"Dudes, you can't be serious. You paid NOTHING to produce this, and you want $50?!?"
That's actually WRONG. They DID pay $$$ to produce the first version. The WT actually hired an outside company to write the interface application that is used on the CD-ROM. Basically, the CD-ROM has 2 parts: a program that loads the data and the data itself. The data is the "BIG FILE" (~several GB). The idea is that the data can be updated, but as long as the format stays the same the application can parse the data file. Standard stuff. It does seem they have improved the application over time, but the main cost was writing the FIRST one.
They went el-cheapo and did not produce a Mac version, because of licensing issues and not wanting to pay for 2 seperate versions of the initial application. I know this FIRST HAND because I meant one of the programmers out in field service (he was visiting relatives in upstate NY, and he answered the door one random Saturday morning).
Now, I'm NOT justifying the $50 price. They're distribution + marketing costs are minimal, and they shouldn't be turning a profit. But, 25 cent price is only the MARGINAL COST of the CD, and does not include the initial FIXED cost.
Actually, I think they contracted out MIPS as well. Not many window-washers can actually code, and those that do end up visiting apostate websites. or at least this one did :-)