Technology grants help Kiwi Technology Change the Future of e-reading

A new chapter in the history of storytelling has arrived with the launch of Booktrack, a New Zealand-born disruptive technology set to change the way people read and enjoy e-books forever.

The brainchild of New Zealand brothers Mark and Paul Cameron, Booktrack is a world-first technology that precisely matches music, sound effects and ambient audio to the text. No matter how fast or slow the reader, Booktrack keeps pace word-for-word, dramatically enhancing reader engagement.

Booktrack was developed with funding support from the Ministry of Science and Innovation and New Zealand Trade and Enterprise, and is backed by a management team who alongside the Cameron brothers, include some of the world’s leading investors and technology heavyweights. PayPal founder Peter Thiel joins global Kiwi thought-leaders, Derek Handley of The Hyperfactory and Mark D’Arcy, Facebook’s director of global creative solutions.

Three years in development, the first commercially available Booktrack application launches on August 25 around the world, fully integrated into James Frey’s ‘The Power of Six’ – the eagerly awaited sequel to ‘I am Number Four’.

Booktrack co-founder and CEO Paul Cameron said: “Until today, technology that can synchronise sound and music within an e-book did not exist – something almost as hard to imagine as a movie with no soundtrack.

“Around the world, millions of commuters and others read while listening to music that is disconnected or at odds with the book they are reading on their mobile devices. With Booktrack they have a complete movie-like sound experience that transforms their enjoyment of the text and which keeps perfect pace with both their reading speed and their imagination”.

Booktrack Chairman Derek Handley said on paper, initially the concept didn’t make sense, but 30 seconds into his first demonstration he knew it would change reading forever.

“From a business perspective it’s one of those paradigm shifts that you rarely come across. Ten or twenty years from now it will be absurd to think of creating a book without a Booktrack, it’ll be like creating a movie with no sound. Booktrack is audio-3D for books so will appeal to all those who enjoy reading. From a literary and content perspective, it is a new genre of entertainment.”

Through Derek Handley’s involvement major investment opportunities opened in the powerful shape of lead Booktrack investor, Peter Thiel.

“It’s always exciting to witness the creation of a new form of media,” said Peter Thiel. “Booktrack’s technology promises to captivate readers in a way that will seem intuitive in hindsight and compelling ever after”.

In collaboration with HarperCollins, SonyATV, Park Road Post Production (the Wellington-based feature film post-production facility), the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and leading composers, Booktrack brings together the publishing and music industries to produce the future of reading – soundtracks for books.

Park Road, under the direction of Head of Sound John Neill, produced the first commercially available Booktrack, including 70 originally scored music pieces for ‘The Power of Six’.  General Manager Cameron Harland says work on Booktrack compilations requires a similar skill set to mixing sound for some of the world’s leading films.

“Worldwide sales of ebooks are exploding, so Booktrack is a timely advancement in the ebook journey. We have a world class team with dedicated skills to purpose-build booktracks for many of the world’s favourite titles. It’s a whole new opportunity for our industry, and one with endless possibilities.”

Free demonstrations of Booktrack can be viewed on YouTube

www.msi.govt.nz

To find out how we can help you access R&D grants, contact Simon Lempriere of DynamicResources at simon@dynamicresources.co.nz or 09 236 0082 and 021 721156.

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