Booktrack is the latest in digital reading – a synchronisation of text and soundtrack. This means that while reading your favourite novel on your Kindle or iPad, an appropriate soundtrack is built in which is meant to enhance the reading experience. At least that is the idea that Paul Cameron has – CEO and co-founder of Booktrack. For many, it is difficult to pinpoint which side of the fence this idea sits.
That is not an impossible belief. There is certainly credit due to the soundtrack developers that blend the melodic effects with the drama that is taking place in a movie scene, creating an all-round experience that incorporates multiple senses. However, a book is slightly different in that there are no moving pictures and no sound. This makes books the most imaginative place to let your mind roam, free to invent any characteristics, voices and sound effects that you please.
The New York Times quoted Cameron saying that Booktrack is, “A new and engaging way to read and enhances your imagination and keeps you in the story longer. And it makes it fun to read again. If you’re not reading all the time, it might help you rediscover reading.”
I don’t disagree. If the music was developing an exciting build-up, I may just stick around a little longer to see what all the noise is about. Then again, do I want the soundtrack to determine the pace that I am reading? Speaking of pace, yes – you can edit the pace at which the soundtrack flows in order to correspond correctly with your reading. But then be consistent, otherwise you may have to change the speed setting again – and nothing is worse than unnecessary interruptions.
According to The New York Times, the first books to be released with music include, “The Power of Six”, “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn”, “Jane Eyre”, “Romeo and Juliet” and “The Three Musketeers”.
The balancing act created between this new innovation and the total freedom of our imaginations is a fine one. Some are excited to explore Booktrack and the possibilities it offers, while many others, prefer to keep their own thoughts strong, without more clutter and influence from technology. The choice is yours.