People can be forgiven for mistakenly thinking publishers earn a lot from a book's sale - after all, doesn't the author only receive royalties on cover price (usually) of between 6-15%?
Yes, but consider what happens to the rest of that 85% (we pay 15% on most books or more).
15% or more for distribution.
15% for sales reps, or more. Plus VAT.
That's 45% right there - leaving the remaining 55% to pay:
The retail discount (which can be 50% or more of cover); editor; proof-reader; typesetter; book cover designer. The printers. The people who ship the books to the bookshops and warehouses... the PR and marketing team. Postage for review copies. Plus overhead. Plus storage of the books, etc.
The profit available after all this can be 5% or less. Now, a huge publisher may be selling loads of copies, so even a pence per sale adds up... but with indie publishing, most titles sell fewer than 1000 copies in their lifetime (in fact the industry average is closer to 250 sales for indie books); hard to even break-even. This is why grants can be so helpful, but these are being cut back, also.
Now consider the following: printers are raising their prices at least 6%; shippers are raising their prices hugely, due to petrol costs. Everything else costs more, also, from cardboard packaging, to the price for a business meeting (we buy our authors a coffee or tea when we meet).
And, with inflation at around 10% now, 10% of the value of the book is knocked off, more or less.
Meaning, in a sense, anyone with less than a 10% profit margin, is not going to be able to make a profit - without raising their book prices.
And raised book prices price people out of the market - who wants to pay a lot more for a book when they can't feed their family or heat their house or pay for the petrol and energy they need for their business vehicle?
So it is a tough time.