One argument against indie publishing is that if you’re an unknown, readers will never find you. The counter to that is if you’re an unknown, the chances that you will get a publishing contract are vanishingly small. Does it make more sense to keep submitting for years in the hope that you’ll eventually hit the jackpot? Or does it make more sense to self-publish and sell at least a few books, while building a readership and a reputation?
Argument for traditional publishing: acceptance by a publisher is validation. It proves the worth of your writing. I won’t belabor the question of worth. We all know how much trash is published via traditional routes. The real question is which is more valuable: validation from publishers or readers? No publisher can guarantee you a readership. If your work appeals to readers and they buy it, then that’s your validation.
Cream rises to the top. But so does anything that’s capable of floating, including shit. Just because your books are wonderful, that doesn’t automatically mean that you’ll make it as a writer. First, there’s the hard work of writing. Second, there’s the hard work of promotion. That’s the modern reality, even for print books from established publishers.
If traditional publishers see the light and make a mass move to ebooks, will that make self-publishing less important? No, it won’t. The same constraints will still exist for writers: finding a publisher, settling for a very small piece of the sales pie, losing control of your rights to your work, seeing your books go out of print and not being able to do anything about it.