HarperCollins, the book publishing company owned by News Corp (NYSE: NWS). is launching its books social networking site called Authonomy (finally, a great name for a relevant social network), with the intent of using it to discover new and unpublished authors, and hoping the community will vet these manuscripts and ideas. The site is launching in UK for now, after three months of private testing…it was announced late last year.
While HarperCollins is not promising book deals, it has committed to read the 10 top-rated submissions to Authonomy every month and hopes other publishers will also join the site, reports FT.com. Authors of any genre can upload the first 10,000 words or more of their bestsellers-in-waiting, though it remains to be seen whether it can build in checks and balances to prevent any unauthorized or pirated use, or even any allegation of people lifting off ideas (though that can be true of any community site online).
This continues the relatively frenetic pace of activity in the books social networking space, where Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) bought book social network Shelfari and majority owns a rival LibraryThing, though HarperCollins’ effort is more about finding new authors than about existing books/authors discovery. Also last month, Peguin rolled out PenguinDating.com, with online dating site Match.com, with the idea of matching book lovers to become, well, lovers.