But....alas, the big houses can't see this. I mean, come on. I'm not a marketing or economics major, and even *I* can see this. And yet they don't. They're up on the top run and think they know more than we do. And I can understand why. They've been at the top too long and reality has become a bit clouded. I've been on both ends of the spectrum, and have seen the full picture. I was also schooled in business economics by some very brilliant people who knew their stuff and knew how to maximize profits without even trying. And the simple solution was, "Take care of the customer, and your employees, and everything else will take care of itself." And you know what? That has yet to be proven wrong.
Of course they can see it. They are not idiots. They also see a short term opportunity for big profits and in a way who can blame them. It is a capitalistic system after all.
Still it is unethical IMO for the publisher to charge the same price as they would for printed material and not give the author a bigger piece of the pie.
I'm not sure I think it's unethical to share ebooks with the same reading circle I'd share print ones with (although my reading circle is four or five people, not ten!)
I don't see it as anymore unethical/illegal for you to lend a copy of your ebook to a friend than for the library to do it.
Copyright protection started mainly for books to protect the author. It seems to have evolved to a point where the author gets the least protection (profit).
Unlike the film and music industries, book authors can produce on their own. Granted the publicity and copyreading supplied by the publisher is of value, but how much.
When enough authors retain digital rights to their works we will see a major change in the sysytem.
When enough authors wake up to the fact that they can exist without pulishers, but that publishers cannot exist without authors it will be a brave new world.
Moral considerations aside, the only reason to pay money for a book (I am suggesting nothing illegal here as you can borrow from a library quite legally) is to keep the authors writing and to reward them for providing you with information and/or pleasure.