BusinessInsider: August 24, 2011
An Awesome Startup Launched Today That Could Change How You Read Books Forever
Earlier this summer, we attended a party for a stealth startup that Peter Thiel backed.
Today, we can finally announce what the startup is, and why we're bullish on it.
Booktracks is a startup that could transform your reading experience forever. Like movies have soundtracks, now books can have soundtracks.
"It's difficult to imagine a movie with no soundtrack. Yet, until today, the technology did not exist to synchronize music and sound within an e-book," Paul Cameron, Booktrack's co-founder and CEO says.
"Tens of millions of commuters around the world listen to a playlist that's disconnected from what they're reading-perhaps a sad song with an upbeat story. Now they can replicate a movie-like sound experience and fundamentally transform their reading experience."
When we first heard the idea, we were skeptical. Many people find listening to music distracting when reading. And everyone reads at different speeds, so it's impossible for one track to cater to everyone.
Not so, we were told. You have to try it to believe it.
So we went off in a corner of the party, put on some headphones, and read the first few pages of Da Vinci Code. Immediately, music started to play appropriately with the words. Right as we read a line about a door slamming shut, we heard the exact same sound.
We tried reading at different speeds to trick the book soundtrack. It didn't work. It seemed to hover within a few seconds of the lines we were reading, and the track followed us with every page turn.
Some Booktracks are already available in the App Store. In the coming weeks and months, Booktrack will also create editions of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Peter Pan, The Three Musketeers, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Romeo and Juliet and more.
Booktracks has a number of strategic partners behind it already, including major music company Sony/ATV, which will be making tracks for books and selling them much like iTunes would sell a song in the bookstore. It also has HarperCollins on board.
The founder of Booktracks is a Kiwi, Paul Cameron. Derek Handley, an entrepreneur who sold his company to Meredith Corporation, is the Chairman. Peter Thiel's right hand man, Andrew McCormack, led the startup's investment.
The startup is hosting a launch party tonight with celebrities like Georgina Chapman, James Frey, Courtney Love, Paul Haggis, Salman Rushdie, and Harvey Weinstein.