NZ3 News: February 19, 2012
Kiwi Company Creates Soundtracks for EBooks
A kiwi innovation is showcasing a new revolution in reading, with an app that has co-ordinated musical soundtracks into e-books.
While still in its infancy, the ground-breaking technology, designed by Kiwi brothers Paul and Mark Cameron, looks set to change the way we read forever as it provides e-books with their own soundtrack.
“People were putting CDs and playlists in the back of books, but no-one had really taken the next leap which was ‘hey it could be a really cinematic experience where you brought in not just music but ambience and effects’ – if you’re reading about walking along the beach you should hear the waves crashing,” says Booktrack CEO Paul Cameron.
Music, ambient audio and sound effects are carefully synchronised to match the text, immersing the reader into the world of the book.
State-of-the-art software created on Auckland's North Shore measures and automatically adjusts pacing of the audio with your reading speed.
For renowned New Zealand composer, John Psathas- who created the score for Salman Rushdie's e-book In The South- it is a ground-breaking way of writing music
“The key thing that drew me to it was the newness of the experience – there’s nothing that’s been around for composers like this ever before,” says Mr Psathas, who composes music for the soundtracks.
Booktrack has produced 11 e-books so far, from Peter Pan to the Power of Six and Mr Cameron hopes to build a concentrated online bookshelf, with 500 booktracks planned in the next 12 months.
With the e-book market estimated to be worth $20 billion in the next three to five years, Booktrack's popularity is quickly gaining momentum
“We’ve got 500 authors who have emailed us and said, ‘I want you to booktrack my book’. We’ve had 500 audio people saying, ‘I can make a booktrack for a book’,” says Mr Cameron.
Readers, though, worry that a soundtrack might be distracting while you're trying to read.
“When I initially heard about it, I thought I need complete silence when I’m reading, but if it’s done right, it has this phenomenal potential to turn reading into something we’ve never experienced before,” says John Psathas.
And for those of us who live with readers, it will be that much harder to get their attention.