Thanks to the generosity of bookish backers and press outlets from around the world, we hit our campaign goal in just over twenty-four hours.
We also hit our stretch goal, which will ultimately allow you and your favorite bookstores/libraries to try out the Call Me Ishmael Phone for free.
Follow us here for the latest news on this project, and if you would like to share a story about a book you love, leave a message at 774.325.0503.
The opening line of Herman Melville's masterpiece, Moby-Dick, is also the inspiration and namesake of our simple (and award-winning) literary website, CallMeIshmael.com.
Last summer, we created a way for readers around the world to leave voicemail messages about the books they love. Thousands of bibliophiles have called and over a million readers have listened to our library of stories, but until now, we've only been able to share the stories online.
The Call Me Ishmael Phone is a way to bring Ishmael's entire library to booklovers in search of their next great read. We’ve hacked a replica of a vintage payphone and created a new literary device that gives libraries, independent bookstores, and readers like you an entirely new way to celebrate and discover great books.
How does the Call Me Ishmael Phone work? Your local librarian or indie bookstore manager acts as a curator and assigns any of Ishmael's stories to their Phone. Curators use a simple web application, their venue's wifi and a printable sign to swap in a new sets of stories once per day. When visiting readers dial a button on the Phone, a beautifully bookish story plays through the Phone's headset. There are infinite ways to use the phone, but here are a few examples we've imagined:
- Stories from members of your bookstore staff or library
- Stories about books that take place in your town
- Stories about books by visiting authors
- Stories from local students
Curators can also press a mischievous button on the web application that makes the phone ring. If an unsuspecting reader picks up the ringing phone, a random bookish story will automatically play. Here's one of over a thousand stories you might hear on the phone:
We need the help of bibliophiles everywhere to make this project a success. Once the first fleet is launched, we'll be able to quickly scale up production and provide additional Phones to any literary venue that wants one. In fact, if we hit our stretch goal, we'll be able to allow your favorite literary venue to try out a Phone for free.
How can you help?
- Back this project at any level. (Check out the perks!)
- Share this story on social media, and be sure to tag your favorite bibliotecas, bookstores and bibliophiles.
Just like the Call Me Ishmael Phone, the rewards for this project are designed to give you a surprising way to experience your next great read.
Risks and challenges
One of the engineers helping us build this Phone, Andy Cavatorta, is fond of reciting this haunting adage: “Hardware eventually fails. Software eventually works.” We’ve worked with world-class developers on every detail of this Phone. You can set it up in a matter of seconds, and it's prepared to withstand the fingers and ears of curious readers around the world. However, your support is crucial in helping us continue to test, refine and iterate future versions of both the Phone and the drag-and-drop web application that powers it. The list of features we want to add is long... but that’s a story for another day.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)