Amazon wants your vote on which books to publish

Via the new Kindle Scout program, you could help decide which titles will end be being published by the retail giant.

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At the end of a 30-day voting period, the Kindle Scout team reviews books that have received the most votes.Photo by Amazon/Screenshot by Lance Whitney/CNET

Amazon e-book readers now have a say in which books will be published.

Launched on Monday, Amazon's Kindle Scout program provides excerpts of unreleased books. Your mission: Read the excerpts and vote on which books you think deserve a shot at being published and sold through Amazon.

You can nominate up to three books at a time to be published. New books are added each day, so you can check the site on a regular basis and update your nominations along the way. Currently, a variety of romance, science fiction, mystery and thriller titles are up for nomination. At the end of a 30-day voting period, the Kindle Scout team reviews the books that have received the most votes to help decide which ones will be published.

The books that garner the most votes aren't necessarily shoe-ins for publication. On its Kindle Scout Basics page, Amazon explains that "nominations give us an idea of which books readers think are great; the rest is up to the Kindle Scout team who then reviews books for potential publication." But clearly the votes will play a role in determining which titles make the grade.

If you happen to cast your vote for a book that does get published, Amazon will reward you with a free, full-length Kindle edition of that title one week before its official release. An Amazon video reveals more about the program.

"Amazon customers are passionate readers who have long influenced which books become breakout best sellers," Russ Grandinetti, Kindle senior vice president, said in a statement. "With the launch of Kindle Scout, readers now have an even more direct say in what gets published and can get free books and discover new favorite authors in the process."

Amazon is touting the process as not only involving for readers but beneficial for authors.

Kindle Scout shortens the time it takes for a book to be chosen for publication, according to the company, with the whole process from submission to selection taking 45 days or less. Author contracts offered through Kindle Press include a $1,500 advance, a five-year renewable term, easy rights reversions and the benefit of Amazon marketing. You will have to split the royalties 50-50 with Amazon. But independent and unknown authors may find the program a good way to bring attention to a new, unpublished book.

Writers intrigued about the Scout program can learn how to participate through Amazon's Submit Your Book Web page.

"For me, Kindle Scout is a potential way to get my work into the hands of new readers," author Steve Gannon, who submitted his book to Kindle Scout, said in a statement. "As an author who has self-published and self-promoted six novels, I view it as a chance to partner with Amazon on my latest novel, 'L.A. Sniper,' as well as an opportunity to take all of my books to the next level."

However, Amazon's reputation among many book authors took a hit this year due to the company's dispute with fellow publisher Hachette. Following its disagreement over the percentage of book sales that it wanted from Hachette, Amazon started playing hardball by removing preorders for Hachette books, delaying shipments and suggesting similar yet cheaper titles from other publishers.

As a result, a group of 900 writers including Stephen King, John Grisham and James Patterson sent a letter to Amazon in August opposing the hard negotiation tactics over e-book pricing and accusing the company of hurting book sales.

Amazon itself is also taking a hit financially. Last Thursday, the company announced a third-quarter loss of $437 million and revenue of $20.58 billion. Analysts had been eyeing $20.84 billion in revenue. The fourth-quarter holiday season is also likely to be a shaky one. Amazon said it expects sales this quarter to hit between $27.3 billion and $30.3 billion, missing Wall Street's forecast of $30.89 billion.

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