I hadn't thought of that - buying the five figures seperately would cost almost twice as much as the 5 figure BPs. Who the heck at Hasbro is setting these prices?
Oh-- this is fun. Basically, the cost of packaging materials is so high that it costs a lot to package one figure, but you save a ton when you can get 2 or 3 or 7 figures in a single package. For example:
1 Figure: $7
1 box of 7 figures in an Internet exclusive pack: $34-$40
1 carded GI Joe figure: $7 or $8
1 Comic 2-pack: $9.99
Basically, packaging costs a lot of money. I think someone told me once that a G.I. Joe figure in the 1980s cost a couple of cents to make, but the packaging was about $0.50-- why this is, I have no idea, but the packaging is a huge part of the product cost. If fans simply demanded $10 and $20 figure multi-packs, we'd all be getting much better deals. (Heck, look at Valor vs. Venom/Spy Troops/etc. It's not just the licensing fee, the cost of cardboard and plastic always gets passed along to the consumer.) Even Evolutions are a fine example-- it's cheaper for Hasbro and it's cheaper for us. It's just that most fans prefer/demand the basic individual carded format. (A lot of Joe collectors actively despised the whole 2-pack angle, and I know it cost them a lot of my dollars as I often just wanted one of the two in the set.)