Hamish Fletcher

Hamish Fletcher is a business reporter for the NZ Herald

Music adds the mood to e-words

Mark Cameron says there is interest in Booktrack from publishers and audio houses all over the globe. Photo / Supplied
Mark Cameron says there is interest in Booktrack from publishers and audio houses all over the globe. Photo / Supplied

A New Zealand software company which adds a "movie-like sound experience" to e-books has had one of its titles downloaded more than 100,000 times and is now gathering capital to expand.

Booktrack, the brainchild of brothers Mark and Paul Cameron, adds music and other ambient audio to novels or short stories being read on tablet devices like the iPad.

The software tracks a user's reading speed and adjusts the pace of the audio or music when each page is turned.

Since launching in August last year, Booktrack's version of The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes has been downloaded more than 100,000 times.

Booktrack is also getting big names involved - its latest offering is a collaboration between Booker Prize winner Salman Rushdie and New Zealand composer John Psathas.

The soundtrack for the title was recorded by the New Zealand Symphony Orchestra and post-production was done by Wellington's Park Road Post, which worked on the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

"There's real traction around the platform ... we are talking to all the publishers in the world and the biggest audio houses," said chief executive Paul Cameron.

Cameron said publishers are keen to get involved because they get the same cut from the sale of a Booktrack title as they would from e-book sales on other platforms. The rest of the proceeds from a sale are split between composers or audio creators and the company itself.

With high profile investors like Facebook billionaire Peter Thiel having already put money into the project, Cameron said Booktrack is looking to attract more funding to expand its range and market aggressively.

"We're looking to really ramp up scale into 500 titles in the next 12 months, so we're started to get everything lined up around efficiencies of content creation and [getting] deals in place," he said.

The company has grown to a permanent staff of 15 and although its head offices are located in New York, all of the development is done on the North Shore.

Booktrack is also looking to open offices in San Francisco.

- NZ Herald

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