The previous article
he links to shows an interesting view of publishers' perspectives on ebooks:
As you are probably aware, Amazon is selling most eBooks for $9.99. That is already roughly half the price (depending on the format) of the typical physical book.
No, that's roughly half the price of the typical hardcover-or-trade
book, averaged out. Not half the price of the typical paperback, which is how most avid readers consume books. (Some because of price, and some because of portability; carrying three novels for a weekend trip is a lot easier if they're not hardcovers.)
And as this article noted,
Anyone who produces anything digital that was formerly physical knows digital is cheaper. A website is cheaper than a newspaper. A digital version of a video costs less to deliver than a tape. An e-book costs less than a physical book. Anyone suggesting otherwise, like this publishing executive, probably has a dog in the fight.
Ebooks are cheaper to produce. A lot cheaper. Even allowing for all the extra hassles of digital QC and multiple formats. If they weren't, the handful of authors who've had runaway success with self-published ebooks would be eking out pennies, not paying off mortgages.
The cost difference between producing 10 copies of a paperback and 10 in ebook format may not be substantial. The difference between producing 1000 of each is tremendous. And big publishers, unlike special-interest publishers and individual authors, don't produce books that they think might only sell 150 copies.
If ebooks really cost about as much as paperbacks, the publishers would be releasing info showing the cost-of-production broken into fixed and variable costs, not charts that combine all the costs
together for a title... that still shows them making 60% more profit on ebooks--after they pay the author.
If publishers want us to believe ebooks cost "almost as much" as pbooks, they can say what percentage the author royalties are for a sale run of 5000 vs 20000 ebooks, OR they can list the price breakdown for mass-market paperbacks. Funny how they don't want to pretend those exist when they do cost evaluations.