MTA, Penguin Random House Offer Free Reads for a Subway Ride

Free wi-fi is now available in more than 175 underground subway stations.
Free wi-fi is now available in more than 175 underground subway stations.

Looking to do a little reading on your commute? For the next eight weeks, MTA New York City Transit can help with that. 

During this limited time promotion, subway customers using their smartphones or mobile devices can download free novellas or extra long excerpts to enjoy during their commutes. Subway Reads is a partnership between NYC Subways, Penguin Random House and Transit Wireless, which is bringing free wireless internet access to underground subway stations across the system. So far, more than 175 underground stations have Wi-Fi, and the remainder of NYC Transit's 278 underground subway stations will have Wi-Fi access by the end of this year.

To access Subway Reads, customers can log on to the free Transit Wireless Wi-Fi, where they will find two options for grabbing some free literature-on-the-go: e-shorts or extensive excerpts of full-length books.

The e-shorts are specially created full-length short stories by popular authors such as Lee Child, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Edgar Allan Poe. Five e-shorts -- either short stories or novellas -- are available, and include the Jack Reacher story "High Heat," Fitzgerald's "The Diamond As Big as the Ritz," and Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue."

Customers can also try out future reads by sampling one of 175 extra-long excerpts from Penguin Random House publications by authors from around the world, but with a special focus on New York. These selections range from poetry by New Yorkers like Walt Whitman and Billy Collins, and fiction and nonfiction from authors such as Toni Morrison ("Beloved"), Ron Chernow ("Alexander Hamilton"), Jonathan Lethem ("Motherless Brooklyn") or Harlan Coben ("Fool Me Once"). There's also a selection of Spanish-language titles, such as "Manuscrito Encontrado en Accra" by Paulo Coelho or "El Cuadermo de Maya" by Isabel Allende. 

For commuters who want a more customized approach to their rides, Penguin Random House created the Read Time feature, which are time-based excerpts that are just long (or short) enough for a customer to finish from beginning to end during the length of their commute. Customers can pick these special selections by choosing an expected commute time, then browsing a list of stories or excerpts that were chosen based on how long they take an average reader to finish. 

Customers who enjoyed the excerpts can also choose to purchase the full-length e-book directly, and portions of the revenue from the e-book sales will go to the MTA. 

While this special promotion with Penguin Random House runs for eight weeks, subway customers can enjoy free Wi-Fi access at stations year-round thanks to Transit Wireless' partnership with the MTA. Not only does this partnership allow customers to stay connected while commuting, it also improves and enhances NYC Transit's public safety communications systems without any cost to taxpayers or subway customers. Currently, all stations in the boroughs of Queens and the Bronx have been completed while the remainder of Manhattan and Brooklyn underground stations will be finished by the end of the year.