As an author (and a user of content), I'm very, very afraid.
My perspective is that this category of initiative, including O'Reilly's Safari initiative, will ultimately be bad news for everyone. It will be bad news because, in my experience being an author and knowing lots of authors, most authors are barely hanging on financially. There is a pervasive management perspective that "content creators" (by which I mean authors, tech writers, SOFTWARE DEVELOPERS, and so on), are commodities. Interchangeable cogs. Stacked on top of that big bowl of wrong is the notion that you can get everything you need by Googling. I fear that those two forces will drive a lot of content creators out of business, and that will mean that everyone will be forced to use substandard content.
Spot false dilemmas now, ask me how!
(If you're not on the edge, you're taking up too much room.)
I think that eBooks can come down in price without hurting authors because eBooks are cheaper to distribute and they don't have to be printed either, which should make them cheaper too.
I would also like to see eBooks being distributed to poor countries. Right now, some books cost a minimum of $37.00 just for US Postal Service Postage.
What if we could buy poor kids around the world a general-purpose laptop for about $200.00 each? Each laptop could have a personal library for each student which would consist of many books each at a very low cost per book.