Books have always had the power to transform an ordinary life into something surreal. With the human imagination in mind, authors create words, sentences, and paragraphs that spark creativity. These words are carefully chosen, so that a reader can imagine any given setting. The beauty of a book is that no two readers will read a book the same way. All of this may soon change.
A new app for the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch called “Booktrack” aims to add sound effects to your e-books. The noises that Booktrack will generate are, supposedly, drawn from a book’s text. While innovative and original, this author isn’t convinced that Booktrack won’t be distracting and annoying, but, most importantly, that Booktrack won’t alter a reader’s individual experience.
What Booktrack Does
Let’s say, for example, that you are currently reading The Great Gatsby on your iPad. If you installed the Booktrack app, this classic tale would be accompanied by various sound effects. You might hear the screech of tires, the sound of a glass, or the scuffle of footsteps as you read through each section.
Booktrack claims that the app will adapt to your reading speed, so that sound effects can be heard as you read through any given book. Thus far, Booktrack only has a handful of books that the app can be added to, though the company is gaining speed quickly. As more and more people feel the need to delve into a true “interactive” reading experience, Booktrack is sure to become quite popular.
A Logical Step?
We’ve already replaced print books with e-books. Now, print books are largely seen as boring, an assault against the environment, and somewhat lame. The Booktrack into video even includes an image of an older man with a growing beard reading a regular print book. Replace that book with an e-book, and the man’s beard suddenly stops growing. Sure, books have evolved over the past years, but there’s something to be said for the feel of a paper book.
Arguments against e-books aside, one has to wonder: do we really need a soundtrack to go with every book? What if your idea of a ticking clock is far from the one that Booktrack creates? Your imagination will be laid to rest while you replace your own thoughts and sounds with those computer-generated sounds that Booktrack will provide. In short, any glimpse of your own creativity will be thrown out the window.
And what of those carefully chosen words that authors take hours to insert into any given text? Will carefully crafted phrases be replaced by simple words? Will the words “A screaming comes across the sky (Pynchon’s “Gravity’s Rainbow”) be replaced by “scream,” so that an app such as Booktrack can pick up on the keyword? These are things to think about before downloading the Booktrack app. Not to mention the fact that alarming sounds are some of the most distracting things while reading any good book.
If the Booktrack app still interests you, the Apple Store is the place to go to find the app. You can also visit the Booktrack website to view available titles. Right now, you’ll find Hansel and Gretel, Sherlock Holmes, the Ugly Duckling, and various other titles. This app will also be coming to Android soon.