idealog: 19 December 2012
Booktrack brings the Bible to life
The Kiwi startup, launched in 2011 by brothers Mark and Paul Cameron, adds background music and ambient noises to books, accompanying passages of prose with complimentary sound.
Booktrack bounced back from initial criticism of its product, recently closing a $2 million funding round led by existing investor Peter Thiel, and new investors including Sir Stephen Tindall’s K1W1 angel investment fund.
The latest version of the ebook app for iPad, which launched at the beginning of this week, includes an audio-added version of The Gospels, telling the story of Jesus’ life. A demo version is available for free, with the full version costing US$20.
Booktrack CEO Paul Cameron says the company worked with Park Road Post Production in Miramar to create over 100 unique musical compositions, 200 sound effects, and 100 ambient noises. Altogether, three composers and six audio engineers worked for six months to develop the product.
Although Christianity has a global following, The Gospels ebook is aimed primarily at the US market, particularly in the southern states in the Bible Belt.
“Right now a lot of the marketing is focused on segments of the US where there is a real passion for Christianity,” says Cameron.
There was no consultation with senior members of any church organisations during the book's production, but Cameron says the team included very religious people. Booktrack partnered with Bible publishing company Thomas Nelson, which Cameron says made sure the background sounds were tasteful.
Cameron says an audio accompanied version of the New Testament is almost complete, and due to launch in January 2013.
The focus for the 12-strong Booktrack team now is to build tools for third parties to produce their own audio-accompanied ebooks, using Booktrack as a platform for sale and promotion. Development for this is already underway, and Cameron says the platform will go live in early 2013.