Nearly weekly, but likely more often, the trade news (publishing industry) has an article on the price of ebooks.
Usually the blog or article is stating that ebooks cost nothing after they are posted and should, therefore, be priced extremely low. (Keep in mind the distributor needs to make money to keep their company running so the ebook is available in the first place.)
Obviously those people haven't written a book and don't think an author should make any money on it for the life of the work. That is about like saying a museum should only charge a person once in their life to view an exhibit. How many people donate to their favorite museum to pay to keep the lights on and the doors open?
The reality is that any book, ebook or paper, has to support the author and the business that published it and it won't do it in one sale. It is a bit-by-bit process and a huge gamble that X number of copies will sell to pay for the expense to publish it.
Even with ebooks, a company has to continually keep the lights on and pay people to manage the records...at the bare minimum. (And if you are a writer, you want the company to be able to afford the resources to publish your book with its funds.)
If that company needs to upgrade or replace broken equipment and pay ever increasing taxes, how would that work out with only charging the actual expense of an ebook(remember that ebooks have to pay the distributor too).
I love what I do, but I do want to point out that products, including books, have to support the "manufacturer." Each book is like creating a new car - it requires company resources.
That is my take on why books cost money. And remember the publisher and the author get nothing from books lent to friends and family, or sold at garage sales. The business model, especially in this world economy, has to not be a charity (business is in business to make money).
History judges a society more by its arts than its wars. As people, we tend to expect arts to be gifts, yet understand that war costs money. Consider this, between Sparta and Athens, which still exists?
Until now, I've kept my opinion to myself. I think it is not likely that anyone would go to their job every day and get no paycheck. Something for nothing doesn't sustain the economy. What's your opinion on this?