Amazon launched the Kindle Scout program with the goal of letting readers identify the books worth publishing, and as I look through the first crop of authors selected for publication I can see that Amazon has gotten very lucky.
With the first titles announced on 26 November, Amazon has so far chosen 13 books from Kindle Scout to publish under its Kindle Press imprint (more details here). All of the authors have written multiple books before submitting their latest work to Kindle Scout, and most have gone the traditional route at least once.
Of those thirteen books, ten are by authors which I can confirm have a book with a traditional publisher. Most had been published by small presses, but at least three had been published by major publishers, including Random House (Bantam and Ballantine imprints) and Gale (via its fiction imprint, Five Star).
I am pointing out these details not to suggest that the traditionally published authors are better, just that for one reason or another Amazon isn't running too many risks the first time around.
In exchange for a small advance and reasonable royalty, Amazon will be publishing the books digitally and (for some titles) as audiobooks. The authors retain the print rights as well as other rights to the books.
Amazon hasn't announced a publication schedule, but the first books should be out early next year. According to author William Bernhardt, his book The Game Master "should be available in about a month".
Amazon only opened Kindle Scout to the public a couple months ago, so that is rather fast compared to most publishers, some of which will accept a book and schedule it for publication over a year in advance.
All in all, it's too early to say where this will go. But one takeaway for today is that support among authors for Kindle Scout is as strong as the first author comments suggested it would be when I broke the news back in September. Even successful authors were willing to experiment with the program.