Edit: Maybe I will read a book with advertisements in it. In a sense, I've already done it. Cory Doctorow's _Little Brother_ and _For the Win_ both begin each chapter with "bookstore dedications". This wasn't advertising they paid for, but something he did on his own. Not only did I not find it intrusive, but I found it sort of endearing. There's a lot of unexplored territory in the field of advertising.
There was a recent submission that touched on this: http://jakonrath.blogspot.com/2010/01/booty-call.html
> Who financed the authors previously?
I was referring to the wide world of midlist authors who make a living writing books, but don't get filthy rich, and who couldn't get by without advances from publishers.
Advertisements was just an idea for a possible revenue stream in a future where people are no longer willing to purchase books.
This option lets same writers, though more so the ones who already have a fanbase, have an alternate choice from fighting through finding a publisher who will take your book.
Actually, I wonder if kickstarter, or perhaps something similar but designed specifically for fiction, could work as a method of testing a market for the viability of a book to be published in eformats.
Still, the bit about Amazon now giving 70% of e-book revenues directly to the author for books priced between $2.99 and $9.99 does strike me as tempting. That could be a real gamechanger for books with an expected readership in the thousands. Does anyone have any experience with this scheme?
I don't have experience with Amazon's self-publishing system, but I can tell you about how one recent author published on Fifobooks (my startup) even though his book is also available on the Kindle store. The book, Crude Behavior, is a political satire in comic form. Because it is in full color, the author and illustrator wanted to make it available on as many devices as possible, especially ones that support color. His book, when viewed on a color device (iPad, android, laptop, etc.) comes alive compared to how it looks on a b+w Kindle. You can see some screenshots here: http://joubert.posterous.com/crude-behavior-a-political-sati...
The single biggest problem we have is promotion.
The music is easy by comparison, as bands play concerts all the time. Authors can't book more than a few readings to promote, placing books in stores is almost worthless when the author is unknown.
The publishing industry will have to change quite a bit before the big players are replaced. Promotion and marketing along traditional media is locked up pretty tight, and online increasingly so. Remember that for every great book we're selling there are hundreds of books from crap to gold hyped by professional promoters with more money, connections and experience.
It's rough out there.