While Amazon expands into new areas like food delivery, the e-commerce giant has continued to look at ways of expanding its original, legacy business of selling books. In the latest development, the company announced that Kindle Scout, the company’s crowdsourced publishing platform that launched in October 2014 in the U.S., is going global. Amazon says that authors in “Europe, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Mexico, Brazil, Japan, India and more” will now be able to submit books for voting and potential publication — although Kindle Scout will remain limited to English-language titles.
Kindle Scout lets authors submit never-before-published manuscripts of novels to be considered for publication. Then readers can read excerpts of the books and vote on which ones they would like to see published. A team of editors at Amazon then has the final say on which ones make it through to release via Kindle Press, the company’s publishing imprint. The sweetener for readers to scout out interesting titles is that they get a free copy of the book if it ends up getting published.
The Kindle Scout program is useful for Amazon on two sides of the equation. It gets power readers and Amazon users talking about books that they may like to see published, and it provides feedback for Amazon on what those customers want to see published. On the other hand, it’s also a useful way of sourcing original reading content for Amazon’s Kindle platform, one way that Amazon has been trying to bypass the traditional publishing industry and the revenue sharing that goes along with it.
“Expanding our platform to authors and readers outside the U.S. has been one of the most frequent requests we’ve received since we launched. With today’s announcement, we’re eagerly awaiting the great new stories that will come from opening to even more talented writers and Scouts from around the world,” said Dina Hilal, General Manager of Kindle Scout.
The company says since Kindle Press was launched, 75 titles have been selected for publication (with the first coming out earlier this year), and there is some evidence that the crowdsourcing is proving to surface books that people like to read, with average reviews of 4.48 stars from 2,709 reviews.
There is no data on how many books have been sold in total, but at least one, Eddie and Sunny by Stacey Cochran, became a Kindle Top 100 Best Seller, Amazon notes; and two authors — Sariah Wilson, author of Royal Date, and Jennifer Skutelsky, author of Grave of Hummingbirds — went on to get book deals with Amazon Publishing in the wake of their titles getting published by Kindle Press.
Kindle Scout contracts are based around 5-year (renewable terms), and authors get a $1,500 advance plus a 50 percent eBook royalty rate, easy rights reversions and featured Amazon marketing, the company says. Eligibility and other guidelines are detailed here.