By Andrew Liszewski
Like when most people first hear about the concept behind Booktrack, my knee-jerk reaction was to scoff at what I thought was a ridiculous idea. But having downloaded the app and given it a try, I’m surprised to say I’m not completely in the negative about it. In the same way a moving score can enhance a movie or TV show, the creators of Booktrack, including PayPal founder Peter Thiel, feel that books could also be made more exciting or dramatic with a soundtrack of their own.
And after reading a few pages of The Adventures Of Sherlock Holmes – The Adventure of the Speckled Band (that’s a lot of adventure!) I’m intrigued by the idea, though dubious of it catching on. The most obvious question one has when it comes to adding a soundtrack to a book is how you deal with different reading speeds. A dramatic sting really isn’t dramatic if it comes at the wrong time. So when you start reading a story with a Booktrack soundtrack, every once in a while you’re encouraged to double tap on a word so that a moving arrow, which scrolls down the page, stays in sync with where you’re at on the page. It’s a little obtrusive, but over time the app will automatically adjust to match your reading speed, and will time the soundtrack accordingly.
You’re also given control over the individual levels for the soundtrack and sound effects, which helps you adjust them so that they’re not too distracting while you read. And once I had turned them down to more suitable background levels, I was surprised to find that I actually kind of appreciated them. But there are a lot of speed bumps to overcome before this idea catches on. The book I read was 43+ MB in size, which is considerably larger than your average ebook. And from the looks of it, that’s on the small side. And it takes time to add a soundtrack and effects to a title, so don’t expect new releases to be immediately available. Like with most ventures like this it’s going to come down to content available, and so far their library isn’t exactly extensive.