The program is called Subway Reads, and it's going to last for a couple months.
You can read about the program on the NYTimes website (paywalled), or on the Subway Reads NY website. Governor Cuomo has also released a statement, and the press release can be found on the Transit Wireless website (they're the tech partner running the Wifi networks).
Here's what the NYTimes had to say:
Starting on Sunday, Subway Reads will deliver novellas, short stories or excerpts from full-length books to passengers’ cellphones or tablets. The idea is for riders to download a short story or a chapter and read it on the train. Subway Reads will even let riders choose what to read based on how long they will be on the subway — a 10-page selection for a 10-minute ride, a 20-page selection for a 20-minute excursion, a 30-page selection for a 30-minute trip. Delays not included.
“I would like to do it,” said Mr. Velardo, a retired Sanitation Department employee who was on his way to a bottle distribution center in Brooklyn.
He can, for eight weeks — Subway Reads will last longer than a summer romance, but not much longer. It was intended to promote something that will not disappear, something that transit officials see as a milestone in the digital age:Wi-Fi service in 175 underground stations.
Transit officials sought out Penguin as a partner because of a similar program the publisher used last summer in partnership with the London Underground.
That program was just the latest of many; we've seen similar marketing efforts which let consumers read excerpts for free. Past initiatives include free excerpts on planes, trains, buses, the occasional airport terminal, and even museums and hotels.
Coincidentally, if you visit the Subway Reads website you will be able to read the stories and excerpts no matter whether you are in a subway station or not. The website is mobile-optimized, so you might not want to use it in your desktop browser, but I found the site to be quite usable.
Each excerpt or story is presented as a single webpage, so if you start reading a story on the subway you'll be able to finish it at your destination. The page also includes links to where you can buy a copy of the work on Amazon and other retail sites.
Subway Reads is launching today with five novellas and short stories. Three titles are by contemporary writers: 3 Truths and a Lie by Lisa Gardner; At the Reunion Buffet by Alexander McCall Smith, and High Heat by Lee Child.
Two of the short works are classics: The Murders in the Rue Morgue by Edgar Allan Poe and The Diamond as Big as the Ritz by F. Scott Fitzgerald. There are also around 160 excerpts from Penguin titles, including both fiction and nonfiction.
image by mtchlra