Sitting down for a quiet read could soon become a dated way to enjoy literature, at least if Booktrack gets its way.
On Friday the company made its debut on UK virtual book shelves, launching the first of many electronic books (ebooks) ‘enhanced’ with an orchestral score and sound effects. Users of tablets such as the iPad will now be able to read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of the Speckled Band with ambient audio such as thunderclaps, spine-chilling screams and falling rain.
The ebook firm – which is funded by Peter Thiel, co-founder of online payment company PayPal – promises “movie-quality sound” and a “totally immersive experience that pulls the reader into the author’s world and allows the real world to melt away”. Booktrack’s technology is able to monitor the user’s reading speed and adjust the soundtrack accordingly. If the reader wants to take a break, they simply tap the screen to pause the soundtrack.
Later this year readers will also be able to download soundtracked ebooks such William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet and German fairytale Hansel and Gretel, in addition to further Holmes titles.
It is yet to be seen if this new technology will be a hit with consumers. David Nichols, author of One Day, has criticised Booktrack’s efforts to deter from traditional means of enjoying reading. “This sounds like the opposite of reading,” he was quoted as saying.
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Watch an introduction to Booktrack below: