Can someone explain to me why music CDs are so cheap they can be freely distributed with throw-away soda cups while at the same time being sold for $17.99 at the mall?
You're being ripped off if you're paying $17.99 per CD. You can buy cheap ones in packs of 50 for like 10 bucks or so. No jewel cases though.
Seriously, though, I agree that CDs are too expensive. But I really don't like the argument that since they cost pennies to produce they should cost pennies. You have to pay people for production, studio time, marketing, retail space, interns, and hordes of other expenses.
You'll find that most high-end electronics are made of very inexpensive components. Where does all the cost come from? Design and production, not materials.