Blogger and author John Green has caused a bit of a dust-up with his argument about publishers needing to change their thinking, letting go of the blockbuster model, focusing less on increasing advances, and instead focusing more on raising the royalty rates they offer authors, especially first time novelists. He compares publishers to mortgage brokers and practically shrugs at the segment of the industry that refuses to change their business model, suggesting what they do now is simply unsustainable.
I do not foresee big, corporate publishers letting the blockbuster idea go. With the loss of editors in the last year, maybe competition for books will die down and there will be less in-house competition for new projects, at least. Green's advice, however, is useful for smaller, independent, more nimble publishers who benefit from consistent, steady lists, with longtime partnerships with authors.
Green et al are up against the publishers who scream, "You have no idea what publishing a book actually costs - trust me!," and who end their argument there. Then there are agents who say, "We... er, YOU deserve more money, author!" But there are also publishers, editors, agents, and authors saying they want something more longterm and reliable