Courtesy James Chongi Boyle/chogm54 on Instagram
Commuting to and from work is a major source of stress in America and throughout the world, and your commute can even make you sick. Yet one city has found a way to make its train journeys more bearable, while promoting literature at the same time.
On two train lines in Beijing, China, the subway cars have been turned into libraries. But they’re not your traditional libraries. Instead of hard copies of the books, the subway cars contain audiobooks, as part of a promotion for a Chinese audiobook app. The app has teamed up with the city of Beijing to promote literacy. (Here are some of our favorite audiobooks.)
However, the cars are still beautifully decorated to look like real bookshelves. The walls, and even doors, of the cars feature artistic renderings of the available books’ covers. Passengers can still browse the books just like in any other library, and once they’ve made their selection, they can scan the QR code on the “cover” of their chosen book. The QR code leads to the audiobook app, where the passengers can listen to the audiobooks for free. And they still have access to the books even after leaving the train! (These are the greatest audiobooks for the whole family)
The app is called 得到, which translates to “Get.” Thanks to the subway cars’ makeover, the app gets attention, and the commuters discover new stories every time they take a ride. And we think they’re all the better for it. Listening to audiobooks really can make your commute more enjoyable—it’s one of the things successful commuters do.
If libraries with physical copies of books are more your thing, you can find plenty of those in China, too. In fact, in one Chinese library, the books go on forever!