I was talking to a friend yesterday about the future of publishing; he thinks that self-publishing is the wave of the future. It occurs to me now that there's one important reason that publishing may not follow the indy-music route: artists have no way to make money off their writing except their books.
But this article, on why it takes so long to publish a book, suggests the pressures that are pushing towards such a model. Books are published a year or more after they're turned in, and that's because of the sales cycle, not because that's how long it takes to get into print. Once Kindles become more popular--and everyone I know thinks the Kindle is not very good, but is nonetheless the wave of the future--pounding a book into a slot in Barnes and Noble will become a much less valuable activity.
But who will be the publishing industry's Pitchfork? And what will subsidize the editing process?