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Amazon just launched a crowdsourced publishing program

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Amazon's new publishing program, dubbed Kindle Scout, launched today on the company's site, offering readers a new hand in the publishing process. Readers that sign up for Scout will be given a chance to review unpublished submissions and nominate which ones they think should make it onto the Kindle store. If a book gets enough nominations, Amazon will publish it under Kindle Press, giving selected authors a $1,500 advance, 50 percent eBook royalty, and featured marketing on Amazon.com and the Kindle store.

Given the huge number of readers scanning for new books in the Kindle store, it's potentially a great opportunity for emerging authors that make it through the process, and a chance for Amazon to gain more leverage in its ongoing feud with traditional publishers. At the same time, it's unclear how much support individual authors will get from the Amazon Store, and many authors have complained about a lack of marketing for digitally published books. Still, if Amazon can make the Scout program attractive to first-time authors and readers alike, it could have a major impact on which books make it to the Kindle.