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Monday, April 11, 2011

Three Ages of Reading on the Tube

Regular readers will know I'm always keen to see what people are reading on the London Underground, as it's usually a good indicator of trends in popular fiction, non fiction and now reading devices. Last week the trio opposite me looked very much like an advertisement for how people read on the Tube.

Three ages of Reading on the Tube

On the far right, we have the older man reading the Daily Telegraph. Although you can't see it from the photo, he was wearing a three piece suit, just to complete the picture of the old & traditional City commuter.

In the middle was a woman reading Shortlist, representing the rise of the "free sheet". Well perhaps the rise and fall of the free sheet. In 2009 both London Lite and the London Paper evening free sheets closed, but the Evening Standard turned from a paid for paper into a free sheet. But the fall of the evening freebies, Shortlist and Stylist have stepped in to provide a good weekly read with production values, editorial and photography to rival some quality paid for glossy monthlies.  I'm sure there's still a place for the "urban traveller" magazines like TNT, but I bet they've eaten into their market somewhat.  I remember when magazines like Ms London  & Midweek (remember them?), were the only freebies outside Tube stations and they were generally full of recruitment ads for secretarial roles.

On the left is a lady with an e-Reader - probably a Kindle. As blogged in the past, I'm seeing a huge number of people reading Kindles on the Tube now. There's almost one person in every carriage now (or more from my friend @Izabel_blue's tweet).

It'll be interesting to see how this picture will change in five years time.  How long will it be before  we see more people reading from iPads, Kindles or other e-readers than people reading printed books and papers on the Tube?

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