After weeks of referring to their as-yet unlaunched crowd-sourcing program as "that thing", Amazon officially launched the program today with a name, webpage, and an invitation to authors to participate.
Pitched to authors as a way to "get your book in front of readers looking for the next great story" Kindle Scout is a hybrid publishing program which combines aspects of KDP and Amazon Publishing. Launched under the auspices of a new unit called Kindle Press, Scout enables authors to submit an unpublished manuscript (plus cover and related frontmatter).
Works accepted into the program will be posted for 30 days for readers to rate and review, and the best ones will be offered a contract to be published by Amazon. Curiously, Amazon is still asking for only the ebook and audiobook rights, but not paper. On the plus side, they do offer an advance and an explicit reversion clause.
Authors get the money and publicity, but readers don't go away empty handed. All of the readers who nominate a title which is later published by Kindle Press will receive an early, free copy and be invited to leave reviews.
Or at least that is how things are supposed to work; a check of the website reveals that Scout has not opened to the public yet; it is currently only accepting submissions from authors.
But Amazon has posted an example of what a Kindle Scout listing will look like when the program goes live:
Kindle Press marks Amazon's third foray into the publishing industry (well, fourth if you count createspace). KDP is a service provider, Amazon Publishing is a traditional publisher, but what exactly is Kindle Press?
I don't know yet, and I'm not sure Amazon knows yet either, but I think the distinct name is a telling detail that this is something new. It is definitely worth watching.