Sorry, lost the thread.
With e-books becoming more dominant and less money coming into the industry, the bookstores die (they're already highly marginal now). With bookstores' death, so go the publishers (after all, any established author will make more money from self-publishing and now the *one* (incredibly important) thing the publishers offer - shelf space - is gone).
With publishers gone, we all essentially become slush pile readers. The books are nearly free, but the constraint is *time*, not money, and with the publishers gone, we're now looking at instead of 1 in 10 new books being decent, we're looking at 1 in 1,000. And quite frankly, there's movies and Angry Birds on our e-book readers that have a much higher payoff rate.
Established authors do okay, but the discovery rate of new authors drops like a stone. Sure a handful get discovered each year, but the current book industry discovers thousands each year. (Where discover means they are distinguished enough from the crowd to have a *chance* at success.) As there are fewer and fewer new authors making it (but more and more authors writing for at least a generation while writing is culturally relevant), the signal to noise ratio keeps dropping.
Even worse, businesses realize that while selling books doesn't make much money, selling services to desperate authors makes a killing. If you are browsing to find a new author you know nothing about, Amazon currently shows us the top 1,000 or so books from mainstream publishers, with a few self-published in the mix. At some point, it makes a *lot* more money by showing us the top 1,000 books from the authors willing to pay the most.
And unfortunately, unlike mainstream publishers, who invest in a book not because they love it, but because they believe it will be what you want to read, would-be self-published authors aren't buying advertising based on the books quality, but on their own personal resources.
Amazon, et al. will make a lot of money for decades even as the book market to readers collapse.
Of course, old favorites won't disappear. They'll be a handful of new discoveries each year from self-publishing. Enough that books won't be "dead". But the idea that book reading will become marginal enough that it's cultural significance will essentially be irrelevant.
i.e. like poetry.