The crowds are playing an ever-growing role in industries of all shapes and sizes, and publishing is no exception. Regular Springwise readers may recall Belgian comic publisher Sandawe, which relies on the crowds to select and fund new titles, and recently we came across UK-based Unbound, which applies a similar principle to the publishing of new books. Founded by three writers, Unbound aims to give people who love books — primarily readers and writers — a say in what does or doesn’t get published. Toward that end, it lets agent-recommended authors pitch their ideas on the site; included at the same time is a target number of supporters necessary to launch each idea. Varying support levels are possible — ranging in price from GBP 10 to GBP 250 — with benefits including access to the author’s private section of the site all the way up to launch-party invitations and a private, post-release lunch. All supporting fans get their names published in the back of the book; credits also reward those who recruit new supporters. In any case, if the target number of supporters is achieved, the author begins writing; if not, supporters can either get their pledge refunded in full or switch to another Unbound project. Unbound, meanwhile, serves as both a funding platform and a publisher for crowd-selected books, fulfilling all the normal publishing functions but also splitting each book’s net profit 50/50 with the author. A video on YouTube explains the premise in further detail. By shifting control of the book selection and funding processes from publishing executives to readers, Unbound is following in the footsteps of numerous other crowdfunding efforts that have emerged in recent years in advertising, social enterprise, music, conservation and software, to name just a few. Keep the crowdfunding initiatives coming!