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Penguin opens its bookshelf to TfL and Virgin Media customers this summer

Tags: Virgin (NASDAQ:VMED), Transport for London

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Partnership between TfL, Virgin Media and Penguin and will see the publisher open its bookshelf to London Underground customers this summer to celebrate Penguin’s 80th Birthday

Tube customers will enjoy free access to extracts of new books, ideas and author’s interviews this summer via Transport for London’s (TfL’s) Underground network using the Virgin Media WiFi service from 3rd – 28th August. Penguin will open up its treasured bookshelves and archives taking customers on a different kind of journey. London Underground customers will be offered a daily choice of stories from Penguin to read or listen to during their journey, from some of the world’s best-loved authors, via a dedicated mobile-first site: summerofpenguin.com

In this iconic publishing year, stories and ideas from the likes of Harper Lee, Terry Pratchett, John Cleese, Yotam Ottolenghi and Stephen Fry will be accessible to readers old and new to celebrate Penguin’s 80th Birthday. By curating content from new and still to be published releases, exclusive excerpts and iconic material from the Penguin archive, Tube customers will be able to explore and discover the extraordinary during their daily journeys.

Eighty years after Allen Lane first invented the paperback at a train station when returning from a weekend’s visit to Agatha Christie, Penguin is working in partnership with TfL and Virgin Media to share Penguin’s collection through a fun, new, digital experience which has been illustrated by graphic designer Rob LoweThis follows the publication of the Little Black Classics – 80 classic books of 80 pages at 80p each – in January to mark the start of Penguin’s 80th Birthday celebrations.

Hannah Telfer, Group Director, Consumer and Digital Development at Penguin Random House UK said: “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.”

Gregor McNeil, Managing Director Virgin Media Consumer, said: “We’ve helped millions of people get online from the Underground so it’s great to see our brilliant network being used in this innovative way. We’re sure the Summer of Penguin will open more people’s eyes to the benefits of the Tube WiFi network.” 

Gareth Powell, London Underground’s Director of Strategy and Service Development, said: “WiFi on the Tube is one of many ways we’re improving our customers’ journeys and the service is available at 150 Underground stations.  We’re delighted to celebrate Penguin’s 80thbirthday by helping open its digital bookshelf to our customers while they are on the move across the Capital.” 

Virgin Media has been helping Tube customers get online via the Virgin Media WiFi service since June 2012 and passengers can now get online at 150 London Underground stations enabling them to stay connected on the move. Customers are using the popular service more than ever, with over 2.5 million devices now registered and more than 3TB of data consumed over the WiFi network every day. 

Tube customers can keep up-to-date with TfL travel information and quality London entertainment and news for free through Virgin Media’s WiFi portal. The majority of passengers can get online at no extra cost via their mobile network provider but Virgin Media also offers a Pay As You Go service with daily, weekly and monthly passes, giving Tube customers lots of ways to get online Underground.

Read a story on us, connect to Virgin Media WiFi on the Underground and visit www.summerofpenguin.com. To learn more about how to use WiFi on the London Underground, head to www.tfl.gov.uk/station-wifi


The partnership to celebrate Penguin’s 80th Birthday will run on week days from Monday 3 to Friday 28 August. Two exclusive pieces of Penguin content will be released via the microsite summerofpenguin.com every day for the duration of the partnership.

TfL have partnered with Virgin Media to bring WiFi to 150 London Underground stations. Customers can go online via the WiFi service anywhere in ticket halls, corridors and platforms at those stations. Map of Tube stations with WiFi.

If customers have a mobile phone contract with of one of the following providers, they can get internet access on London Underground at no extra cost. To get started, they need to open their WiFi settings, connect to Virgin Media WiFi and follow the instructions to register:

Once registered, customers will be able to connect to the Virgin Media WiFi service any time they enter a Tube station where the WiFi service is available. 

Virgin Media

Virgin Media is the first provider of all four broadband, TV, mobile phone and home phone services in the UK.

The company’s cable network – the result of multi-billion pound private investment – delivers ultrafast broadband to over half of all UK homes, with speeds of up to 152Mb, as well as market leading connectivity to thousands of public and private sector organisations across the country.

Virgin Media has developed the most advanced interactive television service, bringing together broadcast TV, thousands of hours of on demand programming and the best of the web in a single set-top box powered by TiVo. The company was the first to offer HD TV and 3D on demand to millions of British households.

The world’s first virtual mobile network was launched by Virgin Media and it is also one of the largest fixed-line home phone providers in the country.

Virgin Media is a part of Liberty Global plc, the world’s largest international cable company. Together Virgin Media and Liberty Global serve 27 million customers across 14 countries, helping connect people to the digital world and enabling them to discover and experience its endless possibilities.

Penguin Random House is the world’s most global trade book publisher. It was formed on July 1, 2013, upon the completion of an agreement between Bertelsmann and Pearson to merge their respective trade publishing companies, Random House and Penguin, with the parent companies owning 53% and 47%, respectively.  Penguin Random House comprises the adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction print and digital trade book publishing businesses of Penguin and Random House in the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and South Africa, and Penguin’s trade publishing activity in Asia and Brazil; DK worldwide; and Penguin Random House Grupo Editorial’s Spanish-language companies in Spain, Mexico, Argentina, Uruguay, Colombia, and Chile. Penguin Random House employs more than 10,000 people globally across almost 250 editorially and creatively independent imprints and publishing houses that collectively publish more than 15,000 new titles annually. Its publishing lists include more than 70 Nobel Prize laureates and hundreds of the world’s most widely read authors.