An author I quite admire and enjoy, Ursula Le Guin, shares the widespread conviction that the book industry has been corrupted by financial motives. Publishers--those lousy Philistines--don't care about the inherent value of a book, only about their ability to sell it at a profit. Well, I suppose there may be publishers out there who only care about the inherent value of a book, but after they spend all their savings putting the books out, they go out of business, leaving only their filthy-lucre competitors behind.
It's only been in the last few centuries, though, that anyone even tried to make money off of publishing. Back when each book was a painstaking labor of handmade love, if the author wasn't pretty determined to write it for its inherent value, well, it just didn't get written. Not many people ever got to read these supremely disinterested works, but that kept the unwashed masses from driving down the tone. Then some bright guy figured out a way to automate the printing process, and suddenly books weren't just something that a few scholars shared with each other as fast as some poor scribe could copy them by hand. The growing literate public started agitating for more and faster copies, and next thing you know people are saying, "Well, OK, I'll devote my professional life to churning out copies for you, but only if you're willing to pay for them. All this paper and ink isn't free, you know." Publishers got used to making a living and found that they might have to pay the authors who turned out stuff people were willing to buy.
It's still possible to write for the sheer inherent value of writing, if you don't want a zillion people to read it, and if you don't quit your day job. But it seems a little odd to demand the right to make a living at writing, while complaining that other people don't value it for its own sake.