Booktrack™ – sound and musical effects for eBooks?

Last week saw the launch of a new company called Booktrack™. Their claim to fame is that they will publish your eBook to the accompaniment of music and/or sound effects … which may or may not be enticing for eBook readers.

Imagination vs forced aural effects?

Come now! Be serious!

Traditionally, the whole idea of reading was to fuel the imagination as well as broaden the vocabulary and general knowledge, wasn’t it?

As a child, it gave me great pleasure to imagine an entire world of my own built around the images, sounds and smells that authors would describe in detail for me. Never mind that it might have differed fundamentally from what the author intended, the whole idea of writing is to give the reader enjoyment that is his (hers?) alone – isn’t it?

Even now, I find myself envisioning the songs and sound tracks being described in the book. It was as if I were exercising my mind… nay! It is like exercising your mind.

Stephen King, in his book “On Writing”, says “Description is what makes the reader a sensory participant in the story.” And while I agree that a good description is absolutely vital in the telling of a story, a good imagination is also vital – because without an imagination, a description is just a collection of words on a page.

Booktrack™ good for the imagination-challenged among us?

The flip side of that argument is that aural effects might open up reading to a whole new set of readers – those for whom imagination fails them and for whom even a good description amounts to just a collection of words on a page. For them, an eBook accompanied with it’s own soundtrack might be a good thing, opening up an even larger market for eBooks than there already is.

At least with Booktrack™, those of us who much prefer the silent constructs of our own imagination can still enjoy eBooks without the intrusion of sound into our experience; we can still choose the non-aural enhanced version of eBooks. For the time being, Booktrack™ versions will be available for purchase and download separately.

Considering the way fashion works in this world, I wonder how soon it might be before we have no choice but to buy the sound-equipped eBook. I also wonder when our eBooks will be accompanied by automated animated images to enhance the words and sounds causing the film industry to worry as much as print publishers now seem to be?

Or am I taking the whole objection to a good idea too far?

Could it be that what I am thinking of as an intrusion now, might end up becoming an enjoyable enhancement in the future? What do you think?

  • Booktrk

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) Booktrack isn’t necessarily meant to _replace_ books. Rather, the purpose is to provide a new, complementary but fundamentally different type of entertainment. I can easily imagine people who decide to read some books in hardcover and and some via Booktrack, just as today, people can both read and watch movies without one pulling from the other

    2) Booktrack seems like a great way to increase focus on the text at hand. At least for me, I know that right now, it’s hard for me to focus on what I’m reading, particularly if I’m trying to read on the subway or when my e-mail is pinging away. By bringing together sight and sound, I feel like I would be able to isolate myself from the distractions in my life and lose myself in the book.

    That said, I appreciate your opinion–will be great to see where this thing goes from here!

  • Booktrk

    A couple of thoughts:

    1) Booktrack isn’t necessarily meant to _replace_ books. Rather, the purpose is to provide a new, complementary but fundamentally different type of entertainment. We can easily imagine people who decide to read some books in hardcover and and some via Booktrack, just as today, people can both read and watch movies without one pulling from the other

    2) Booktrack is a great way to increase focus on the text at hand. At least for me, I know that right now, it’s hard for me to focus on what I’m reading, particularly if I’m trying to read on the subway or when my e-mail is pinging away. By bringing together sight and sound, Booktrack helps readers isolate themselves from the distractions in their lives and lose themselves in their book.

    That said, we appreciate your opinion and are glad to see so much interest in our technology. We look forward to continuing to build this product, and hope to hear more of your comments!

    • http://fyrfli.net fyrfli

      :) Thanks so much for your response. I was hoping to provoke some feedback but I never thought I’d hear directly from you guys. This is awesome.

      Yes – I can see where Booktrack™ will definitely help filter out the real world distractions; and I have to admit that I have been lucky enough to either be in an environment where I can easily tune out the real world sounds or I’ve been engrossed enough in my book so that nothing gets through… but I know I won’t always be that lucky.

      So thanks again for lending your voice! Stay tuned – hopefully we’ll get some other viewpoints.

  • Volsung

    I think this is not a bad idea to use the music that has been inspired by the book in the book itself .For example when I read The Lord of the rings novel Howard Shore’s Incredible music automatically comes to my head…And in the other hand it may be against innovation because the inspirations will be limited to the First composer ( Although David Arkenston’s music inspired by The LOTR is not bad it’s not popular because Howard Shore’s music was used in the movie) And which music will be first used in a book is very important because it shapes the reader’s mind

  • Smrmsaidi

    Of course this project can improve the music of our age as well as bookworms because if this project become popular, good music must be put in all books and imagine a musician has made the music for the Critique Of Pure Reason! We had some very good music inspired by the books like Thus Spoke Zarathustra from R.Strauss . This movement may give birth to some great new composers.

  • dislexicmama

    a plea for dyslexic readers:
    we are looking for ebooks with a spoken voice over with the words you can see. dyslexic readers could then associate the spoken words with the written words in the book. it would be like the opposite of a film with subtitles. here we would have the text, with the addition of the voice over with the spoken words we could match to the text. we think this would help enormously. couldnt an audio format be matched with the video book format? with the ability to pause, back up or forward? surely current technology could manage this considering all the other stuff it can do (like invade our privacy, do 3-D printing etc.)