I think some of you are confusing multiple issues. One issue is Amazon's supposed "rip-off" of customers by charging them [here fill in amount that is more than you think Amazon should charge ] for ebooks, and presumably the same ripoff by all other sellers of ebooks for [more than what you think their price should be]. A second, admittedly somewhat related, BUT DIFFERENT issue is having to pay for both a hardcopy and an ecopy of the same book.
Two things on the price issue. First, although when ebooks first become somewhat popular I too expected them to be vastly cheaper than hardcopy books, because, hey, I no longer need THE BOOK, much less the costs associated with printing, warehousing, and shipping it. However, after reflection, I came to the same mindset as that Tomfoolery expressed in his thoughtful 03-18-2010, 12:05 PM post. He is dead on, on all aspects. In particular, folks who think that ebooks should be "vastly" cheaper fail to consider the cost structure of the underlying products, and the impact a massive price drop would have on most authors and the overall business of providing good books to the masses. See, e.g.:http://www.tobiasbuckell.com/2010/01...le-via-amazon/
(in particular the query "$9.99 is really expensive, you suck. eBooks should never cost this much" and the immediately following discussion)http://seanan-mcguire.livejournal.com/201803.htmlhttp://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight...48.html#396969
Second thought on pricing issues. From a personal standpoint I find the belief that, if the seller is charging more than you want to pay, screw them, I will go download it for free on the internet, revolting. People right, edit, proofread, market, illustrate, etc. etc. books for their living. When you steal one (and it is theft - you are taking the fruits of the labor of multiple people and refusing to pay them for it), you not only harm them, you also harm all the other authors, etc. whose work is supported by the better selling works. The profits from hits such as The Da Vinci Code allows publishers to publish unknown or simply less well-selling authors. Stop claiming that because something costs you the equiv of several Starbucks or a movie or two that gives you the right to steal it for free.
The other issue - different from the flat out "how much should ebooks cost" point - raised by myapplelove and Clive above, is a good one though - why should you have to pay twice for both a hardcopy and an ecopy? Sure, it makes sense to pay twice if you want two actual hardcopies - but what is the additional cost of an ecopy over a hardcopy? (Well, actually, there is the cost of converting the file to .lit, and Kindle, etc. formats and re-proofing it, but that cost presumably isn't huge.) In fact, Amazon's whispersync, which automatically syncs your books over your Kindle, iPhone and computer, allowing you to read the same book from each, certainly cuts against the idea of having to pay separately for each different reading experience. I've thought for a while that purchasers of hardcopies from Amazon should have the ability to also purchase an ecopy, for a vastly discounted price. E.g., if I buy a new hardback on Amazon for $23.99, I should have the opportunity to also get a Kindle version for another, say, $3.00. If I buy a paperback for $10.99, I should be able to also get a Kindle version for another $2.00. To me, that is a win for everyone. Authors/publishers/Amazon get a (hardcopy) book sold, and they also get a few bonus extra dollars - which if this approach is a hit will really add up. Customers win, because they can get ancillary Kindle versions for the price of a cup of coffee. And I suspect far more people will check out and appreciate ebooks at that pricing.