The new program, called @author, lets Kindle users highlight a passage and then ask the author a question about it via their Amazon author page or Twitter. Only questions as long as 100 characters can be asked from within the e-book itself, but more in-depth ones can be posted to the author’s official page on Amazon.
Of course, only a handful of questions will actually be answered directly by authors, but other readers are free to chime in (or http://chime.in) and offer their take. If the writer does respond, readers will be notified by email.
It is a step toward a book culture that is increasingly author-driven rather than one driven strictly by publishers or even necessarily books.