Dear Penguin, Bloomsbury, et al,
Have you considered creating a soundtrack to a novel? Not just selecting a piece of music that you play as you read, oh no, something a liiiiiitle more high-tech than that.
As I imagine it you will need the following: An iPad2 (or any ebook reader with a camera that points towards your face as you read the screen), some souped up eye tracking software, an ebook you really think is great, a composer to create the score.
How it works:
As you read the ebook the eye tracking software, unsurprisingly, tracks your eyes and lets the ebook reader know exactly whereabouts in the novel you are (down to the paragraph/sentence). Specific parts of the novel (‘a door slams’, ‘she screams’, ‘the rocket takes off’ etc) would have obvious sound effects, but the majority of the soundtrack would be aimed at building atmosphere (trees shifting in the wind, the hustle and flow of people/traffic in a city). Think of it like a film’s soundtrack or, better still, something put together by the BBC Radiophonic workshop for a radio play.
(N.B. Every so often as you read a book your eyes drift and you lose your place/have to re-read a paragraph, so the score would have to be simple enough to so that could be looped back without notice, depending on where the eyes flicked to. I’ll leave this to you to figure out).
Right, talking money. A custom soundtrack to an ebook, plus the software, would be expensive to produce. So, Bloomsbury perhaps only do it for Harry Potter (imagine the ‘zip!’, ‘zing!’, ‘woosh!’ of a wand duel), and Penguin, maybe trial it in Children’s Books (what sound does a Puffin make??) Et al . . . I’d recommend seeing how those two get on first or, failing that, I’d say start with the horror or fantasy genres.
That’s my idea, it’s yours if you want it.