Briefly Noted: Booktrack

The New York Times (“Bells and Whistles for a Few E-Books”) takes note of a new ebook startup company, with a different approach to ebooks from what we’ve seen so far: books with their own soundtracks? Booktrack has partnered with Harper Collins to release a initial set of ebooks coupled with their own soundtracks and sound effects, to make the ebook reading experience more ‘cinematic’ —

“Reading the Booktrack edition of “The Power of Six” on an iPad is much like reading the standard e-book edition, with the addition of a small indicator scrolling down the page, line by line. (The user sets the reading speed.)

Much of the music — about nine hours’ worth for the typical novel — is instrumental or ambient noise. But during livelier passages, a reader may hear the patter of footsteps, a booming gong, a crackling fire or the tick of a grandfather clock.”

Do books need their own soundtracks? Perhaps. Or perhaps not. The Next Big Thing with ebooks is certainly a guessing game, so experimentation generally speaking is a good thing. Sounds a little fringy to me, but I’m not one to fault creative new approaches.

You can take a closer look at the first Booktrack ebook at this link on iTunes.

More such books seem to be in the near future, including some Salman Rushdie short stories:

“Its first book featuring a soundtrack is “The Power of Six,” a young-adult novel published by HarperCollins, soon to be followed by “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “Jane Eyre,” “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Three Musketeers.”

In September and October, Booktrack will release editions of the short stories “In the South,” by Salman Rushdie, and “Solace,” by Jay McInerney.”

And you can also check out a YouTube video of BookTrack in action:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4y2uGbj04I

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I run the ThinkLab at the University of Cambridge, and research digital habits, productivity, and wellbeing.

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