The Pricing Struggle over E-Books
In a recent move in the ongoing chess game between Amazon, maker of the Kindle, and the Publishing industry, Amazon has agreed to a scheme under which the publishers would have a say in the price of the e-books and retain 70% of the proceeds. That's a major shift. The publishing industry is under pressure to prove it deserves a piece of this pie and in the long term it will be the consumers who decide. E-books are not going to go away, and should be cheaper because they do not have the production costs, such as binding and printing.
One major thing that the publishers do bring to the table, however, is quality control. While self-publishing is big, there is not yet a good mechanism to screen out the good from the bad, other than the open market, which is not good enough. There is quite a lot of shake-out yet to come in the publishing industry and its relationship with ebooks. Here's an article on the topic.