As authors who used the traditional publishing route, we've learned all too quickly that everyone else makes money for our work, but we make very little. This adds to the problem.
We earn less than $1.00 royalty per book sold by a bookstore. The bookstore probably makes about $6 - $9 per copy sold, depending on whether they sell at a discount, and how much of a deal they got from the publisher. Our publisher makes something, but that amount is anyone's guess.
That's why we started selling our books ourselves on our website. At least we can earn what some of tiny bookstores make from our work.
Of course, the bottom line is that we wrote Highpoint Adventures and our books about Great Sand Dunes and about rock climbing at Joshua Tree because these were places and activities we loved, and because it was a lot of fun to work on the books. We certainly didn't write books because we thought we'd earn much money!
The ironic thing is that our publisher made the decision to allow 2 of our books to be included in Google Print, so they're not only hurting our pocketbook, but probably their own as well. The reasoning seems to be that if people see a portion of a book and like it, they'll buy a copy rather than keep coming back to view more pages for free. I hope that reasoning is correct.