Underground News: The SimplyE Web Reader is Rolled Out

As reported in the New York Times, New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library, Queens Library, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and Transit Wireless have created a subway train, complete with seats decorated as books, that allows riders to read books onboard. 

However, " . . .you don’t need to be in a library car to take advantage. When you enter a subway station, connect to the Transit Wireless WiFi network available at all underground stations. When you’ve logged on, you’ll see a prompt for SubwayLibrary.com, and — voilà — you can start browsing and downloading books, short stories, chapters and excerpts donated by publishers."

“It used to be that you were ‘unplugged’ on the subway, and even though you’re connecting to the wireless now, you’ll still have the sense of being unplugged when reading books,” said Lynn Lobash, manager of reader services for the New York Public Library. “It’s a lot different than the frantic sense of checking your email or being on Twitter.”

The story adds that "You’ll find short reads curated for the quick commutes, and long reads for the farther destinations or delayed rides. You can explore New York stories, children’s titles, young-adult novels or new releases in the 'New & Noteworthy' category."

What the story doesn't add is that this initiative is the public roll-out of the web version of the SimplyE app. Titles launch from a web browser. For librarians interested in improvements to the library e-book experience, this is welcome news indeed. The ability to launch content from a library owned and branded web page, downloading if patrons want to an app, working across vendor platforms, is a good step in simplifying the e-content experience.