There's so much going on in the Publishing World, with Amazon now entering that field as well, and authors being offered new choices to get past and/or avoid completely the NYC 'gatekeepers'. As Ilona Andrews points out, if this takes off - as, lets face it, it most probably will, this is Amazon after all - Amazon will be well on its way to creating a monopoly in which agents, editors and publishers are no longer needed, and will therefore no longer be in charge of putting out quality work or negotiating the best possible contracts for authors.
I believe that is a downside for the readers, who buy the books and (are allowed to) expect the best possible quality. Which, if it fails to deliver, will not turn said readers into the fans and auto-buyers an author needs and hopefully wants. In the world of books and publishing, it all comes down to the reader. It's the reader who buys the books and ultimately pays every worker bee of the industry their wages/royalties/pollen-to-make-their-honey. No matter what publishing looks like at any given time, that will never change.
Change is inevitable and should, in my opinion, be encourageed, but all changes the publishing industry faces and goes through revolve around this one fixed point, the reader. Where no reader, a.k.a. buyer, there no industry.
Which ties in to another recent post by agent Rachelle Gardner, that in future it will be progressively up to the authors to make sure their product is the best it can possibly be, without several editorial rounds overseen by experts. This means authors won't be just the writers of the story anymore, but will have to be their own editors as well. To an extent, they already are, of course, but I haven't heard of any author who dislikes having an expert go over their work and give their invaluable advice.
Of course, as an aspiring author myself, this publishing deal Amazon is building is something I might look into. It's one of the many options an author has these days of getting her work out there and I believe it's not one that will end up on the preditor-list of Preditors and Editors.
So what am I trying to say, exactly? To be honest, I'm not sure. I was just trying to get my thoughts down on virtual paper, to figure out my opinion, but in the end I believe what it comes down to is this:
Change is hardly ever as extreme as the prognosis makes it out to be. I don't believe Amazon will become so powerful a monopoly that all other publishing houses, editors and agents not involved with them go the way of Bobby Brown. I think a lot of authors themselves are cleverer than not considering them and leaving them out of the publishing process. As it is with everything, a balance must be found, and, because the reader is the focal point - not Amazon - and because displeasure has a way of surfacing quick, fast and hard on the internet these days, I believe it can and will be found.