The new website Booktrack is one of many recent attempts to combine music and literature
There is a long-held belief about cinema: "There never was a silent film." From the early days, when moving images fascinated viewers in their mute spectacle, musical accompaniment drowned out the incessant whirring of the projector machine. Sound brought cinema's haunting figures into being, amplifying their moods and heightening the intensity of the action.
Reading, however, is silent by design. Unless readers add their own accompaniment. On any given public transit commute, one might find an audience of readers trying to do just that, headphones in, books open, providing soundtracks to literature. Mark Cameron noticed this on his daily ferry rides, and as he selected his own music-reading pairings, found himself choosing songs that emotionally corresponded to the words on the page. When he told his brother, the two started cooking up an idea for "a more cinematic-type experience" for reading, says Paul Cameron, who is now the CEO of the company they co-founded, Booktrack.
Over the course of about three years, the Cameron brothers set up a service to provide movie-like soundtracks for digital books, five of which are available now for download onto an iPhone or iPad. More titles will appear on Booktrack's virtual shelves in the coming weeks and months, and will eventually be accessible for Android, computers, and other e-reading devices. They'll be offering selected titles for free, but most will cost between $1 and $4.