Books and eReaders are evolving together
The article quotes Kobo's spokesman: "The next step," Cameron told us: "Is to form a meaningful social community around people's e-book browsing and purchasing habits — the ability to 'tweet', add notes, and share passages, for starters."
It might be Kobo's next step, but the Kindle already has that ability. You can opt to see what passages others have highlighted, or tweet your own highlights. I find that it's really not something I want to do, though. I think nonfiction readers might be more interested in that kind of functionality. I just want to read the story.
I agree that who will be the "middle man" is an important question. Another is, do ebooks need a middle? Tech savvy authors could really produce their own books. There might not be a uniform business model in the future. But I think the real potential for books morphing is seen on devices like the iPad where a book can be an app. I should hope novels would survive pretty much as they are, but nonfiction and children's books have the potential to evolve into something that's not really a book.