Booktrack for Into the Vast
Today I have a really cool announcement I’d like to share with you. As of today, the booktrack for Into the Vast is now available! What’s a booktrack, you ask? No, it’s not a place where books race around a course at dizzying speeds to see who’s the winner. It’s something much much cooler (though a book race would be pretty funny to watch now that I think of it). Let me explain.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been sharing some of my favorite songs to write to. However, when I read, I usually prefer to read in silence. I know some people do choose to read to music and perhaps for them it enhances their experience. Maybe certain music might fit the scene you’re reading and make it seem more dramatic, sad, or mysterious. Or it might not. Because you never know what the scene will be, you can never know if the music might actually detract from the events of the book you’re reading.
Think about it. What if you tried it with movies. What if you listened to the soundtrack from Star Wars while watching Gone With the Wind? Might be a pretty jarring experience. Even reading Gone With the Wind while listening to the soundtrack to Star Wars would be an off the wall experience, I’d bet.
Soundtracks for books
But what if you could read a book and the soundtrack matched perfectly with what you’re reading? Such is the premise of Booktrack, a web site/smart phone app for readers to experience books in a whole new way. Now, before you readers who prefer silence write this off as another hare-brained scheme like smell-o-vision, let me explain how it works.
First off, the books currently available on Booktrack are mostly just samples as far as I can tell. One or two chapter excerpts from novels to give you a taste and feel for what the book might be like. So if you’re not keen on this whole new way of reading, you can just cut your teeth on these snippets and see what you think. Who knows? You might like it. I was a bit skeptical when I first tried it since I prefer to read in silence, but I found that it was actually quite an interesting experience, sort of half way like watching a movie and half way like reading a book.
Another advantage this new platform has is that it’s free! The app is free, the books are free and (if you’re an author) creating the soundtracks are free. You don’t even have to create an account or anything so you’ve really got nothing to lose by trying it out. Do I see myself trying dozens of books out with this software? Honestly, no. The current selection of books is not all that large and there really weren’t that many which appealed to me. So why am I still excited about this service? Because anything that gets more people reading or excited about reading is generally a good thing. And that’s where I see the real benefit of this new technology.
Audiobooks are becoming more and more popular, but you’re not actually reading when you listen to them. You’ve got someone else’s voice in your head. But with booktracks you’re still actually reading. And since more and more people are reading digitally these days, I think it would be great if more books had this option. Would I always want to read this way? No. But what if you read on the subway into work and are going to listen to music anyway? Wouldn’t it be great to have the option to listen to more meaningful music?
I could also see a scenario where, if you’re already a fan of the book, you could buy a booktrack version in addition to the text copy you have, or buy it as part of the “deluxe” version of your favorite book. Again, this wouldn’t be for everybody, but some readers might really enjoy this.
So, if you’re at all interested in something like this, I think you should definitely try it out. You can experience the first two chapters of Into the Vast as a booktrack on the web or by downloading the iTunes app or the Android app and searching for my book on your phone or tablet. And if you do check it out, be sure to rate the book in the app or even let me know what you think in the comments below.
One last word for any authors who might be reading this. Creating a booktrack is a lot of fun. The software gives you thousands of songs and sound effects to choose from. You can even upload your own sounds, but I didn’t try that.
It took about 3-4 hours for me to create my booktrack. Most of that time was spent searching through all the sounds they have in their library. The process felt a little like editing a home movie, though it was probably even less complicated than that. If you’ve ever done that, you’ll find this a cinch.
Also, I’d recommend not putting in an excessive amount of sound effects. I worry that they might take away too much from the imagination or be distracting. I stuck mostly to music for my booktrack, and I tried for ambient music as opposed to overpowering orchestral pieces. You may approach it differently and that may work, but that is the way I chose to create mine.
If you do decide to make a booktrack, please post a link to it in the comments. I’d love to see what you come with. Or, if you read one that you think is especially effective, let me know as well. I’ll check it out. Even if you don’t make your own booktrack, you may at least discover a new book to read and if this post accomplishes nothing more than that, then it will have been worth it.
Happy reading (and listening).