Spence Macdonald an E-Book Firm Is Adding Background Noises and Music to the Works of Charlotte Bronte, and William Shakespeare

Article excerpt

WHEN electronic books first came out I was one of the paperback purists. "Never" I said to myself, "Never will I have one of those monstrosities", vowing that unless Shakespeare came back to life and said they were OK I would never cross over to the dark side of technology.

Well, that lasted until our producer bought one over a year ago and I just had to have one.

I've been enjoying it ever since but now I discover that my simple e-reader is not adequate enough. Apparently masterpieces such as Jane Eyre are apparently lacking a certain something - that being sound effects.

Would you believe an e-book firm is adding background noises and music to the works of Charlotte Bronte, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William Shakespeare in the hope of attracting younger readers? In one example, a description of rain lashing against a window in a Sherlock Holmes story will be 'enhanced' with matching noises. The crazy concept is already in use in the U.S (where else?) where the classics come with added sound effects. Readers for example can hear the china cups chinking in Mr Darcy''s garden as they read Pride and Prejudice.

Apparently it's thought that this is a brilliant idea.

It has been created by Booktrack, which is funded by a co-founder of PayPal (which takes another chunk of money off Ebay sellers when Ebay has already taken its cut) and it works by timing the speed of each reader with software measuring the 'turn'' of a page before introducing a music soundtrack or effects accordingly. …