"I can't imagine online publication in any way replacing physical production of a chapbook -- there is little worse than reading poetry online, as the monitor burns your retinas and your e-mail comes in to distract you. (And I say this after having edited an online journal for nearly 10 years.)"
Fair enough. For me, online publication has mostly replaced physical chapbooks and it has replaced most of my pre-book publication in general. As you may recall, I do a fair amount of scanning and uploading of books by now-forgotten female modernist poets. Let it be said also, I purchase no books which are in the public domain, because I can get them online. I have divested myself of my Milton, Shelley, etc., because I need the shelf space, and I can get anything I want online. I kept the Colerige notebooks, because I can't get them online -- or at least couldn't five years ago. I prefer to review from .pdf, rather than from codex. I pursue print publication mostly because the NEA still wants evidence of it. BTW, I print them out if I like them. And I have assigned *lots* of online chapbooks in college courses I've taught.
"You make some good points about dumping all your money into self-publication, but saleability aside, I prefer books of poetry to be short."
Again, fair enough. I prefer books of poetry to be "worth it" in some way, but frankly, if it is less that 50 pages, it is not "worth it" to me to purchase. Also, my own shelf space it so limited, i.e., I have so many books, if it doesn't have a spine, it gets lost in the shuffle. I just put all the chapbooks I own (including "In Padua" by Kimberly Lyons) in a box in the attic. If I have time, I shove them in books by that author to keep track of them.
"Or, I suppose, I prefer them to be what they are, to have a single "piece" bound together, making physical the idea that this is the beginning of the thought and this is the end. Collections are a necessary evil but I always wish I had just the single books of Jack Spicer rather than the Collected Books."
And I prefer to have the collected books, although I have another book or two of poems not in the collected books. I must say, I don't hate compilation albums, either.