How to find love, literally

Paperback publisher Penguin has launched a lonely hearts website to help readers – and authors – meet their soulmates

The majority of classic romantic novels end with either marriage or heartbreak. Now, book lovers around the world will have the chance to plot and develop their own real-life romantic stories as a major publisher launches the first online dating site aimed purely at literary enthusiasts. was developed in conjunction with the established online dating provider after the publisher's online team came up with the initial idea as a way to extend the brand and pique the interest of readers. While sites such as GoodReads provide a virtual community for avid book readers, the Penguin site focuses primarily on lonely hearts.

The service – which went live last week – has already attracted more than 500 subscribers in its first three days, and will be promoted at the end of more than two million paperback novels.

Those who sign up to the dating system will be asked in their profile to list the book they have read most recently. They will also be able to search potential suitors' profiles for mentions of their favourite book.

Katya Shipster, a Penguin spokeswoman, said: "The idea behind the site was to get readers to be able to interact and connect on many different levels. We're trying lots of different online initiatives at the moment. We want the most amount of people to get the most enjoyment out of our books – and to possibly even find relationships at the end of it."

Hopeful suitors will be able to sign up to the site for free, but will have to subscribe should they wish to contact anyone.

The company is hoping that celebrated authors will provide content for the site – and maybe even hope to find love themselves. "A couple of our authors had actually met someone on dating sites prior to the PenguinDating being set up, although I can't say who they are," said Ms Shipster.

"Julia Llewellyn, who has just published The Model Wife, is going to be writing on the site, as well as Adele Parks. Alain de Botton is also very interested in writing something that will be linked to the theme of finding love," she added.

The Penguin site might be the first online site aimed at connecting literary love, but personal ads have long been an established fixture in periodicals such as the London Review of Books (LRB), which published a book, They Call me Naughty Lola, containing of some of the more quirky examples. David Rose, the advertising director at the LRB, who edited the book, said the ads began "with the simple idea of helping people with similar literary and cultural tastes get together".

Since the first ad the LRB received over a decade ago – which was from a man "on the lookout for a contortionist who plays the trumpet" – many readers from around the world have congregated in the small ads section in the hope of finding love.

"The advertisers are rarely inhibited by positive thinking and they don't tend to suffer the same degree of nervous overstatement found in other lonely-hearts columns," said Mr Rose.

Ads such as "Bald, short, fat, ugly male, 53, seeks short-sighted woman with tremendous sexual appetite. Box no 9612" have led to erudite, literary lovers forming relationships through the advertisements.

One of the most famous titles about "literary love among the bookshelves" was Helene Hanff's 84 Charing Cross Road. The story chronicles Hanff's 20-year correspondence with the chief buyer for Marks & Co, a London bookshop. Sadly, that particular story did not have a happy ending.

Penguin hopes that the future online romances achieved through its website are far happier: "The first Penguin wedding would be a great story," said Ms Shipster.

And if it doesn't work out, there are plenty of self-help titles in the bookshop for the heartbroken to read.

Arts and Entertainment
Art on their sleeves: before downloads and streaming, enthusiasts used to flick through racks of albums in their local record shops
musicFor Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Arts and Entertainment
Serial suspect: the property heir charged with first-degree murder, Robert Durst
TV review
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

Arts and Entertainment
Igarashi in her

Art Megumi Igarashi criticises Japan's 'backwards' attitude to women's sexual expression

Arts and Entertainment
Could Ed Sheeran conquer the Seven Kingdoms? He could easily pass for a Greyjoy like Alfie Allen's character (right)

tv Singer could become the most unlikely star of Westeros

Arts and Entertainment
Beyonce, Boris Johnson, Putin, Nigel Farage, Russell Brand and Andy Murray all get the Spitting Image treatment from Newzoids
tvReview: The sketches need to be very short and very sharp as puppets are not intrinsically funny
Arts and Entertainment
Despite the controversy it caused, Mile Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball' video won multiple awards
musicPoll reveals over 70% of the British public believe sexually explicit music videos should get ratings
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister and Ian Beattie as Meryn Trant in the fifth season of Game of Thrones

Arts and Entertainment

book review
Arts and Entertainment
It's all in the genes: John Simm working in tandem with David Threlfall in 'Code of a Killer'

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Far Right and Proud: Reggies Yates' Extreme Russia

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West was mobbed in Armenia after jumping into a lake

Arts and Entertainment
The show suffers from its own appeal, being so good as to create an appetite in its viewers that is difficult to sate in a ten episode series

Game of Thrones reviewFirst look at season five contains some spoilers
Arts and Entertainment
Judi Dench and Kevin Spacey on the Red Carpet for 2015's Olivier Awards

Ray Davies' Sunny Afternoon scoops the most awards

Arts and Entertainment
Proving his metal: Ross Poldark (played by Aidan Turner in the BBC series) epitomises the risk-taking spirit of 18th-century mine owners

Poldark review
Arts and Entertainment
Eddie Redmayne is reportedly favourite to play Newt Scamander in Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them

Arts and Entertainment
Tom Hardy stars in dystopian action thriller Mad Max: Fury Road

Arts and Entertainment
Josh, 22, made his first million from the game MinoMonsters

Grace Dent

Channel 4 show proves there's no app for happiness
Disgraced Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson
Arts and Entertainment
Game face: Zoë Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Ethan Hawke in ‘Good Kill’

film review

Arts and Entertainment
Living like there’s no tomorrow: Jon Hamm as Don Draper in the final season of ‘Mad Men’

TV review

  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Revealed: Why Mohammed Emwazi chose the 'safe option' of fighting for Isis, rather than following his friends to al-Shabaab in Somalia

    Why Mohammed Emwazi chose Isis

    His friends were betrayed and killed by al-Shabaab
    'The solution can never be to impassively watch on while desperate people drown'
An open letter to David Cameron: Building fortress Europe has had deadly results

    Open letter to David Cameron

    Building the walls of fortress Europe has had deadly results
    Tory candidates' tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they seem - you don't say!

    You don't say!

    Tory candidates' election tweets not as 'spontaneous' as they appear
    Mubi: Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash

    So what is Mubi?

    Netflix for people who want to stop just watching trash all the time
    The impossible job: how to follow Kevin Spacey?

    The hardest job in theatre?

    How to follow Kevin Spacey
    Armenian genocide: To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie

    Armenian genocide and the 'good Turks'

    To continue to deny the truth of this mass human cruelty is close to a criminal lie
    Lou Reed: The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond the biographers' and memoirists' myths

    'Lou needed care, but what he got was ECT'

    The truth about the singer's upbringing beyond
    Migrant boat disaster: This human tragedy has been brewing for four years and EU states can't say they were not warned

    This human tragedy has been brewing for years

    EU states can't say they were not warned
    Women's sportswear: From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help

    Women's sportswear

    From tackling a marathon to a jog in the park, the right kit can help
    Hillary Clinton's outfits will be as important as her policies in her presidential bid

    Clinton's clothes

    Like it or not, her outfits will be as important as her policies
    NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

    Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

    A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

    The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
    How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

    How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

    Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
    From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

    The wars that come back to haunt us

    David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

    A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders