There are many variables being bandied about that are actually irrelevant: iPad, ePub, or piracy, to name just a few. None of these are really in a position to change the basics of the 1-2-3 punch I describe above. The iPad is not a particularly good e-reader, at least not in its current version, and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) will never have the power to shut off the sale of physical books to make a point the way Amazon just did.
One result of this riff: If publishers make less off of e-books (and Amazon makes more), even at $14.99, then publishers have less to give to authors, who are increasingly reconsidering their contracts (especially authors with big followings like Steven R. Covey and Paul Coelho) in light of new promises from Amazon to offer dramatically higher royalties for authors who work directly with Amazon. Hmm, smells like round two of this fight may also go to Amazon as well.