I have books with quite a few publishers, big and small. Generally the smaller ones are better at communicating with their authors, but one of the big boys has just launched a service that gets them a good, solid 8/10 on getting communication with authors right. The publisher in question is Random House (I have a couple of books with Transworld, one of their subsidiaries) and they have just launched their 'Author Portal'.
For each book you get this kind of control panel:
You can look at numbers shipped or sold as recently as what happened next week - usually with a publisher you have to wait 6 months to get data that is way out of date. There are details of sub-rights editions and more. And there is that most shocking of publishing business numbers - the opportunity to compare shipped and sold (as books are generally supplied sale or return). All in all a brilliant picture of what is happening to your book.
And that's just the start. The author portal also allows you to buy any Random House book with a 50% discount, and gives access to those interesting articles the Bookseller usually blocks to people who don't subscribe to the magazine - plus various other goodies.
It's not perfect. There's plenty more that it could do. But the fact remains this is a really exciting development in publisher/author communication, and all publishers could do to take note.