George R. R. Martin recently launched a campaign to raise funds for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and a local food bank charity. (Local for him, anyway.) The goal is $200,000, and as I write this entry he has raised $144,000. (I don’t know how long it’s been open either, a few hours, perhaps?) To encourage fans to donate money, George is offering a range of prizes: from the script of the first Game of Thrones episode–signed by the cast and crew (already gone!) to t-shirts, to George’s familiar/never-without-it hat. The highest prize (donating $20,000) will land you a role in one of George’s books. He promises you will be killed off, but the character will be named after you and you get to decide the character’s station/career. (In example: peasant, knight, lady, etc)
Considering George will probably pull in much more than the goal, I think what he’s doing is pretty neat.
In a similar vein, for those of you who haven’t heard, Reading Rainbow launched a kickstarter campaign about 10 days ago, aiming to raise $1 million to make a Reading Rainbow app. Within 11 hours the campaign met it’s goal. The goal has been reset to $5 million. There’s 26 days left, and they’ve raised $3.5 million.
According to this article–an interview with LeVar Burton, who apparently has the secret to eternal youth based on the fact that he looks exactly the same as he did 15 years ago–there already is a Reading Rainbow app available for ipads and Kindles, but they want to improve the app and launch it into realms like the internet and classrooms, giving it universal access. LeVar also plans to give away Reading Rainbow products to 7,500 classrooms, and will meet with the Department of Education to talk about which classrooms could most use the products.
There have been some outcries over the kickstarter–most notably an article in the Washington Post. The Reading Rainbow app costs a monthly subscription, and will be a for-profit organization. Some complain that in a time where people are more concerned with teaching kids to read, a show that tries to foster a love of books is too lavish or luxurious.
My personal take on it? Luxury or not, what kid will want to learn to read if they don’t see the point to it? Plus, as an author, I can’t say I’m surprised about the for-profit bit of the app. Publishing companies do not cheaply lend out their books. You can bet Reading Rainbow has to pay for the books it features.
So…What do you think, Champions?