’ and throw up some random info. (You can also shake your phone to make the penguin move.)

The advantage of this over a static site is that you’re more likely to discover a new favourite read. (And that it gives a poignant reminder of your first iPod…) The books in the series include everything from snippets of Walt Whitman, Plato, and Jane Austen to Dickens’ short stories, and like the site, their covers are simple and eye-catching.

It is a little strange that the way publishers are innovating is by taking inspiration from tech that’s no longer being made. But I guess that’s also a reminder that gadgets may come and go, but a good book can last for millennia.

Diane Shipley