The NY Times now has their editorial board writing a piece here accusing Amazon of "bullying tactics" in its contract dispute with Hachette. The editorial seems to elicit comments from people who don't understand very much about the current state of publishing:
HeyNorris says: "When good literature is not available where 40 percent of books are sold, the public interest is not served."
Good literature--like the books of James Patterson? The large publishers publish books they think will sell, period. Amazon has opened its store to thousands of self-published authors that the Big Five wouldn't touch--many who explore niche subjects or fiction that doesn't easily fit into current popular categories.
Amazon also gives authors a much bigger share of royalties (70 percent vrs. 17 percent) than big publishers. The really interesting question is how long mid list writers will continue to subject themselves to the big publishers' confiscatory terms. Many have already jumped ship and publish independently with Amazon, and other online bookstores.