Do Your Books Come With a Soundtrack?

Do Your Books Come With a Soundtrack?

Chris Perez
May 4, 2012

How do you enjoy your reading time at home? With silence, or perhaps with a bit of ambient music in the background? If you prefer the latter, then a new app called Booktrack may be worth a look. Booktrack offers a soundtrack to your book reading experience and is available on the most popular computing platforms (Windows, Mac, Android, iOS).

I like the idea of having music playing in the background while I sit down for a good read. In fact, yours truly has a personal memory of reading The Pigman in grade school to some classical music the teacher piped in. To this day, whenever I hear a piece from those classical tracks I'm brought right back to that wooden desk underneath the glow of the fluorescent lights.

I'm not sure if the Booktrack app is as effective, but they are aiming to enhance your reading experience with a custom soundtrack that features ambient music and sound effects. The tracks adjust to your reading speed — by keeping tabs on how quickly you turn the pages — in an effort to tune you into the action or drama as it unfolds.

As you can imagine, quite a bit of effort goes into creating these tracks for a full length book, so there are only a handful of titles currently available for download — old classics that you may stand to read again in this new format.

In the few minutes I spent with a sample from Peter Pan and Rikki Tikki Tavi, I can see how this offering from Bookshelf could be a love/hate type thing. You may like the idea of a soundtrack aiming to make the reading experience more cinematic, or you may frown on the music infringing on your imagination and inner voice. In that same vein, you may or may not think so much of the packaged sound effects that came off a bit gimmicky in our brief run-through. Luckily, you can adjust the volume of the music, ambiance, and sound effects to your liking — I actually turned my sound effects off a few pages in.

It'll be interesting to see if this new format takes off, and how quickly they can add to the minimal book selection they currently have available. You can download the app for free through their website, along with some sample content to try it out yourself.

Learn more: Booktrack

What do you think about the idea of adding sound to your reading experience?

(Images: Chris Perez, Video: Booktrack)

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