Since the beginning of civilization, humans have traded stories. While some stories teach lessons, others simply serve to pass the time. Families have read stories to each other by the light of countless fires and through this tradition, bonds have been made that cannot be broken. As we move forward into the digital world, the Novel Effect app serves as a wonderful enhancement to this time-honored tradition.

The idea for Novel Effect was created in 2015 when Matt and Melissa Hammersley were expecting their first child. In honor of their literary-themed baby shower, the couple received a simple gift from a close friend. While reading On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman, their friend, Toby, accompanied her reading of the book with sound effects. As everyone at the party was captivated, the husband and wife knew they had found something magical.

Matt and Melissa worked to create Novel Effect, a voice-guided app that would follow along with the reader and play accompanying sound effects, bringing the story to life. Following a relocation to Seattle and an early partnership with retail giant Amazon’s Alexa Fund, the couple appeared on ABC’s hit show, Shark Tank. Fielding multiple offers from their appearance, they eventually decided to continue the partnership with Amazon. As of May 2018, Novel Effect managed to raise $3 million in funding and in addition, win a Webby Award for ‘Best Integrated Mobile Experience.’

The 5-star rated Novel Effect app is compatible with mobile and tablet devices and is available as a free download for either iOS or Android operating systems. Since the Shark Tank appearance, over 50,000 downloads of the app have been made. Currently featuring over 250 books with soundscapes, the company is constantly adding more! Users can either read along with their own copy of the book or have access to a library of e-books. Popular titles include: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Cat In The Hat, Guess How Much I Love You, and even poetry titles such as The Cow by Robert Louis Stevenson.

Whether you are a parent, caregiver, or teacher, Novel Effect will make it easier for you and your child to come together around a book and share a memorable moment.


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