Booktrack, a startup out of New Zealand that creates soundtracks to accompany e-books, has raised another $5 million in funding to make sure that reading is no longer a quiet activity.
Led by COENT Venture Partners and Sparkbox Ventures, the Series B round brings Booktrack’s funding total to $10 million. Previous investors include Peter Thiel’s Valar Ventures and filmmaker Peter Jackson’s Park Road Post Productions.
Booktrack launched its first two tracks on the app store four years ago, and today the company offers a library of 15,000 titles to its 2.5 million users.
Each booktrack — think movie soundtrack for your book — consists of music, ambient audio and sound effects that automatically sync with your reading pace as you tap through the pages of an e-book.
Book publishers can either create their own soundtracks, or pay Booktrack around $1,000 per novel to create the track for them. According to founder Paul Cameron, around 50 publishing companies including Harper Collins and Random House are using the platform to generate a new revenue stream from both old and new titles.
“There are so many ebooks gathering digital dust on digital shelves, and we can bring them to a new audience of readers,” says Cameron. “We’re able to get the Xbox, Netflix and Spotify generation interested in reading again by pairing it with another main form of entertainment.”
The real value of Booktrack, which seems a bit intrusive and unnecessary to readers who prefer to use their imagination, may be in the classroom. Cameron says that students reading with bookracks read for 30 percent longer, on average, and score 17 percent higher on reading comprehension tests.
Currently, over 12,000 schools worldwide subscribe to Booktrack Classroom, which lets students access existing booktracks, as well as create their own.
“Reading is the only mainstream entertainment medium without synchronous sound,” Cameron says. “You don’t go home and watch TV with the sound all the way down.”
Whether Booktrack is building the future of reading or merely pandering to a tech-obsessed millennial generation is yet to be determined. The company will use the new funding to expand its library of titles and continue rolling out new features for soundtrack personalization.