Lonely Planet Writer

Moscow’s airports and railway stations offer free library services

Travellers from Moscow can now read books for free on a train or plane, as the city has launched virtual bookshelves at railway stations and airports.

Leo Tolstoy Express gets new onboard library service.
Leo Tolstoy Express gets new onboard library service. Image by Sergei Fadeichev/Getty

‘A Book for a Trip’ allows passengers to download 150 different ebooks that include a diverse range of titles, from Russian authors such as Peter Aleshkovsky, the 2016 Russian Booker prize winner, to children’s literature and bestsellers such as the novels by Stieg Larsson or Stephen King. The project is sponsored by the Russian Book Union and the Russian Railways and was first trialled at Moscow’s airports in 2015. Moscow train stations offering ebook downloads include Belorussky, Kazansky  and Paveletsky stations. Books can be easily downloaded on a reading device by scanning the QR code.

For those who prefer the good old-fashioned hard copy over ebooks, the Leo Tolstoy express train which goes from Moscow to Helsinki now has a public library for passengers. ‘Travel with a Book’ is a Russo-Finnish project organised by the Russian Railways and the Embassy of Finland in Moscow from the start of February to early April. The books available for passengers to read are by both Russian and Finnish authors and can be simply ordered from the train staff.

In 2014 Moscow authorities first tested a digital library project in the city’s metro stations. More than a hundred Russian classics, such as Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gogol , Pushkin and Dostoyevsky, were offered to commuters as free downloads on train platforms by  scanning a code with a smartphone or a tablet, made easier by the installation of free Wi-Fi on Moscow’s metro system.

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