I was going to name this blog "Digital Rape of Publishing". Then I realized it would make me seem like an insensitive jerk.
I recently read a blog by author John Scalzi on the news that Random House has a new electronic subsidiary called Hydra. He wrote that this new company is offering contract terms that are not beneficial to new writers. It is important to note that these writers are probably not represented by agents.
Here is his blog post to which I am referencing. http://whatever.scalzi.com/2013/03/06/note-to-sff-writers-random-houses-hydra-imprint-has-appallingly-bad-contract-terms/
As he aptly stated, this model is borrowed from the music industry and these so called costs are often inflated, and in some cases, fabricated.
Unfortunately, I think this kind of thing is going to continue. As an example, Amazon has it's own film studio, but what some people may not know is that they have both a WGA and a non-WGA signatories. This often exploits new screenwriters that have yet to receive their WGA card, for the deal they receive is not in their best interest.
If a reputable publisher wants a writer, and offers a writer those kind of terms, why would said writer consider it?