How is it possible for the "mash a tree up into pulp and dehydrate it and put ink on it and glue it together" version to cost less than the "ones and zeros" version which can be duplicated almost infinitely, almost instantaneously, and at almost no extra cost?
I realise no-one wants to hear this argument, but I'll repeat it anyway: books are different from music. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the cost of printing and shipping books accounts for 12-13 per cent of the shop price on average (a long-established cost pattern, not something recently concocted by publishers).
And as I said in a separate post, in the UK, ebooks attract 20 per cent sales tax, whereas printed books are tax free. Therefore, logically, ebooks should all be more expensive in the UK than printed books. But they're not.
I do think publishers are terrified by the ebook market and its implications, and they are making some bad decisions (e.g. the agency agreement, which can't last long as it's essentially price-fixing). But I don't think current UK ebook prices suggest we are being ripped off.
There are certainly examples of bizarre price anomalies, but that is down to the agency agreement which some publishers have implemented, so the Amazons of this world cannot discount ebooks, but continue to discount printed books. In the EU at least, the agency agreements are likely to be ripped up sooner rather than later by the lawmakers.
If EU book buyers want to get angry about something, I suggest they get angry about the fact that sales tax is applied to ebooks.