Just to be clear, making some minor corrections of typos or even changing a cover do not count as an edition. They are talking about a full update with new or revised material.So in other words, if I wanted to use my own ISBNs it is not only about editions (changes in the text since I would want to follow correct standards) it is also about formats.
Of the four people I know from message boards who have had breakouts in the last year and gotten on the NYT or USA Today bestseller lists, they have all had a mishmash where some had an ISBN because a store required it or not. Two were picked up by publishers, one pursued hard enough that they negotiated to keep their ebook rights and sold only the print rights. YMMV obviously. The key is they were well written, well timed, and were selling enough that trade publishers couldn't ignore them.Wouldn't it also be something a publisher would notice if a self-publisher was selling a ton of books be it hard copy or digital?
I think the issue is ebook vs. physical book, not so much who publishes them. Physical books are generally ordered, not automatically pushed to retailers, usually going through a distributor chain. Ebooks are generally distributed by push from the publisher and tend to dwell within a retailer ecosystem with no middle-men.Just goes to show how unprepared the publishing industry was for this. Obviously they never expected self-publishing to take off the way it did.