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?