This isn't really anything new. We're starting to see it more and more, and if you think about it for a second it makes sense: once an author has shot to success on their own merit, a traditional print publisher can benefit from the massively reduced risk in taking on a new author, while the author takes on the benefits of a support from an established marketing and distribution business.
After being rejected by literary agents for her novel Catch Your Death, British writer Louise Voss decided to self publish her book in the Kindle UK Store. Voss priced the eBook at £0.95, which helped it shoot up the Kindle charts, which in turn caught the eye of a major publishing house.
I just hope the terms of her contract are much more favourable than is traditional.