Lunch quotes Perseus CEO David Steinberger as saying that he "sees a giant wave [coming] where the book that has a more modest audience is going to reach people in a way that's more seamless than ever before."
Much has been written about self-publishing as an increasingly viable alternative to fruitlessly banging on traditional publishers' doors as they've become preoccupied with the "big book" for lots of reasons, some of their own making and some in response to marketplace pressures and profit demands of conglomerate owners.
Two things publishers brought to the table for physical books were distribution machinery and major media connections. If publishers can become as good at mining niche markets through online marketing for e-books as they became at distribution and major media for p-books, they could become once again a fertile ground where the so-called "midlist" or "niche" book can succeed and contribute to everyone's bottom line. Maybe there could be a renaissance of sorts, where publishers could return to a cherished earlier role of incubating talent rather than buying it at nosebleed prices that don't do the industry or the next crop of talent any favors.
Maybe others have had this thought - I take no ownership for its originality. It arrived, as I said, before my second cup of coffee.