TechCrunch and the Bookseller have a report on Book Country, a new social-media spinoff project from Penguin, aimed at providing writers and fans of original genre fiction (romance, thrillers, fantasy, and SF) a place to post, discuss, and get reviews of their work. Would-be reviewees are required to read and review at least three other works before they can start getting reviews of their own.
The Bookseller calls it a slushpile. TechCrunch is a bit more kind, suggesting it’s a way that people can get discovered. Either way, it seems to be Penguin’s first attempt to co-opt the self-publishing revolution that Amazon (and to a lesser extent Barnes & Noble) has exclusively owned so far. Reportedly it will allow actual self-publishing at some point, too.