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Amazon Launches Kindle Scout, Asks Readers to Help Pick eBooks to Publish

kindle scoutAfter 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 Launched under the auspices of a new unit called Kindle Press, Scout enables authors to submit an unpublished manuscript (plus cover and related frontmatter).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 scout demo

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.

Kindle Scout

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Ebook Bargains UK October 14, 2014 um 11:14 am

What is Kindle Press? The nearest move yet to predatory publishing by Amazon.

Identify anything that looks remotely promising – after the author has done and paid for all the work editing, covering, etc – and hand over $1,500 to keep the work off rival platforms for the next five years.

The fact that Amazon has its own publishing imprints but chooses to keep these titles out of them is telling about what promotional benefits the authors are likely to receive.

Indies would be far better off just going Select, keeping control of pricing and promo, and with a 90 day rolling exclusivity that they can walk away from.

If a trad publisher was to offer lousy royalties – 35% list before Amazon take their little extras like delivery charges, etc – and a rights grab like this for digital only, sitting on world language and audio rights for half a decade while offering no print, there would be uproar from the Amazon cheerleaders.

Timothy Wilhoit October 14, 2014 um 12:08 pm

Yep, just terribly predatory. Five whole years, that’s almost as long as the two lifetimes the tradpubs con from their writers, isn’t it?

fjtorres October 14, 2014 um 4:48 pm

It’s not for those entrepreneurial enough to go Indie but for those that need the validation of a publisher contract and an advance 35% on 5 year cycles is a wee bit better than 25% on life of copyright.
And if they do well enough to find takers for the print rights Amazon won’t gripe.
Beats the newer "industry standard" contract where they grab print rights but don’t guarantee a print edition.
Looks like a halfway house for tradpub refugees… 🙂

fjtorres October 15, 2014 um 3:11 pm

I’ll bet some of these folks wouldn’t mind a Kindle Press deal over what they now are stuck with:

fjtorres October 15, 2014 um 3:13 pm

And then there is this:

Nate Hoffelder October 15, 2014 um 3:35 pm

I was reading about that over at Teleread. It’s fucked up.

fjtorres October 15, 2014 um 4:10 pm

People signing tradpub contracts seem to forget that they’re not guaranteed much of anything in return for giving up… well, pretty much everything.

Nate Hoffelder October 15, 2014 um 4:32 pm

And these were some pretty awful contracts (life of copyright, no reversion, all rights included), too.

Ben Sobieck October 21, 2014 um 1:48 pm

I just had my crime novel accepted into the Kindle Scout program. There’s a vetting process prior to the launch of the campaign. You can check out my reasoning and preview the campaign page Amazon built for me on my website,

Nate Hoffelder October 21, 2014 um 1:50 pm

Thanks for the heads up!

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Laurel February 6, 2015 um 3:38 pm

I came across your article and my book is on Kindle Scout now. This is my first attempt at writing a book and I don’t know what I am doing so Kindle Scout is a good starting place for me. It doesn’t cost to post the book for nomination. I like that it doesn’t cost and the set up–except for the cover is done by Kindle Scout. The instructions were easy to follow even for a first timer. If you follow this link you can read the first 3 chapters of my book. If you like it, please nominate it for publishing. Thank you!

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