"Enter Unbound, a British effort to “crowd-fund” books. Visitors to its website can pledge money for a book that is only part-written. If enough money is raised, the author can afford to finish it—and the pledgers will get a copy. Having launched in May, the firm announced its first success on July 18th. Terry Jones, of Monty Python fame, has secured the funds to finish a book of quirky stories. Handsome edited volumes and e-books will follow."
Needless to say, what appears as something absolutely new already has in the Wikipedia a nice definition and article on crowdfunding which takes it back to the 1990s.
Why the hyphen? I've eliminated it from my spelling of the word, because I do that, as do others.
And go on, send Terry Jones the money if you feel like it, although the book is well on the way. I loved Erik the Viking, and he's written other nice books too, mainly for children. You can read all about it in Wired, and listen to their podcast and interview with the author.
Read all about it - you can discover not only a new publishing trend, Sherman Young's blog, The Economist (as always, invaluable), this blog and, in due course, Terry Jones's new book.