The brainchild of three writers John Mitchinson, formerly MD of Waterstone's and inventor of QI (we've chatted to John before), Justin Pollard and Dan Kieran, Unbound launched at the Hay Festival with the backing of authors including Monty Python's Terry Jones.
So how does Unbound work? At heart, it's a simple kickstarter model: Authors pitch book ideas. Readers pledge support for those they like. Donations range from £10 a pop through to funding the whole book. When an idea has enough supporters, the book is written.
Depending on the amount invested, rewards for those making donations range from e-book downloads and personally dedicated Unbound First Editions, to invites to the book launch party and lunch with the author. Unbound and its authors take a 50/50 split of all profits.
In addition, supporters are kept up to date throughout the creative process via the author's private area or 'shed', where they can read the author's blog, watch interviews and meet other supporters and the author themselves.
The founders say: "There are lots of great books that we're not getting the opportunity to read. Unbound democratises the book commissioning process by enabling authors and readers to make the decisions about what does or doesn't get published."
Interestingly, Unbound has been launched with the support of publishers Faber & Faber, which will sell and distribute trade editions of selected titles under an Unbound imprint.
It's encouraging to see existing media embracing the emerging and looking at what it can add to and not detract from its own offering. Likewise, it's a smart move by Unbound to forge a partnership that bridges its innovative model with a tested revenue stream.
You can visit www.unbound.co.uk to watch the first author pitches and to make a pledge.