Booktrack is an enhanced platform for e-books that turns reading into an immersive movie-like experience with a synchronised soundtrack. Matthew Stock reports.
A New Zealand-based start up is hoping to change the way people read e-books. Called Booktrack - it's a soundtrack for books. Instead of putting on headphones to just drown out distractions, they've added a synchronised soundtrack to accompany the on-page action. UPSOT It's made up of music, ambient sound and sound effects that dynamically adjust depending on where the reader is up to in the story. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL CAMERON, BOOKTRACK CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, SAYING: "We are the only enhancement for reading delivered while you read. The most powerful thing about reading is being lost in that reading experience, so what we do is add just one layer of that to get you into the experience quicker and keep you there for longer." Michael Tamblyn from e-reader makers Kobo says devices like Booktrack bring an added dimension to reading. (SOUNDBITE) (English) MICHAEL TAMBLYN, CEO OF KOBO, SAYING: "We're fighting against all of the other distractions that we have in modern life, and try to carve out a place for books and reading in it.... that's why you see people trying to create immersive experiences that sort of push away at the distractions that can pull you out of reading." Readers can use Booktrack in their browser or download the software on to their smartphone or tablet. Popular books on Booktrack at the moment include Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and the Sherlock Holmes stories. Key to Booktrack's immersive platform is how their audio software learns a person's reading speed. (SOUNDBITE) (English) PAUL CAMERON, BOOKTRACK CEO AND CO-FOUNDER, SAYING: "What Booktrack does is as you read we know how many words are on the page, every time you turn the page we're measuring how fast or slow you're reading, and then the soundtrack dynamically adjusts to match... It's a bit like having a conductor sitting there going "hang on a minute, slowed down reading, right; cue the next track". So it's dynamically moving with you as you're reading the story." Booktrack currently has over 16,000 soundtracked titles in 30 languages. They've also released a tool for authors to create and add soundtracks to their own work using a database of sounds and music.