Paul Carr has an excellent post on Techcrunch regarding self-publishing and being damned. I agree with him in his analysis that this is going to be certain career suicide for the less famous author. Seth Godin has a following that means he has a market and I suspect that a fair amount of the followers who try self-publishing do not. Not to say they cannot get it, just that they may not have it already.
A friend of mine who is in publishing is thinking of quiting citing that it is horrible at the moment. I’m trying to get back into it as an author (having worked in sales and marketing for a small publisher and as a bookseller) and have just submitted a manuscript to an agent. Whilst I see the model for publishing changing (but quite into what I don’t see yet), I see publishers as important but I do wonder whether the time of large publishers might be temporarily up. They might need to either swallow up smaller publishers (like Harper Collins or Rebellion), become huge (Hachette with Random House, Orion and Headline), or perhaps get smaller or disappear (nobody I can think of yet).
In her Guardian article, Ursula MacKenzie argues that publishers do play a role. Whilst she might be overstating the case, there is room for the traditional publisher but as I’ve argued before, that role will change and the type of book published will probably change.
Self-publishing might work for some people but not for others.