For each person who chooses to self-publish their book, the value they receive is directly proportionate to the effort they put in to write, rewrite and edit their book and then the energy they can exert to work for its market success.
In short, it can take a lot of time and energy to self-publish a book, but it can pay off and has for quite a few people.
I read an interview in Forbes of Guy Kawasaki, an entrepreneur and author of APE: Author- Publisher – Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book. I haven't read the book, but appreciated his quote below:
“If you gave me two choices – one where there’s a small group of powerful people who pick the winners and losers versus complete and utter anarchy where anyone can publish a book, I would pick anarchy, fully realizing that most books that emerge in this arena will be poor quality. The situation of anarchy and the lower barrier means that there will be some gems that would never have been published in the old world – true gems — and that makes it worthwhile.”
“Imagine a world where you couldn’t start a company unless you had an MBA. That would rule out Google, Apple, YouTube, Cisco.”