Of course it costs less to manufacture it than what it is sold for. I see price breakdowns of cost of parts for gadgets all the time online, most of them do not take into account cost of labor and other company expenses, or a 'small and insignificant' variable called PROFIT. B&N is not a charity, it is a business. How many companies really have an electronics product that is given away or sold at the price of the parts by the thousands of tens of thousands, or even by the millions? Does manufacturing a mobile phone cost $700? What about Apple products, do they sell for the price of the sum of its components?
As far as using plastic goes, sure, it is cheaper but also lighter.
Also, there is that sneaky variable called "planned obsolescence". Most companies probably do it. The fact that most electronics do not have lifetime warranties also attest to that. If you only bought one phone, one audio player, one e-book reader, or one tablet that lasted forever, you would have no incentive to buy new products from that company.
It is all about business, business, business...