one of the things that publishing companies do now and that they could and probably would still would do, even if e-books cause the total demise of the bricks and mortar bookstore as we know it, is act as a filter
yes- everyone and his or her brother and sister could directly publish their e-book to Amazon but who would sort the wheat from the chaff? That is a service publishers do now even if we do not really think about it. Anyone can self-publish a book now but I do not believe I have ever read or bought one. I buy books published by publishers We count on publishers to sort through the crap and only publish the "best" stuff.
Sure a lot of crap gets published and a goodly amount of good stuff does not, and decisions are made on crriteria other than quality, like what's hot and sell-able, but basically we trust the established procedures and pick what we want to read by reading trusted reviewers and listening to other readers. - but it's generally stuff that has made its way through the maze of what publishers deem worthy, however that is defined.
Some way would probably be found for "publishing houses" to still exist in an e-world, simply as trusted filters, which "publish" and promote, so we have merely thousands of titles to choose from rather than billions
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