I realize that in this debate I am a tiny minority of one, but I am quite resolved to remain so.
What you all - especially Bowerbird - want is some majority rating system, like what is used by Zagat for restaurants (I stopped trusting the reviews when I went to one too many poor restaurants), where what I look for is a publisher (Farrar, Straus; Pantheon; the old New Directions) and a reviewer whose taste I trust and I use them as guides. Self-publishing has been around a long time, and I am yet to read even one self-published book (given or lent to me by its author) that showed me that the publisher made a mistake. Good books have a way of getting out: Nabokov's Lolita was turned down by one American publisher after another, but there is generally always one (here, Putnam, which I know you will all denigrate, because it publishes only what sells, as if that were some kind of evil) who will "discover" the obvious.
You will not convince me, nor I you, but time will certainly tell.