Penguin has launched a new website offering London Underground passengers access to free book extracts and author interviews as part of a campaign to celebrate its 80th birthday.
From August 3 - 28, Tube passengers using Virgin WiFi (and anyone with an internet connection) can read exclusive excerpts from novels, as well as author interviews and audio content at summerofpenguin.com. The site was launched in partnership with TfL and Virgin Media.
Penguin says new content will be added daily: it currently features an extract from Emma Healey novel Elizabeth is Missing, another from Nick Hornby book Funny Girl and one from Stephen Fry's forthcoming memoir More Fool Me. There's also a page of notes from one of Raymond Chandler's notebooks.
The website was created in-house and features a similarly minimal design to one launched to promote its Little Black Classics series earlier this year (a collection of 80 classic titles priced at 80p each, also released to celebrate Penguin's birthday). There's some lovely added touches, too, with colours loosely referencing different Tube lines and icons to accompany each extract designed by Rob Lowe. At the end of each excerpt is a cover shot of the book it is taken from and a link to buy the publication online.
Hannah Telfer, group director of consumer and digital development at Penguin Random House UK, says: “We want audiences to discover, access and enjoy our authors’ books and content – wherever they are – in new and innovative ways. This partnership takes the written word beyond the page to inspire and entertain travellers on the London Underground and celebrates the stories, writing and ideas that have shaped Penguin over the past eighty years, as well as the incredible talent that we publish now as part of Penguin Random House.” It's a great idea, and for fans of Penguin's output, it should make those hot and crowded summer Tube journeys a little more bearable.