I've been on the fence about getting the beta. 30 dollars is a fair bit for a book that is not the final version. 45 with shipping if I ordered it directly from FFG.
As it has been stated, some of the reason behind the cost is:
- It is a full colour physical copy - believe it or not, these cost money to produce
- LucasArts holds all the rights to digital gaming when it comes to Star Wars - There can't be a PDF copy of this
- There IS a cost as this is a licensed property.
There are a plethora of other reasons I'm sure. Now, as a player each of us has to decide if we want this or not. This isn't the final game, you do not have to buy this. Plain and simple. You don't like it, don't buy it then. Wait a few more months. Not a big deal. Personally, I'm getting this because I'm trying to make my own RPG, and I like reading/looking at as many different mechanics as possible. I'm not going to spend the 100 bucks to play WFRP3e, but I'm interested in the mechanics. These are highlighted quite well in this book as far as I know.
Also think about how this book is presented. While it says Star Wars on the cover. Well, since it's all about the fringe sorts you could easily adapt this system to whatever setting you want. Want to run Firefly? There you go. Traveller-esque free traders? Freelancer? You name it. All the characters at the raggedy edge.
Another thing is this book is all crunch, and no/little fluff. If the rules stay the same or with minor errata, there's no reason why this book wouldn't be useful down the road. Starting a new campaign? Well, now you have two books for your group to make characters from, rather than just one. Lots of groups like having multiple core books. But if the final product is pricier than the beta (and we all know it will) it might not be cost effective to have more than one copy.
Now, if cost is an issue, and there are lots of reasons it can be, talk to your group. You may only need one book.. If you have 6 people, 5 bucks a piece isn't so bad, and if you get 10+hours out if this game, you've more than paid for it in my opinion. Where I live, if I go to the theatre to see a movie or play, I'm spending 10-15 dollars for 2 hours. This book is 30 bucks, and I'll probably get more than 4 hours enjoyment out of it.
All that being said, I would love if FFG did something like you register the book, and you get a free set of dice down the road or something, but if they don't, well too bad. Not going to lose sleep over it.
You're going to find that many of the truths we cling to depend greatly on our own point of EU.