The plights of bored and weary MTA commuters have finally been answered. The New York subway system is forming an alliance with Penguin House in order to offer free wireless access to all sorts of literature—via eBook.
New York City has now begun to add Wi-Fi to its colossal stretch of subway stations, and to further encourage the new service, NYC has decided to grant free book excerpts to the millions of passengers who utilize their service daily.
The program is called Subway Reads, and it has already started delivering novellas, short stories, and excerpts to passengers' cellphones or tablets. According to the New York Post, it will let people check out five free "e-shorts," including Lee Child's "High Heat" and Edgar Allan Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," as well as excerpts from 175 other Penguin Random House selections.
As part of the promotion, the publishing company will also be able to sell its e-books to commuters underground, and the MTA will take a cut of the revenue generated by each book sold.
The idea is for riders to download a short story or a chapter and read it on the train. People will be able to tailor their selections to the duration of their train ride; a "read time" feature generated by the publisher suggests guesstimates of how long each text will take to finish.
Subway Reads will even let riders select what to read based on how long they will be on the subway—assuming one page takes around one minute to read (a 10-page selection for a 10-minute ride, a 20-page selection for a 20-minute excursion, etc.).
Granted, delays are not factored into the time tally. But no worries to the slower readers out there: if you don't finish your selection in the allotted time, you'll be able to come back to it on your evening commute back home.
The new service is available for eight weeks at the 175 underground subway stations that now have wireless connectivity. All 278 underground stations are expected to be Wi-Fi-capable by the end of the year.
You can find more information about the program on the Subway Reads NY website.