New idea for book reading: just add ambient and contextual soundtracks to books. Booktract – with it’s soundtracks for books is trying to enrich people’s experience with books by filling them with appropriate background sounds, sound effects, etc synchronised with your reading speed. Yes, sounds interesting so I’ve downloaded a free Booktrack soundtrack book/app – Sherlock Holmes. There are a few functions that speed readers might want but they’re actually counter intuitive. For example, there is a reading indicator which is there to help you pace yourself and you can adjust it but it is all too mechanical and works only at the regular limited speeds. And what’s worse is that if you choose the underline or ball indicator it jumps under or over each word respectively. There is a slider indicator on the right hand side that points only at the line but again the problem is the speed. As all speed readers know, in order to read fast and with comprehension, we need to read meaningful chunks of words, not individual words (speed reading principle number 6: read the message not the words – and principle number 11: focus on hot spots of information, in our Speed Reading Bible). This reading indicator can potentially harm your reading by instilling in you a bad habit for reading ie reading word by word (as opposed to speed reading principle number 8: take fewer steps per line). There is an on/off button. However, the soundtrack won’t be synchronised with the speed of reading. There is a speed reading test where you can check how fast you’re reading though and then use that to set the reading indicator speed. There is a slider to adjust the reading indicator which limits your reading speed to 700wpm (word per minute) which might be slow for some speed readers. But the major problem it that it is designed for novels and to read them for pleasure you need to read them at different speeds in whatever way pleases you.
I’m sure people will try it a few times and time will tell if it will take off in a big way beyond the novelty factor (although they have big companies such as Sony and HarperCollins backing them). It might take some time to get used to the whole idea. Interactive books are the future though – for example Vooks. It should work for children’s books. I’ve looked at some kids books (for example on iPad: The Fantastic Flying Books ) and they’re amazing and very cheap. I wonder what kind of soundtrack they would add for summaries of books such as Passing Time in The Loo – Book Summaries.
Read more about Booktracks – soundtracks for books and immersive reading