I just posted this comment on a friend’s Facebook status update, and I thought it worth posting here. Once upon a time, it was impossible to get a self-published book into bookstores: shelf-space was at a premium, and stores wouldn’t risk the chance that a buyer might select a truly terrible book and never return.
Amazon changed things because they had, essentially, infinite shelf space. What’s more, the internet has “caveat emptor” written all over it (in invisible pixels) so Amazon didn’t have to worry so much if this book or that one was illiterate.
New distribution options meant a change in the way the business works, and that’s the end of Yog’s Law (“Money flows toward a writer” or: “Don’t pay to have your book published; write a book that others will pay you for the privilege of publishing.”) as a useful guideline.