Last Thursday I had the opportunity to speak to someone from Simon & Schuster, and asked his side of the story on the issue discussed in the previous post, about their contract revision.
His argument was that the writer's business is to write and the publishing company's business was to make sure that writer got published and got the money from their writing, and that was what they did, to put it simply, and wanted to continue to be able to do (Most publishing companies do stay in business because of their backlist).
The main group that raised issue with S&S was the Author's Guild, which he said was heavily associated with agents as much as actual writers. Eventually they did reach an agreement, which led to a re-revision of the contract, which said that if S&S was failing to make a certain amount of money for an author by publishing their book per year, the rights would then revert back to the author. It was a high amount for author royalties, too, something over a thousand dollars (which, by the way, the majority of authors will not see in a year). In other words, if Simon & Schuster fails to do its job in selling the book, the author can get out of contract and seek publication elsewhere.
The issue remains complicated, but there are two sides to every story, and that was one of them.