Booktrack is a company that develops soundtracks to books. It started in 2011 and has raised around three million dollars to stay in business. Their technology didn’t seem to take off with consumers and the only way to listen to them is with their proprietary app. I fear Booktrack’s days are numbered.
Booktrack took advantage of most of the hype surrounding the enhanced e-book phenomenon of 2010 to 2012. This is when EPUB 3, Kindle Format 8, iBooks Author and various initiatives were highly touted as the next big thing in digital publishing. Major publishers have failed to embrace audio, video and interactive elements in their e-books because customers have not embraced it. Most of the e-books that do leverage their technology are only available in a few apps and have limited content. The only segment to actually make interactive elements a viable business model is education.
Booktrack tried to make soundtracks for e-books a reality. They charge publishers $1,000 to have an audio track that is meant to play when you are reading an e-book. The audio normally has background music, ambiance and sound effects. A few major publishers such as Harper Collins, Hachette and Penguin Random House experimented with the platform, but they only have less than ten titles that were developed. The vast majority of the 15,000 soundtracks that are available are royalty free and open sourced content, the type of stuff that is available on Project Gutenberg, not very compelling.
I think Booktrack is a dead technology, the vast majority of readers if they want to listen to audio, buy an audiobook. The global audiobook industry is currently evaluated at 2.8 billion dollars and this is primarily due to the sheer amount of new titles that were produced in 2015. 43,000 new audiobooks were released last year, which is a slight increase from the 36,000 that came out in 2014 and a far cry from the 20,000 that were issued in 2013.
According to a recent report by the American Association of publishers downloaded audio had the highest growth in the first eight months of 2015. The number of audiobooks sold increased 43.3% in August, compared to August 2014. This brings the year-to-date growth for this format to 37.8%, compared to the same timeframe in 2014.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and Verge.