I just had a thought (funny - I seem to be having a lot of those at the moment). The bit that's missing - conveniently from my last post on this subject is the question of print books. Ebooks are all well and good BUT they do leave something to be desired.
For example, I hate reading Robert Rankin in ebook form because of his use of footnotes. After reading a page you sometimes realise there's a footnote there which you missed the anchor to. So you go back and find that anchor and read the footnote in context. The ebook version: you find a link, awkwardly place the cursor over that link and then follow it. Duokan - the alternative Kindle interface - lacks the ability to go back to your place. Kindle itself does allow you to go back. But how many footnotes (jokes) do you then miss?
And when I grow up i.e. get a place of my own, I really want a library. A room dedicated to reading. Bookshelves that are a dusting nightmare fill of volumes. I really like books. Browsing a person's bookshelf is a treat - a way of getting to know them.
So printed books have their place. They're important. So what if such a website also offered a sort of "Kick starter" programme? The author could chose to take a risk in offering a printed copy. People could then pledge to buy a copy when/if available. If more than a certain percentage of the total printing cost is pledged, the author can then chose to have the book printed. There'd have to be something about a timeframe in there. i.e. if demand is high enough that the book reaches a targeted pledge amount within a week then there is less risk to getting the book printed than a book that takes a year to reach a target pledge amount.
If anyone wants to "steal" the idea for such a site - go for it. An acknowledgement or a few thousand dollars when you make your first million would be nice...