Nico Vreeland has a great article in Chamber Four about this topic. He quotes author Douglas Preston as saying:
“The sense of entitlement of the American consumer is absolutely astonishing,” said Douglas Preston, whose novel “Impact” reached as high as No. 4 on The New York Times’s hardcover fiction best-seller list earlier this month. “It’s the Wal-Mart mentality, which in my view is very unhealthy for our country. It’s this notion of not wanting to pay the real price of something.”
And then he goes on to point out:
The problem with this isn’t that customers are “entitled” to think they should get ebooks cheaper. The problem with this is that no publisher has yet advanced any logical explanation as to why the ebook editions SHOULDN’T be cheaper than the hardcovers. The burden of proof is on the publishers, and they haven’t convinced anybody.
This is exactly what publishers don’t understand. Remember that famous letter the CEO of Macmillan sent out about the Amazon dispute? It was send to "authors, illustrators, and literary agents", but who is missing? The consumer! Not one word did John Sargent address to his ultimate customers. Does he not care about them? Probably not. He, like many publishers, still consider the middleman – the bookseller- as their customer. With that attitude how can they ever expect that their readers will give them any respect or credibility.