A couple of other points, if you can bear it (authors do tend to go on and on about eBooks, so forgive me). The price of printing a book is only a small part of the cover price. Editing, production design, maintaining offices and warehousing and distribution add a bit more. A large chunk goes to the end seller; much smaller chunks go to the publisher and author. So the idea that eBooks are much cheaper to produce because they aren't physical objects isn't exactly right; although they are somewhat cheaper, new books still have to be edited, given cover art and so on. As for the price difference between hardback and paperbacks, at the moment, some people are still willing to pay extra for the latest book by their favourite authors, just as they're willing to pay extra to see a film in a first-run cinema. That will change, I think. (it would also be nice if hardbacks in the UK were all printed on acid-free paper, to give them the kind of permanence of US editions.) At any rate, OOP titles revived as eBooks should definitely be cheaper. Some are very cheap indeed - presumably in the hope that what's lost per unit will be made up in greater volumes of sales. Not sure I want to go there quite yet.
One commentator raised the point that people below a certain age expect books to be free. As I'm well above that certain age, and still earn my living from writing and selling fiction: I don't. And I still buy books at full price, when I have to. But if it's free fiction you want, then look here. There's a small anthology's worth of free stuff. And you're welcome to distribute under the terms of the Creative Commons License. Think of it as a gift, or as a taster for stuff you can buy. Whatever.
PS Chris asks why the Confluence trilogy isn't back in print. Good question! I'm trying to persuade my UK publishers to do just that. Hopefully in one nice fat volume. And failing that option, I do have the eBook rights...
UPDATE: Again, thanks for commenting; thought I'd reply here rather than under the fold. Various people have given me cogent reasons not to simply stick with Amazon/Kindle. My plan now, such as it is and if I go forward with my idea to self-publish those OOP collections, would be to use Kindle as an experiment, and then go to the more open format ePub format, which appeals to me because it is supported on all kinds of platforms (including Stanza, which I use), and I think gets around the licensing problem . . . but it looks like it'll be a steep learning curve. RFYork - thanks for the link to Charlie Stross's blog post on why books aren't cheap and to talkie_tim and Blue Tyson for supporting arguments : exactly. And here are a couple of good posts on why pirating books hurt the author rather than sticks it to the 'greedy publisher'. I especially like Saundra Mitchell's suggestions for ways that the problem can be turned around to help the reader and the author. More news, when I have it. Don't hold your breath, though; I have one book to edit, and another to write, and I'm seriously short on the kind of Victorian can-do energy that enabled Charles Dickens to be a novelist, a magazine publisher, and a smash-hit performer (and killed him, in the end...).