Novel Effect FAQs

for grown-ups who read with kids

Using Novel Effect

Find your book in the app, tap print, and set your device aside. When you hear the start chime Novel Effect is ready to follow along as you read aloud from your copy of the print book. Our patented speech recognition system will keep up with your personal reading style by following your pace and your voice.

Yes! To connect a Bluetooth speaker or mirror to Apple TV, first go to your device’s Settings, select Bluetooth, then select your device from the list of available options.

Within the Novel Effect app, select the book you plan to read aloud, then tap the ‘Connect’ icon at the bottom of the screen and select your connected device.

You can also use an auxiliary cord to connect your device to speakers through the device headphone jack or charging port.

Almost any Bluetooth speaker should work. They range in cost from <$10 all the way over $100 depending on how much amplification you need. 

For a bedroom, nearly any low-end Bluetooth speaker should work. 

For a classroom, you can get great Bluetooth speakers for under $20. A 5-Watt speaker produces enough power for most 25-student classrooms. 

At Novel Effect, we use the Lenrue Bluetooth speaker which is less than $20 from Amazon

iPhone or iPad: Some combinations of iOS devices and operating systems have noticeably low output volume. To correct this, visit the “More” section at the bottom of your app, tap “Test audio performance,” then follow the instructions.

Bluetooth Speakers: The immersive audio of a soundscape is best experienced when connected to a Bluetooth speaker, find instructions to connect your device and the Novel Effect app below.

General audio issues may arise for a variety of reasons. These issues might include no sound at all, or sounds that do not seem to change. Here is a list of possible solutions:

  • Make sure the volume level on your device or speakers is set to an appropriate level.
  • As you’re using a soundscape if volume indicator is consistently above the halfway point when you’re not reading, try minimizing the noise in the surrounding environment.
  • Make sure nothing is blocking your microphone so that Novel Effect can hear you read aloud.
  • Removing some phone and tablet case will improve microphone reliability.

We’re always here to help, contact customer support at

It works on some, but not all models of Chromebooks. Search the Google Play Store for Novel Effect on your chromebook, and if it is available, then it is compatible with your device. We will have an update coming soon to support all Chromebooks. 

Yes. If you’re using the same device to run Novel Effect and to read your ebook, first select the book in the app and tap print. Then, move the Novel Effect app to the background and open the ebook reader app.

On iOS devices, the red bar at the top left of your screen means Novel Effect is running in the background and will follow along as usual while you read aloud from your ebook.

If you are using separate devices, treat your first device as a physical book, and read aloud with Novel Effect running on your second device.

Novel Effect primarily works when you read aloud from your own copy of the book. If you don’t see an ‘ebook’ option, then you need to have your own printed book on hand. 

What is Novel Effect?

The award-winning Novel Effect app offers a library of interactive music and sound effects to enrich your regular storytime routine. When you read aloud with a child from real books, Novel Effect responds at the right moment, creating magical moments.

Download the Novel Effect mobile app for free in the App Store and in the Google Play Store.

Each book listing in our growing library is hand-picked by experts to meet the needs of diverse learners at every stage. Professional composers design the immersive and interactive music, sound effects, and character voices in our soundscapes, to match each book’s spirit and tone and to create magical moments when you read aloud with a child. See our full list of compatible titles.

We also provide voice interactive videos that guide you to read your lines out loud as they appear on screen to lead the story forward.

All content is rated for kids 12 and under.

Find your book in the app, tap print, and set your device aside. When you hear the start chime Novel Effect is ready to follow along as you read aloud from your copy of the print book. Our patented speech recognition system will keep up with your personal reading style by following your pace and your voice. Enjoy as your children giggle with delight! 

It’s the custom designed music, sound effects, and character voices that play in response to your voice to complement read alouds with popular kids books and poetry. Go behind the scenes with our soundscape designers.

Plans and discounts

For parents, there are 2 plans to choose from, Free and Premium

For teachers, librarians, and other individual educators, there are 3 plans to choose from, Free, Premium, and Classroom which includes a subscription for 1 teacher and 30 students in a single classroom. The Free and Premium plans for educators offer the same level of access with special pricing available for educators and librarians.

Family and Educator plans are available our website and through the app, which is free to download in the App Store and in the Google Play Store.

For schools, there are 2 plans, All Teachers gives access to all teachers within a school, and All Teachers and Students within a school. School plans are available through our website. Purchase orders are also accepted. Please request a quote here.

Free Novel Effect offers soundscapes for children’s picture books curated for teachers, librarians, kids and families. Each month, enjoy unlimited access to “free reads” and limited access to the soundscapes for other select books.

“Free reads” are always available to enjoy as much as you like. Look for the “free reads” banner on the book cover, or search “free” in the app.

For parents or individual educators, a Novel Effect Premium subscription offers unlimited access to our growing library of story effects for popular picture books, hundreds of in-app ebooks, and exclusive content.

The Classroom plan offers unlimited access to all Premium features and content for one teacher and up to 30 students in a safe and secure environment.

Whole School plans are also available.

Devices authorized by the teacher, or classroom account lead, as a classroom or student device are logged in anonymously – no personally identifiable information is collected. For maintenance and operational purposes some anonymized usage statistics are kept by Novel Effect, no data is shared with 3rd party providers.

Learn more about our Classroom Privacy Policy for Novel Effect Classroom subscribers.

Yes! In fact, special pricing for teachers and other individual educators includes summer months for free plus 20% off compared to our regular annual plans.

Reach out to us at We’ll see what we can do.

School & Library subscriptions are now available through the Scholastic Fairs Catalog. Log in and search “Novel Effect”.

NOTE: Only School and Library subscriptions are available through Scholastic Book Fairs, not individual (ex. Educator) subscriptions. 

Yes. To enjoy Novel Effect you’ll need a copy of the book you want to read aloud, either in print or as an ebook.

As a Premium subscriber, you get unlimited access to hundreds of ebooks right in the app. Some soundscapes may require you to read aloud from your own copy of the book.

On the free plan, enjoy a limited number of soundscapes each month with your own copy of the book. Some “free reads” are always available to enjoy as much as you like. 

Absolutely! Just go to Pass Quote – Novel Effect to request a quote. Then send us a copy of the approved purchase order and we will set up access while payments work their way through. 

We’re happy to help. Please reach out to

Technical Support

There are a few reasons why an error could occur. Check the specific error message to see if there is a reason provided. Then, if you are on wifi, try with cellular. 

The Novel Effect app is compatible with mobile and tablet devices. It’s available to download for free in the App Store and in the Google Play Store. For our voice-driven book experience we recommend devices running iOS 11.0+ or Android 6.0 Marshmallow and up.

For our video experience we recommend the following devices:

  • iPhone 6S
  • iPad (5th generation)
  • iPad Air (2nd generation)
  • iPad Mini (4th generation)
  • iPod Touch (7th generation)
  • Any Android device running Android OS 6 and up

Go to the email login screen in the Novel Effect app and tap the link to reset your password. After entering your email address, you’ll receive an email with further instructions.

If you don’t see the email, check your spam folder or contact customer support at

Our system uses voice recognition powered by Keen Research and other components to play music and sounds based on your personal reading style. 

Partnering with Novel Effect

We’re always adding to our library and support authors large and small! Contact our team at for details on how to get your books added to Novel Effect.

Absolutely! We’d love to talk with you about working with our platform. Fill out our contact form or email us at


In an effort to help educators and parents during school closures, a number of publishers or authors of books in the Novel Effect Library have relaxed restrictions for online readings and sharing. The majority of titles in the Novel Effect app now fall into this category.

For more information for a specific book, visit the publisher’s website for permissions and guidelines for recording, streaming, and posting read alouds of their titles.

For tips to record or share the best online read aloud using Novel Effect, check out this video.

Sometimes, firewalls on school’s wifi can block access to the app. If you are trying to sign in on the app and can’t, or you are trying to download a book and can’t, this may be the culprit. This issue can be solved by having IT add our list of backend services to the school’s allowlis

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