A small group of people on a select email list have received the following as a pdf (it downloads -- I think -- as a jpeg). This group includes publishers, classic authors, and a library buyer.
The drawing is a very basic model for correct use of the print-on-demand systems.
You will notice there are no distributors, warehouses, or taxable inventory, and that prices are very little over wholesale, for both customers and retailers. If the author chooses, no publisher is necessary.
Books don't go out of print unless the author makes that decision. Books are printed on acid-free paper. No one handles the books except the POD printer, shipping company (UPS, USPS, etc.) and the end buyer. Payments are tracked automatically and delivered monthly to payment sites (for example, Paypal). Accounts are always available to the author.
(Don't attempt to fit this model into the 18th-century book distribution systems we've all been using. It has no relevance to those systems.)