Free E-books, Now Available in Subway Stations

Beginning August 28, 2016, Subway Reads sends out novellas, short excerpts from books and short stories to New York subways’ passengers’ cellphones and tablets. The concept is to allow the passengers to download something that they can read while on the train. It also allows the passengers to choose what they want to read depending on how long their trip is going to be. Their choices include a 10-page option for a 10 minutes ride, a 20-page option for 20 minutes ride, and a 30-page option for a 30 minutes or longer ride.

Subway Reads are stories that are longer than a summer romance novel but not longer than a full page book. Its purpose is to promote the Wi-fi service in all 175 underground subway stations, setting a milestone in the transit’s digital age.

Transit officials also reached out to the Penguin Random House, a giant in the publishing world. The company has over 250 imprints as they run the same e-book promotion in London’s underground subway station last year to celebrate the company’s 80th anniversary. New York’s transit officials said that they are also open to platforms that are more than just e-books offered by other publishers or anything that draws the passenger to the Wi-Fi service. The e-books offered by the Penguin Random House may come with a fee, but the ones available in the Subway Reads are free.

Subway Reads is also another way to reach out the younger and tech-savvy readers. The concept of the timing options based on the length of the trip may appeal to passengers who know how long their trip will take. On the other hand, slow readers does not need to skip over some good reads as the page will not disappear when their time has run out.

Subway Reads now offers 5 novellas or e-shorts and dozens of excerpts from books, either fiction or non-fiction. The e-shorts come with a pull quote for easy sharing on Twitter.

Initially, the plan was to have connectivity in the transit system’s 278 subway stations by 2018. However, Gov. Andrew Cuomo sent an order to accelerate the project. As of last week, there were 98 stations that have not been connected throughout Brooklyn. Transit officials are expecting them to be connected to the network by the end of this year.