1. Home
  2. »
  3. Penguin Clothbound Classics | An Illustrated Bibliography

Penguin Clothbound Classics: Collector's Guide and FAQ

What is the Penguin Clothbound Classics Series?

The first ‘official’ books in the Penguin Clothbound Classics books were released in 2008 by Penguin UK (more about this below) and were initially only offered through the UK-based bookstore Waterstones. These ten earliest editions can be identified by numbers on the spines. All the books in the series have distinctive covers with each being designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith, and featuring a repeating pattern made from a motif from the story stamped in foil onto a linen-like cloth cover. Coralie has said her intent in designing the series was ‘to hark back to the world of Victorian bindings and a golden age of book binding’. The books also feature coloured endpapers and an integrated ribbon bookmark.

penguin clothbound early numbered set

How many books are in the series?

This is an ongoing series, so the book count changes every year. As of 2021, there are over 80 volumes in the series, with 7 or 8 expected by late 2021/early 2022. I can’t give an exact number, because there is some disagreement amongst collectors on whether you count the India Special Editions (which were published by Penguin India, do not have the ribbon bookmark and were not designed by Coralie Bickford-Smith); the leather-bound classics which have similar cover designs and overlapping titles, but are bound in a different material; the boxed sets; the clothbound poetry series; the clothbound children’s classics; the pocket philosophy classics; and the original ‘precursor’ clothbound classics and other out-of-series volumes published in the early years; and/or the reprints with different cover colours. (There is even some debate over the inclusion of The Pearl, as this was a separate commission by V&A, but it was produced in the same design as the rest of the series and I tend to think it counts.)

Are there any rare volumes?

Yes! The rarest volume is the first printing of Crime and Punishment, one of the first 10 titles released in 2008. The red foiled design on fawn covers for this initial print run caused problems at the printing press, and so it ended up having to be hand-foiled. Because of this, there was only a limited print run of this volume and it is the rarest volume in the series. The title was later reprinted in 2018 with a black linen binding (which is not a rare edition). The 2008 edition of Madame Bovary also went out of print and a newer edition was reprinted in 2014. Several of the India Special Editions are currently out of print, as are the Proust series. If you include the out-of-series volumes, the Tibetan Book of the Dead is also very hard to track down. In addition, some books were reprinted with slightly differing cloth covers (e.g. Great Expectations covers can look navy or blue-black), and the earliest printings on the first 10 books are differentiated by having numbers on the spines (as you can see in the image above) which later printings lack. Where possible, the relevant isbns for these rare editions are listed below to help you find them if you’re completing a collection.

penguin clothbound jane austen bookendsAnother rarity of interest to collectors is the ‘Clothbound Jane Austen’ bookend set, which was available at the Penguin shop for a while but are sadly now sold out.

These lovely pieces were handcrafted from a solid piece of Prime Grade English Oak in a Surrey Hills workshop, and engraved with the intricate flower design that features on the Sense and Sensibility volume.

How well are the books made? What is the binding like? Can you clean the covers?

The books in the Penguin Clothbound Classics series have lovely cloth covers, which have a nice linen-like texture, but the foiling/printing on the cover is a little fragile and will likely rub off if you have them tightly stacked in the shelf. Unfortunately, the internals are not particularly high quality (e.g. they use Forest Stewardship Council-approved paper, but not acid-free so it may brown over time) with a glued binding. I would estimate with the most careful of handling, they will probably last for about 40 years at the most. It is also worth noting that the covers can be hard to clean because the surface is textured cloth, and the cover design can come off if you are not careful.

Where are the books made? Are the US and UK editions different? What size are the books?

The books are “B format” hardbacks: 204mm x 132mm. The one in my collection were printed by Penguin UK in St Ives, England. The US editions (Penguin Random House) are sometimes printed / released later than the UK editions (I have given UK publication dates below), although having the same ISBN and usually available during the same calendar year. Dye colours on the fabric can be slightly different. And the books are harder to find in the US, so even though they may be out of print there it is worth checking the UK for books that are on the verge of going out of print as they usually do a larger print run.

Is there a cheaper way to buy them? Are they available in boxed sets?

Prices of the books go up and down, but they are generally pretty affordable. There are a few boxed sets available for selected authors, namely Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters and Charles Dickens. I have included these below at the end of the book list.

Penguin Clothbound Classics - The Complete List

Jump to: 2022 | 2021 | 2020 | out-of-series2008 | 2009 | 2010 (including the India Special Editions) | 2011 | 2012 | 2013 | 2014 | 2015 | 2016 | 2017 | 2018 | 2019 | Boxed Sets 

→ with separate lists for Penguin’s complementary series, including the Leatherbound Classics | Clothbound Children’s ClassicsClothbound PoetryPenguin Pocket Hardbacks

2022 (forthcoming)

Ulysses by James Joyce

Notes: Anticipated February 3, 2022. ISBN 9780241552636.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

Notes: Anticipated June, 2022. ISBN 9780241552650.

2021 (6* titles)

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell

Notes: Published January 7 2021. ISBN 9780241453513.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Animal Farm by George Orwell

Notes: Published January 7 2021. ISBN 9780241453865.

→ Buy from Amazon | Book Depository


Monkey King by Wu Cheng’en

Notes: Translated by Julia Lovell. Published 11 February 2021. ISBN 9780141393445.

Buy from Amazon | Book Depository


The Lonely Londoners by Sam Selvon

Notes: Published June 3 2021. ISBN 9780241504123.

→ Buy from Amazon | Book Depository


The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Notes: Anticipated October 7, 2021. ISBN 9780241508664.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


*The Penguin Book of Christmas Stories edited by Jessica Harrison

Notes: * This book is slightly smaller than the usual volumes – similar in size to the poetry series – so not strictly part of the same series. Anticipated October 7, 2021. ISBN 9780241455654.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2020 (4 titles)

Grimm Tales for Young and Old by Philip Pullman

Notes: Translated by George M Towles. Published October 1, 2020. ISBN 9780241472729.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Notes: Introduced by Elaine Showalter. Published November 5, 2020. ISBN 9780241468647.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Around the World in Eighty Days by Jules Verne

Notes: Published November 5, 2020. ISBN 9780241468654.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Aeneid by Virgil

Notes: Introduced by David West. (Delayed release from publication date of Nov 5, 2020). ISBN 9780141994222.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2019 (3 titles)

Jude the Obscure by Thomas Hardy

Notes: Published July 4, 2019. ISBN 9780241382691.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Tales from 1001 Nights

Notes: Published September 5, 2019. ISBN 9780241382714.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Sanditon by Jane Austen

Notes: Published September 12, 2019. ISBN 9780241436585.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2018 (5 titles + 1 reprint)

Don Quixote by Miguel Cervantes

Notes: Published July 5, 2018. ISBN 9780241347768.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Ring of the Nibelung by Richard Wagner

Notes: Published June 7, 2018. ISBN 9780241305850.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

Notes: Published September 6, 2018. ISBN 9780241347775.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes by Arthur Conan Doyle

Notes: Published September 6, 2018. ISBN 9780241347782.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The War of the Worlds by H. G. Wells

Notes: Published December 6, 2018. ISBN 9780241382707.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (*reprint)

Notes: Translated by David McDuff. Published October 9, 2018. ISBN 9780241347683.

*Original edition published November 6, 2008.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2017 (1 title)

Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne

Notes: Published April 27, 2017. ISBN 9780241198773.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2016 (12 titles)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Notes: Published January 6, 2016. ISBN 9780241265543.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bronte

Notes: Published January 28, 2016. ISBN 9780241198957.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Villette by Charlotte Bronte

Notes: Published February 26, 2016. ISBN 9780241198964.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Naked Lunch by William D Burroughs

Notes: Published October 6, 2016. ISBN 9780241284636.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys

Notes: Translated by Andrea Ashworth. Published October 6, 2016. ISBN 9780241281901.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Orlando by Virginia Woolf

Notes: Introduced by Sandra Gilbert. Published October 6, 2016. ISBN 9780241284643.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole

Notes: Published October 6, 2016. ISBN 9780241284667.

→ Buy from Amazon | Book Depository


The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham

Notes: Introduced by Barry Langford. Published October 6, 2016. ISBN 9780241284674.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Brideshead Revisited by Evelyn Waugh

Notes: Published October 20, 2016. ISBN 9780241284629.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Remembrance of Things Past: Volume 1 by Marcel Proust

Notes: Translated by C. K. Scott. Published November 24, 2016. ISBN 9780241205921.

→ OOP. Check availability at AmazonAbeseBay


Remembrance of Things Past: Volume 2 by Marcel Proust

Notes: Translated by C. K. Scott. Published November 24, 2016. ISBN 9780241205945.

→ Buy from Amazon | Abes | eBay


Remembrance of Things Past: Volume 3 by Marcel Proust

Notes: Translated by C. K. Scott. Published November 24, 2016. ISBN 9780241205969.

→ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | Abes | eBay


2015 (1 title)

The Travels by Marco Polo

Notes: Translated by Nigel Cliff. Published February 26, 2015. ISBN 9780141198774.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2014 (8 titles + 1 reprint)

Metamorphoses by Ovid

Notes: Translated by David Raeburn. Published April 3, 2104. ISBN 9780141394619.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Jungle Books by Rudyard Kipling

Notes: Published April 3, 2014. ISBN 9780141394626.

Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Paradise Lost by John Milton

Notes: Published May 1, 2014. ISBN 9780141394633.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Notes: Published May 1, 2014. ISBN 9780141394640.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Pearl by John Steinbeck

Notes: Published August 7, 2014. ISBN 9780141394688.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository

Love and Freindship by Jane Austen

Notes: Published September 25, 2014. ISBN 9780140433340.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Portrait of a Lady by Henry James

Notes: Published November 6, 2014. ISBN 9780141394664.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Iliad by Homer

Notes: Translated by E.V. Rieu and Peter Jones. Published November 6, 2014. ISBN 9780141394657.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert (*reprint)

Notes: Published August 7, 2014. ISBN 9780141394671.

*First published November 6, 2008.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2013 (8 titles)

Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackery

Notes: Introduced by John Carey. Published March 7, 2013. ISBN 9780141199542.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Moby-Dick by Herman Melville

Notes: Introduced for Andrew Delbanco. Published September 26, 2013. ISBN 9780141199603.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

Notes: Published September 26, 2013. ISBN 9780141393384.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer

Notes: Translated by Nevill Coghill. Published September 26, 2013. ISBN 9780141393216.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Notes: Published October 3, 2013. ISBN 9780141393391.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain

Notes: Published October 31, 2013. ISBN 9780141199573.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe

Notes: Published November 28, 2013. ISBN 9780141393407.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Notes: Introduced by Richard Pevear. Published November 28, 2013. ISBN 9780141199610.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2012 (3 titles)

Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense by Lewis Carroll

Notes: Published September 6, 2012. ISBN 9780141195940.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Notes: Translated by Norman Denny. Published October 25, 2012. ISBN 9781846140495.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Notes: Translated by Robin Buss. Published November 29, 2012. ISBN 9780141392462.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2011 (8 titles)

Dracula by Bram Stoker

Notes: Illustrated by Ang Lee. Published June 2, 2011. ISBN 9780141196886.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

Notes: Published June 2, 2011. ISBN 9780141196909.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Middlemarch by George Elliot

Notes: Published June 2, 2011. ISBN 9780141196893.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Hard Times by Charles Dickens

Notes: Published October 6, 2011. ISBN 9780141198347.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Bleak House by Charles Dickens

Notes: Published October 6, 2011. ISBN 9780141198354.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Mansfield Park by Jane Austen

Notes: Published November 3, 2011. ISBN 9780141197708.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen

Notes: Published November 3, 2011. ISBN 9780141197715.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Persuasion by Jane Austen

Notes: Published November 3, 2011. ISBN 9780141197692.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2010 (7 titles, including the India Special Editions)

A Christmas Carol and other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens

Notes: Published September 25, 2010. ISBN 9780141195858.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Inferno: The Divine Comedy I by Dante

Notes: Translated by Robin Kirkpatrick. Published September 25, 2010. ISBN 9780141195872.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift

Notes: Published November 25, 2010. ISBN 9780141196640.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Qu’ran

Notes: Translated by Tarif Khalidi. Published September 2, 2010. ISBN 9780670084173India Special Edition.

→ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | Abes | eBay


The Ramayana

Notes: Translated by Arshia Sattar Valmiki. Published September 2, 2010. ISBN 9780670084180India Special Edition.

→ OOP. Check availability at Amazon AbeseBay


The Mahābhārata

Notes: Translated by John D. Smith. Published September 2, 2010. ISBN 9780670084159India Special Edition.

→ OOP. Check availability at AmazonBook DepositoryAbes | eBay


The Bhagavad Gita

Notes: Translated by Juan Mascaro. Published September 2, 2010. ISBN 9780670084166India Special Edition.

→ OOP. Check availability at AmazonAbeseBay


2009 (10 titles)

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

Notes: (Includes Good Wives). Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192413.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Woman in White by Wilkie Collins

Notes: Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192420.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle

Notes: Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192437.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Odyssey by Homer

Notes: Introduced by Peter Jones. Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192444.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carrol

Notes: Illustrated by John Tenniel. Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192468.

❦ See also The Alice in Wonderland collection

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

Notes: Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192451.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Emma by Jane Austen

Notes: Introduced by Fiona Stafford. Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192475.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D. H. Lawrence

Notes: Introduced by Doris Lessing. Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192482.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

Notes: Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192499.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Sonnets and A Lover’s Complaint by William Shakespeare

Notes: Published October 1, 2009. ISBN 9780141192574.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


2008 (10 titles)

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Notes: Introduced by Tony Tanner. Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141040349.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Notes: Introduced by Tony Tanner. Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141040370.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Great Expectations by Charles Dickens

Notes: Introduced by David Trotter. Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141040363.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert

Notes: Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141040318

*Reprinted August 7, 2014.

OOP. Check availability at Amazon AbeseBay

(or jump below to see the new edition)


Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

Notes: Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141040356.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Cranford by Elizabeth Gaskell

Notes: Introduced by Patricia Ingham. Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141442549.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Tess of the D’Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

Notes: Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141040332.

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Notes: Translated by David McDuff. Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780140455687. OOP.

*Reprinted October 9, 2018 .

→ OOP. Check availability at AbeseBay

(or jump below to see the new edition)


Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë

Notes: Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141040387.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde

Notes: Published November 6, 2008. ISBN 9780141442464.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Out-of-series clothbound classics (6 titles)

Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

Notes: Translated by Tiina Nunnally. Published September 30, 2004. ISBN 9780713996418.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


The Tibetan Book of the Dead

Notes: Translated by Gyurme Dorje. Published October 27, 2005. ISBN 9780713994148.

→ OOP. Check availability at AmazonAbeseBay


Penguin’s Poems for Life selected by Laura Barber

Notes: Published November 1, 2007. ISBN 9780713999617.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


Penguin’s Poems for Love selected by Laura Barber

Notes: *Only quarter clothbound, so not really part of the series but included here as a companion to the Poems for Life. Published November 24, 2009. ISBN 9781846141690

→ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | AbeseBay


Tales from 1001 Nights: Aladdin, Ali Baba and other favourites

Notes: Translated by Malcolm and Ursula Lyons. Abridged. Published February 22, 2011. ISBN 9780141191652.

→ OOP. Check availability at AmazonAbeseBay


Penguin Poems for Weddings selected by Laura Barber

Notes: Published June 5, 2014. ISBN 9780141439457

→ OOP. Check availability at AmazonAbeseBay


The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Notes: Translated by Richard Pevear. Published October 5, 2006. ISBN 9780713999525.

→ OOP. Check availability at Amazon | AbeseBay


Boxed Sets

Charles Dickens Box Set

Notes: Published November 23, 2011. ISBN 9780141198415.

→ Buy from Amazon | Book Depository


Jane Austen Box Set

Notes: Published October 30, 2014. ISBN 9780141395203.

→ Buy from Amazon | Book Depository


The Bronte Sisters Box Set

Notes: Published November 22, 2016. ISBN 9780241248768.

→ Buy from Amazon | Book Depository


Proust Box Set

Notes: Published December 1, 2016. ISBN 9780241300695.

→ OOP. Check availability at Amazon |  AbeseBay


Thomas Hardy Box Set

Notes: Published August 29, 2019. ISBN 9780241382721.

→ Buy from AmazonBook Depository


BeautifulBooks.Info