Walt is right that many of the problems we see today are the result of corners being cut and the e-opportunity viewed as nothing more than a way to squeeze a few more dollars out of the investment we already made in the print product. That's OK to a certain extent, but for some publishers that's their entire e-strategy.
Here's the fundamental problem I have with this: As long as customers view these products as cheap copies of the originals they'll never even achieve the same value as the originals. So if that's your strategy, get used to the $9.99 ceiling because it's not going up.
Cleaning up the conversion process is important but it's not going to change the $9.99 ceiling either. What's really needed here is a fresh look at the way content is designed, acquired, developed and produced in the e-world. And as a visitor wisely commented recently elsewhere on my blog, this issue will become even more important as ebooks become a larger percentage of the overall book market. All that overhead and fixed costs found throughout large publishing houses simply can't be supported if the industry switches to a $9.99 model.
Ebooks won't become 50% of the market overnight, but the percentage is growing and isn't likely to stop. There are a couple of options here. Publishers can get leaner and meaner as they adjust to the new model or they'll choose to invest in the future and start building more compelling eproducts and eplatforms. The ultimate winners will attack both of those fronts.