Google Submits New Patent for Triggered Sounds in eBooks

Father and son read an ebook

Google has just filed for a new patent that would make eBooks come alive with sounds. The sounds would be triggered by events within the book, such as lapping waves, anĀ ominous crescendo, or maybe an outdoor market. The new application would have the sounds stored on a server and would be pushed out to the eBook users are reading at the time.

The patent application outlines the main abstract. “Trigger point information is generated for an eBook to play sounds in an eBook. A request for trigger point information is received from a client. The eBook is analyzed to determine trigger point information for the eBook. The trigger point information includes location information identifying a location of a trigger point in the eBook. The trigger information also includes sound information indicating a sound to play at the trigger point. The determined trigger point information is transmitted to the client in response to the request for trigger point information. The client is configured to track a user’s reading location in the eBook and play the sound indicated by the sound information responsive to the user reading the eBook at the location of the trigger point.”

Text to Speech could actually benefit from this new patent. Many e-Reading apps from Kobo, Amazon, and Barnes and Noble don’t support it, and consumers who have vision problems may want the book to be read aloud. Instead of purchasing an audiobook at three to six times the cost of a normal eBook, the new functionality added to apps might allow people to take advantage of TTS.

Another sector this new technology may excel at is kids books. Most enhanced books right now have interactive elements and a narrated reading experience. The Guardian ran a focus group recently that found out, “Children reading enhanced ebooks also ‘recalled significantly fewer narrative details than children who read the print version of the same story,’ said the researchers, speculating that the extra features may be distracting. interaction.” The fact that readers can experience very specific narratives or sound effects, without using “interactivity” as a crutch and core selling point, is very compelling.

Michael Kozlowski (5147 Posts)

Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about electronic readers and technology for the last four years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the Huffington Post, CNET and more. Michael frequently travels to international events such as IFA, Computex, CES, Book Expo and a myriad of others. If you have any questions about any of his articles, please send an email to

  • callmeisaac

    So what’s the patent for? Filling out the form?

  • Good E-Reader

    It is for pushing sounds from a remote server to an eBooks on a tablet, e-reader, phone etc.

  • callmeisaac

    This is already in the epub3 spec and works.

  • Good E-Reader

    Not much content is made in EPUB3 yet, and may not see mass market adoption. From talking to the IDPF and many of their contributors its a dead technology.

  • callmeisaac

    LOL trolling to kill technology. Lot’s of people talk behind the scenes. And most of it is BS.

  • Micah

    True there is not a lot of content in the broader market so far. But dead? Dead wrong. Almost all ebook app developers world wide are working hard on EPUB3 support including most of the big ones: Apple, Kobo, Google, Sony, etc. Adobe just joined the Readium Foundation this week to assist in the Open Source EPUB3 app SDK project, the big publishers are clamoring for it and there is a big AAP working group meeting on EPUB3 in NY this very week as well with reps from almost every major publishing company. Textbook industry has a big working group meeting on it this fall (EDUPUB). It is just a very ambitious spec and that simply takes time to fully work through the entire ecosystem: content production, app development, infrastructure build out, best practices guidelines, authoring tools, etc. Many, many millions spent in 2013 across the industry to bring it to market. No lack of effort or interest there, just happening outside consumer sphere for the moment.

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