Forbe's Sramana Mitra has some very interesting perspectives on Amazon.com's potential to help authors in the long run.
Mitra points out such things as:
Currently, book at $24.95, author receives around $1 -1.50 per book. If Amazon is acting as retailer, marketer, publisher and agent, taking 65% of the book, then author would get 35%.
Same book at $24.95: author gets $8.73 per book.
Lots of discussion of Amazon looking at vertical integration, pointing to BookSurge (see post over at Writer/Lawyer for more on that deal) ...
...best news from her article (emphasis added):
"Over the next few years, Amazon likely will use its power to build direct relationships with authors and gradually phase out publishers and agents. It will first go after the independent print-on-demand self-publishers and get the best authors from that world. Amazon will then take on the large publishers."
Makes that Amazon self-publishing company even more interesting to ponder ....