EghtesadOnline: In October more than 25,500 Tehran metro commuters used services offered by the local startup Fidibo to read e-books.
Fidibo is a major e-book publisher. In February, the startup in collaboration with Tehran Municipality and Tehran Metro Company launched a plan that allows subway passengers to download and read eBooks for free when traveling.
Public relations chief of Tehran Metro Company Mohsen Mohammadian says, “Tehran residents are becoming more and more interested in the system,” the company’s website metro.tehran.ir reported.
To use the services, people need to install Fidibo’s app which is available for download for Android and iOS devices on Apple’s App Store and Google Play, as well as local app markets Cafe Bazaar and Sibapp, according to Financial Tribune.
Mohammadian said in collaboration with the metro company, Fidibo has installed touch-screen panels dubbed Fidibox in 22 subway stations that display a disposable QR code.
After scanning the code via Fidibo’s app, commuters for one hour will have free access to 1,000 books. People can choose from the number, download books for free and read them on their handset. Access is blocked after an hour.
When using the tube travelers can get a new code and continue what they were reading during an earlier trip. People can also decide to continue reading the book without interruption. To do so they can purchase the books which they have started reading on the subway from Fidibo with a 20% discount.
The system has been reported to be most used in the following stations: Tatr-e-Shahr (intersection of Line 4 and 3), Shahid Kolahdooz (Line 4) and Qaem (Line 3).
Tehran subway so far has seven lines (Lines 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7) with nearly 100 stations. Lines 6 and 7 are yet to be completed. An estimated four million people use the subway every day.
Installation of Fidiboxes in the subway stations is part of a plan dubbed ‘A library as Vast as a City’ introduced by the municipality that in addition to promoting book reading is aimed at helping people make better use of their time.
Through the new service, Fidibo is planning to introduce online book clubs and reading programs.
Established by the popular cultural product chain store Book City Company in 2014, Fidibo has been downloaded over 200,000 times from Café Bazaar and 73% of users give it the highest ranking (five stars out of five). The app also boasts a 4.3-star (out of five) ranking on Apple’s App Store.
More than 300 local publications collaborate with Fidibo and some 11,000 books are available on the service.
In addition to Persian, Fidibo offers a limited number of books in English and Arabic and is trying to expand its reach to other countries. It has established offices in Spain and Lebanon.