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eBooks with a Sound Track?

Posted by Andrew at 4:53 PM on August 31, 2011

US company Booktrack has just released a new concept onto the literary market – ebooks with a sound track. Yes, you read that right, ebooks with a sound track. To quote from their website, “Booktrack represents a new chapter in the evolution of storytelling, and an industry “first” in publishing, by creating synchronized soundtracks for e-books that dramatically boost the reader’s imagination and engagement. The company’s proprietary technology combines music, sound effects and ambient sound, automatically paced to an individual’s reading speed.

One of the first Booktracked novels is Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes and The Adventure of the Speckled Band. Plenty of scope there for creepy sound effects but…

…does anyone else think this sounds (sorry) doomed to fail? I’m all for new ways of experiencing stories but we’ve done pretty well with books, radio and TV / film. Each medium has its own strengths and for me, the attraction of a good book is that your imagination creates the world in your head. Now when I read that the door creaks open, I hear it too. Surely if I want a story with sound effects, I get an audio book? Maybe I’m being too critical.

If you want to try it out, it’s available from the Apple App Store for the iPhone et al. There’s only five books available at the moment, two for adults and three for children. On reflection, children may well respond to this approach and it might encourage reading, so that changes my opinion a little. Great idea for kids, bad idea for adults.

What do you think?

3 Comments

  1. From Greg at 10:28 pm on August 31, 2011

    I disagree especially as it relates to the iPad, although I realize the app above is meant for use with the iPhone.

    Digital storytelling is the wave of the future, it’s just a matter of time before it all goes that way – digital.

    Greg

  2. From Twitter Fail at 4:38 pm on September 1, 2011

    How will the soundtrack flow with the reading speed of the reader? Probably not well.

    If I want a soundtrack while reading a book, I’ll turn on the radio.

  3. From Shirley at 6:03 am on September 6, 2011

    I agree. Reading is all about the imagination and feeding it. Everyone who reads a book gets something different out of it but basically I think it would be wierd listening to doors opening and people running while I’m trying to get into the story. I think I’ll wait for the film!!