Only special, literary grade electrons are used in ebooks, not those lowly electrons that make your lamps work, make microwave ovens go "buzz...", or used to post utterly pointless threads. For quality electrons, you have to pay the equivalent price of paper and ink and glue and stuff.
Actually, you can blame Apple for this--they forced/coerced the publishing companies to adopt the "agency" model of distribution. Prior to the agency model, retailers-such as Amazon--could sell the book for whatever the retailer wished, including selling the book at a loss if they so chose. The Apple agency model ment selling ebooks at full retail suggested price (Apple reportedly received a 30% cut/commission). This model of selling led to price fixing allegations, and both the US Dept of Justice & the European Union began an investigation, accusing Apple of antitrust violations. See: http://news.cnet.com/8301-13579_3-57412369-37/this-is-why-doj-accused-apple-of-fixing-e-book-prices/. The publishers have, largely, agreed to a settlement. That should parlay into reduced book prices soon.
I don't think I've bought a book at hardbook since I have had my original 2nd generation Kindle, about 4 years. The prices do come down after they've been out for awhile. Most of the books I have are free ones also.
Thanks everyone for your thoughts on this. I don't mind paying a fair price, it just frustrates me when both versions cost the same and then there are issues in the electronic version (like the page numbers are messed up, words are misspelled, the wrong word was used or parts of sentences are in there twice - all things I've seen). Unless someone shows me the actual breakdown I will never believe that the cost would be the same between the two options. Plus with Nook (don't know about Kindle) you can only lend the book once. Basically at this point I only buy E-books that are less than the physical copy - this keeps me from getting too frustrated ;) Thanks again everyone! Merry Christmas
Aside from publishers saving the price of paper, ink and glue, they are saving the labor costs of printing and binding, the cost of warehouse overhead and of course the cost of distribution to the various retail outlets. They also save the costs on losses when more books are published than will sell. These savings are significant and it's a shame that the publishers can't pass on at least a dollar or two of savings to the consumer who opts for an electronic copy. Publishers have hugely benefited from the popularity of e-readers.
I understand about it costing in the neighborhood as a hard copy, since there are royalties to the author to be paid, and the cost of bringing it to market. However, there is no actual physical copy to produce, no shipping costs involved and they should cost less. There might still be some marketing involved, but even that would be less than a hard copy, or paying an author for a book tour.
Yes, someone had to get it ready for e-book, but honestly, in this day and age, it should be a matter of transferring to a different format. I seriously doubt that anyone these days is setting up metal type by hand for a book to be inked and printed, then bound, then sold. It is most likely already in an electronic format of some sort.
Some enterprising programmer has probably already made software that can change a book from hard copy format to e-book format. If they haven't, they should! Even if e-books were being typed and formatted by someone from scratch, there is a ONE TIME labor cost (and I wish they'd hire me for that job!) to get it ready. They don't always do a good job on them either. Prices should definitely be less than the hard copy version. Aside from the materials themselves that are not required, it would be better for the publisher too to sell more e-books at a lesser price than a few at a higher price.
Sort of like the post office making some really stupid marketing decisions over the last 2-3 years, someone at the head of the publishers unions (if there are such things!) or whatever group which makes standards for publishing better take a reality pill, and realize the direction things are headed in, and adjust to go along.
While I don't mind that much the prices being the same, or a little higher for some ebooks, the fact you cannot share them with your friends, as I do with hard copies, is a deal breaker for me most times.
Since you don't see the advantage of eBooks, it's a good thing that you don't read eBooks.
It would be really stupid if you read eBooks, but don't appreciate them more than paper books. After all, you might have to pay more for them, considering all the advantages of eBooks over paper books.
ETA: Of course you can share eBooks. Even if they aren't lendable, you can add friends & family to your account & they can register their Kindle/App on your account & you guys can share any & all eBooks on the account.
You can also lend people your Kindle - some people have bought an extra Kindle, just for that purpose.
So, it's not that you can't share, it's that you have chosen not to share your eBooks.