Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Booktrack: Synchronized Soundtracks for Ebooks




Have you heard of Booktrack? They contacted me recently to let me know about their service and invited me to try it out for myself. So I decided to check them out. Here's what their site says ...


Booktrack is transforming reading the way sound transformed silent film 
Booktrack offers a new content creation and distribution platform that turns reading into an immersive movie-like experience. Booktrack’s patented technology lets anyone add a synchronized movie-style soundtrack to an e-book or other digital text content, with the audio paced to each individual’s reading speed.

Interesting. Opinions are divided, of course. Some think it's a great idea that will transform the way we read books. Others say that the point of reading is to use our imaginations. A soundtrack is distracting, unnecessary, and even insulting to those whose imaginations are perfectly capable of conjuring up the right sound at the right time!

I tested it out by opening up one of Hugh Howey's books, adjusting the reading speed to suit my own pace, and reading the first few pages. It seemed pretty cool, so I downloaded the app on my iPad and continued reading. The annoyance there was that the reading speed changed back to super slow every time I turned the page. A glitch, I'm sure, but one that means I won't continue to read unless it's fixed (because who wants to have to adjust the little moving arrow every time they turn the page?!).

Overall, though, I imagine that if I could set the perfect reading speed and not have to bother with it after that, I'd quite easily be able to slip into the story while enjoying the soundtrack as an enhancement of the experience and not a distraction. I think. More experimentation is required!

As an author, however, and someone who's played musical instruments and dabbled in composition since a young age, I am DEFINITELY interested in creating a soundtrack for my own ebooks. WATCH THIS SPACE!

____________________________

What do you think about synchronized soundtracks for ebooks?
I'd love to hear your opinion as both a read and a writer!


7 comments:

Lisa Shafer said...

Hmmmm.... I've never tried it, so I couldn't be sure, but I think it would really, really distract me.

Rachel Morgan said...

I think if it was turned up loud it would distract me too much, but I turned it down so it was a low background sound, and I quite enjoyed that :-)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I think it would be really cool. But coming up with music for an entire book? Whoa...

Lisa Shafer said...

Is it just music? Or are their sounds, such as fighting or wind blowing, or birds?

Cathy Keaton said...

I've never heard of anything like that before. I would maybe only like listening to music while reading so long as it's instrumental. It does sound interesting to try out because it makes me curious as to how this works.

Rachel Morgan said...

Alex - Yeah, I know. BIG mission!

Lisa - In the books I've sampled so far, it's mainly background music with appropriate sounds (a coyote howl, or city noises) here and there as dictated by the text.

Cathy - All the books on Booktrack are free to read at the moment, so you can try them out and see if you like this synchronized soundtrack idea!

erica and christy said...

Hmmmm.... I'm thinking it would distract me. Maybe if it was only quiet music with no lyrics... But I usually end up reading at bedtime when everyone else in the house is sleeping, so I need to be quiet. Cool idea and I can see the appeal to create a soundtrack for my own novels for readers to enjoy! Christy