What does a book scout do? One book scout says, “Agents almost always submit a manuscript to more than one editor, and if that manuscript is good the editors who want to acquire it have to compete for it, both financially and by reputation. The same is true among international publishers—and film studios—who want to buy rights to the best American books. It’s competitive, and we help make sure the companies we work for know about the books that might interest them. In the best cases we can even position them so they have the first shot at something and get to read and make an offer before anyone else. The easiest way to understand it is as a consulting role—we’re our clients’ eyes and ears in New York, looking out for their best interests, keeping our finger on the pulse of the book world.”
You can read more about books scouts here and here.