I heard an item on Radio 4 a while ago about enhanced eBooks. Andrew Motion described how a soundtrack had been created for his book Silver, the sequel to Treasure Island. From what I could gather it was background/ambient noise that was added – so if a scene was set in an inn, there’d be the sounds of people talking and tankards chinking or whatever, or a chapter in a storm would have fitting weather noises. I had contradictory responses (often the way with me – I blame the Libran brain architecture). On the one hand it was an amazing idea technically and artistically to add that aural texture, and on the other why would I want anyone ‘interfering’ with my reading by inserting some interpretation between the word and my imagination? A book demands so much of us as readers, we actively construct our view of the characters and action, the setting and atmosphere, filling in the spaces that a good writer gives us. (That’s why an adaptation of a book we love into film or TV often frustrates – because it can never be how we imagined it). However Andrew Motion argued studies show that enhanced eBooks actually improve the engagement of the reader and that they remember and retain even more of what they’ve read than someone reading a ‘normal’ book does. It’s probably not fair to say more until I’ve tried it for myself. But it makes me wonder what’s next. Smells? Texture? Taste?