As the digital age develops traditional concepts also develop. Reading itself has not changed, however the various ways people can read has. We have not been taught new ways to read, but have found new platforms to read from. Readers are not just confined to a paperback or hardback text. Text has been digitalised and can now be collected and shared through an internet connection. The amount of people who read from a screen has increased hugely (Hayles,2010) .The introduction of e-books and electronic reading devices was met with mixed emotions. Many saw traditional books as the only way to properly read. Others saw these reading devices as an easily accessible catalogue of books in their back pocket.
Text has not only been digitalised and confined into a tablet, there have also been many possibilities with regard to book soundtracks. Their purpose is to provide the appropriate soundtrack to the text that is being read. Booktrack offers this service, it works off an estimated reading pace and inputs the appropriate soundtrack in accordance with the text. Booktrack claims to transform reading, just like sound transformed film (Booktrack,2014) . Its idea is to provide a soundtrack that emotionally corresponds to the words on the page. Having explored some books that Booktrack had to offer, it is evidently an inventive idea. However, the entire reading experience alongside a soundtrack proved more challenging than immersive. The point of the ‘movie-like’ soundtrack is to make the text more engaging. I found myself concentrating more on pace rather than the text itself. It was very difficult to read at a normal pace while the soundtrack was playing. This in turn caused the soundtrack to be faster than my reading pace, which confused the situation even more.
The question also arose whether books with soundtracks would entice non-readers or occasional readers to read more. It is apparent that a book with a corresponding soundtrack does sound more fun and intriguing, it adds another dimension to the written word. However, adults who have not read for leisure in several years would probably not become avid readers solely because of an added soundtrack. It most definitely would be of interest to avid and occasional readers at first, but might prove to be more of an annoyance than anything else. Is this the future of reading? Will ideas like this transform how people read? Or will people stick to a more simplistic approach?
Booktrack also offers a ‘create’ section, which allows users to add a ‘movie-like’ soundtrack to their own text. This particular section on their site could definitely be utilised in a learning environment. Children, who are encouraged to read from a young age would find a tool like Booktrack more stimulating than a traditional book. The ‘create’ section would appeal to children and would promote creativity on a digital platform.
David Gutowski (Morais, 2011) argues that adding a movie-like soundtrack to books would no longer allow books to be books, but more of a multimedia experience. The combination of literature and music could quite possibly be the future of reading for those who want a multimedia experience as they read.
Morais, B. (2011), Books With Soundtracks: The Future of Reading?, url: http://www.theatlantic.com/entertainment/archive/2011/08/books-with-soundtracks-the-future-of-reading/244344/ Accessed on the 4th of December 2015
Hayles, K. (2010), How We Read: Close, Hyper, Machine, url: http://nkhayles.com/how_we_read.html Accessed on the 4th of December 2015