Then there's the question of rights. For older books, the publisher may not have the right to use the cover art in an e-book. Granted, these would have to be much older books, as most publishers started asking for display rights a longer time ago than the Kindle has been around. These display rights are generally interpreted as allowing publishers to display the cover online or on the screen of an eBook reader. But if the publisher doesn't have those rights, it must acquire them or create a new cover. And new covers cost money.
Then there's the question of originals. Originals are books that are first appearing in eBook form and are not reprints of previously published books. And here the argument that eBooks should be cheaper and easier to produce than paper books really fails. To produce a quality eBook takes just as long and costs just as much as producing a quality paper book. Yes, you save some money on paper, printing, and binding. And you save some money on warehousing and shipping. But you incur other costs. But first let's look at the commonalities.
Both paper books and e-books require a huge investment in time and effort by the author. There is no difference there. Both require developmental editorial work. Someone has to remind the author that he's writing for an audience and not just him or herself. Both require copyediting and proofreading. Both require cover art and design. And both require a publicity and marketing effort. In all those areas, there is absolutely no difference between an original eBook and an original printed book. And when published by a traditional publisher, that process costs many thousands of dollars and all before even one copy is sold.
But e-books come with their own unique expenses in software and infrastructure or hosting. Adobe software, used to create e-books, doesn't come free. In fact, one copy of InDesign is $699. Add in Photoshop and other software required to create and edit e-book files and you'll easily be spending thousands just on the software.
Full story at HuffPosr