In an effort that should make the subway commute a bit more enjoyable, the New York City subway system is teaming with Penguin Random House to launch Subway Reads, an eight-week promotion that will allow straphangers to download free e-books via the free wireless networks in subway stations.
The Subway Reads promotion marks the launch of a program initiated by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to install free wi-fi in 175 New York City subway stations. The Subway Reads program will provide five free e-short stories in addition to excerpts from 175 PRH titles chosen to highlight life in New York City as well as show off a diversity of characters, stories and genres.
“New York’s transportation network must continue adapting to the changing needs of its readership,” Governor Cuomo said in a statment. “We’ve made tremendous progress in modernizing the system and Subway Reads is a fun way to introduce riders to the new wi-fi experience.”
Commuters will also be able to purchase any of the Subway Reads directly from online retailers using their devices. A portion of the sales price of each book sold will go to the MTA.
The five free e-shorts include Lee Child’s High Heat: A Jack Reacher Novella, Edgar Allen Poe’s Murder in the Rue Morge, Lisa Gardner’s 3 Truths and A Lie, F Scott’s Fitzgerald’s The Diamond as Big as The Ritz, and Alexander McCall Smith’s At the Reunion Buffet.
The 175 titles in Subway Reads were also chosen based the length of the works, or their commuting or “read times” (the time needed for an average reader to finish the excerpt). A third of the texts are 5 to 15 minutes of reading time, a third are 15-30 minutes and the rest will take more than 30 minutes to read. Commuters can choose from fiction, nonfiction, fantasy, children’s and YA. Authors include Harlan Coben,Toni Morrison, Colson Whitehead, Junot Diaz, Elizabeth Gilbert and Sonia Sotomayor among many others.
Penguin Random House CEO Markus Dohle said, "For millions of New Yorkers, having a few minutes to get lost in a great book is one of the true pleasures of riding the subway. This fun promotion provides commuters with a new twist on that classic – and classically New York – pastime, with great short fiction, and the chance to access extensive samples of some of the very best, and most entertaining books in the world."