There was a reason for the rise of the great publishing houses of yesteryear — not everyone could afford a printing press. That gave power to those who could afford them: the power to control what books were printed, and what books were not. The criteria publishers have used to make that decision have varied, according to the fashion and politics of the time, but the quality of the book itself has rarely, if ever, been the primary consideration.
There has been no need or reason for publishers to be wardens of our culture for at least a decade. Today, anyone can be a publisher. Where a few Goliaths once stood, now there are a thousand Davids. People who pine for “gatekeepers” and who sneer at ebooks simply because of how the book was distributed… it’s just sad. It’s like an ex-convict who can’t handle the outside world and wants to return to prison.
A good book is a good book, and a bad book is a bad book, and how the book reached the reader has no bearing on that whatsoever. I feel a great swell of pity for the poor soul who wants other people to control which books he may read and which he may not.