In an excellent post, Paul Samael makes the case for traditional publishers aggressively going into the ebooks market in an innovative way – sort of halfway between the Smashwords/Amazon approach of taking everything, and their own current way of only e-pubbing their own (relatively small) collections. They could be taking in a lot of submissions, doing a certain amount of filtering (think of how a great blue whale filters for feeding) and in that way claiming a genuine foothold in the new publishing industry. No doubt those they accepted through their filtering would have to go exclusive (or through the pubs into outlets like Amazon).
The plus side for writers would be the good ol’ stamp of trad-pub approval that’s so much craved. The down side is, what? More acceptance, less rejection, better filtering, less of a haystack.
Any other downsides one could see, for the publishers at least? Personally, I’ve got no horse in that race.