I hate to break it to “prestige” authors, but I’m not sure how they’re going to make it in the digital marketplace. The “prestige” folks write tiny little books about tiny little subjects dear to the tiny little hearts of great big publishers. They don’t sell many copies, but the publishers get the prestige of having said-author’s name and work (usually excruciatingly liberal) on their imprint. You see these books in small numbers in prominent locations near the front of the bookstore. You don’t see many people picking them up.
As the big publishers go the way of the dinosaurs, what does it profit them to spend scarce resources on money-losing prestige works? Already, publishers are trying to justify their very existence, in a world where authors can go directly to their audiences, without the need for gatekeepers.
What the Internet has done to the news industry, ebooks are doing to publishing — which brings us to the winners in this brave new world.