Here is a discussion about the future of publishing and writers.
Already, in the world, on the Internet, there is enough free media to take a man from cradle to grave. We can watch non-stop free movies and videos, listen to non-stop free music, play non-stop free videogames, and NEVER run out of free content for our entire lives.
And yet movies, TV, videogames, music, along with books and porn, continue to make billions of dollars worldwide. Even though all this free stuff already exists.
While the future will no doubt offer more free content, the whole "race to the bottom" is fear-mongering BS.
Newsflash: We're already at the bottom. And artists are still making money.
Granted it's a complex issue, but I think there are many good points put forward in this article. There's no evidence that advances by publishers is the only way authors can make a living. In fact I've already heard of many writer who have only gotten affluent after starting self-publishing digitally. I don't know exactly how many, and I doubt anybody have collected reliable statistics on it yet. But it's clearly enough to be at least strong anecdotal evidence.
We should not forget that also before e-publishing, it was only one book in thousands written which got published, and only one in thousands being published which made good money. I heard the statistic of 200,000 books traditionally published annually in the US, and only 300 of those selling more than 50,000 copies! That's less than one in fifty.
And while, if you were one of the few chosen to be taken under the wing by a publisher, sometimes they gave important support, they also take a big, big bite of the cake. And they often take 1.5 years to put out a book. All the while I'm told from many sources that these days, they don't even promote the book most of the time, they expect the author to do that.