Roland, I'm right there with you on the point that the industry has been absolutely HORRIBLE about effecting change in this manner. They're absolutely causing this to happen to themselves. People want product, and if that product doesn't exist (especially because it's forced NOT to), they're going to create work-arounds, legal or otherwise. And yes, digital distribution is most definitely cheaper. That's fact. There is also price gouging in the digital marketplace. Paying $14 for a classic book, especially one that's been around since the 1930s is absolutely ridiculous, and yet that's what's happening. It's also part of the reason for the lawsuits for this very thing against publishing's "Big Six".
There is absolutely bitterness over this, and that leads to more piracy, because hey, screw the man for forcing it on us. It's somehow seen as a viable strategy, though, which completely baffles me. Actually, no, it doesn't completely baffle me. It's a result of short-sighted business strategy to milk everyone for as much as they can, with piss-all thought to the long term health of the industry as a whole. We're currently seeing the book industry construct an almost exact replica of the horrible, predatory contract practices the music industry saw a decade ago. Here is the link to a number of posts by SFWA President John Scalzi's thoughts on that, starting with the post from March 6. They're well worth a read. A little off the subject of piracy to be sure, but they do paint a disturbing visual that indicates where big publishing may be heading. Hint: movies and music a decade ago. And that affects piracy. A lot.