Amazon's pricing has been under cutting the entire publishing market and it has lowered the expectation of readers on just what the price should be.
A million times, THIS.
This is one of my biggest concerns with Amazon. It's frustrating to see Amazon reviews saying good things about some books, but then saying "would've been better if it were cheaper." And this is on books that are already only three or four dollars.
I read people who say ebooks should be dirt cheap because there's no cost. Seriously, there are people who think it costs NOTHING to produce an ebook. Aside from how cheap it may or may not be to produce an ebook, they don't even give a thought to the fact that the writer would still like to get paid for months or even years of work it took to write the book in the first place, not to mention the years of honing their skills before being published at all.
I think agency pricing can be a good thing. Price fixing is obviously a bad thing. Ebooks priced as much or even higher than paperbacks are obviously a bad thing. Eliminating the agency pricing model isn't necessarily, in my opinion, the solution. I'm still trudging through the mountain of info on the subject, so my opinion is open to change, of course, but I haven't seen any major indicators yet that agency pricing is any more responsible for expensive ebooks than the simple fact that some publishers are just greedy and stupid lol. Or that they're grasping at straws to stay afloat in a difficult market.
As someone who will be self publishing this year, I'm also trying to stay on top of these developments. I hate that Amazon can arbitrarily discount my book and that if they drop me below the 2.99 required for 70% royalties, it's too bad so sad for me. I'll have to suck it up and take my 35% with a smile.
I also see people comparing the publishing industry to other retail industries, grocery stores etc. Sure, a retailer can use a product as a loss leader to get people in the doors and buying the more expensive items, which is basically what Amazon does with books. But if the retailer's pricing strategy doesn't draw as many customers as they'd hoped, it's the retailer who eats the loss, not the supplier. There are some instances where retailers can charge back to vendors for certain reasons, but I'm pretty sure in most cases once the vendor sells to the retailer, that's it. Any subsequent loss or profit is taken by the retailer. I wouldn't mind such an arrangement in the publishing industry, or with Amazon and self publishers. I want to be able to set a fair price for my book, and not worry that Amazon can undercut me for no good reason. I don't think that's unreasonable.