Amazon might have brought about the end of store front bookstores such as Borders. Now it might make publishers obsolete.
Who Needs Publishers? article details how Amazon is courting top authors and writers in need of self-publication who previously were locked out of book deals by New York publishers. I should feel bad for the publishers and probably the lost jobs down the road. Publication houses closing, agents losing clients, editors out of work if this trend gains speed.
I'm all for the economy gaining jobs rather than losing them, but I have long been frustrated (as I'm sure many other authors are) of the old gate keeping system that's become more rigid and impossible for new writers or unusual genre fiction to gain any foothold.
Yes, there's a lot of crap people write and send that probably shouldn't be published, but Amazon gives these writers a shot not only to self-publish but also bring it to a wide readership. More profits also go the author who did most of the work instead of a long series of middle men.
I'm not hoping for the death of publishing houses, but they need to be more accessible and competitive with Amazon by courting new talent rather than automatically locking the gates on them. If they do this, they risk these authors going to someone who will publish them because they are no longer the only game in town.