I figured this was the right forum for this (since the Foundation are producing the manual) but apologies if it's not.
It seems to me that it would be a Win/Win for the Blender Foundation to release the Blender 2.3 full manual on CD at a lower price than the print version:
It's a win for potential customers who aren't able/willing to shell out 35-45 euros but can still get the full manual.
It's a win for the Blender Foundation who makes money off people who wouldn't have bought the full manual. (I assume a lot of the price of the print version is due to printing costs - the Foundation can charge a lot less for a CD version and still make just as much profit off it).
Sales of the manual on CD wouldn't undercut book sales, because print is a preferable format - customers who are able to afford the book will buy it in preference to the CD. Some people will even buy the CD then upgrade to the book when they can afford it (I probably will).
The Blender community wins because it gains new members who might never have invested time and effort in blender otherwise. Some of these members might turn out to be great contributors, but at the very least will increase Blender's profile.
IMO it's in everyone's best interests for the Foundation to release a cheaper CD version of the manual.
P.S. Yes, this is a tweaked version of my comment against the news post - I thought this was probably a more appropriate place to post it.
The manual will be available from the website.
in html for free i might add...