The latest advancements in multimedia book-reading incorporates audio and visual in new and creative ways. And, if you’re wondering why… It’s more a question of: Why not: Or: why not sooner?

Since each of us reads in a different way, disparate combinations of audio, video and silence work best (as background sound) for each of us. So, what’s so great about the latest news in books and technology? Why would you want to listen while you read?

  1. Many readers already love listening to music while they read. It helps set the tone, and can even offer added cultural significance to the reading experience. (For example, you can listen to Celtic music, as you read a story about Ireland; or listen to patriotic tunes while you read The Red Badge of Courage.)
  2. While I don’t agree with the CBS News story that reading “needs a reinvention,” the experience of reading is such an individual choice. We don’t all read (or learn) in the same way, and sometimes, we need a little elaboration to jazz up an experience–particularly if it’s become stagnant.
  3. In an age when so much is technologically based, the process of including music with the digital books feeds our need to “geek out” our reading experience. For some readers, the simple act of reading is just too “boring”–they need more interaction, something more to think about (even a bit of music to hum, and carry with them through the rest of their day).
  4. It’s also a way to reach the kids. It’s possible that they may not enjoy the music and other sounds associated with the book, but then again, it may be the very thing to enchant them with the reading process. If we really want our kids to become better readers (and thus more capable thinkers and writers), are we willing to do anything–even pimp out their digital books–just to get them to take another look at the page on the screen?
  5. And, yes, this goes back to the Pew Study, which indicates that nearly a quarter of Americans now prefer reading electronic books. Is it such a giant leap to imagine that we’ll all enjoy the addition of the sounds and music to further enhance the written words.

As book geeks, we’re often enchanted by variations on a theme of the tradition versus the electronic versions of the book, but there’s also a danger that the sounds will become more distracting than helpful, and that reading comprehension skills will also be detrimentally affected.

Do you personally look forward to exploring more audio-visual resources for books? Or, do you cringe at the possibility of being bombarded by sounds and music, while you only wish to silently read a good book.


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