E—books are now being given background noises and music in the hope to spark young people’s interest in literature.
The concept is already in use in the U.S., where the classics of Charlotte Bronte, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and William Shakesphere come with added sound effects.
In one example, a description of rain lashing against a window in a Sherlock Holmes story will be ‘enhanced’ with matching noises.
The Booktrack releases are available to iPad users, with other tablet computer versions to follow.
A story by Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie will be released later in the year with a specially crafted orchestral score.
The concept has been developed by Booktrack which synchronises music to each novel. It is funded by Peter Thiel, a co—founder of PayPal.
It works by timing the speed of each reader and the software measures the ‘turning’ of a page and moves the music or sounds along accordingly.
"It’s always exciting to witness the creation of a new form of media. The technology promises to captivate readers in a way that will seem intuitive in hindsight,” the Daily Mail quoted Thiel as saying.
However they have been greeted with horror by traditionalists, who say that the technology takes away the pleasure of having one’s imagination stimulated by a story.
They also raise the prospect of having to ask an overly eager reader to turn their book down.
David Nicholls, whose bestseller One Day was recently turned into a film starring Anne Hathaway, said: “This sounds like the opposite of reading. It would be a distraction.”