People who have enough of a passion for books to become professionals in the industry often do not understand just how little they mean to most of their customers, when it really comes down to it. Books may not be fungible by author, but entertainment overall is.
The question is -- why do you think Amazon needs to force these prices, then? If publishers are charging too much, people won't buy, and the publishers go out of business, making room for those with better pricing.
On the other hand, what if customers are willing to pay the extra $5 or $10 or $50 for a particular book? If the publisher is okay making money at the prices it selects, why do we need Amazon to intervene in the free market?
Suppose you were trying to find a new job as a programmer. You go to a headhunter. You say you want at least $50/hour. The headhunter says, "Sorry, you can only charge $10/hour. No programmer is worth more than that. We did surveys and discovered that companies would ship labor to India and pay $10/hour for random programmers there, rather than pay more."
You object, and say that you want the headhunter to look for jobs on your terms. You have 20 years of experience, managed large project teams, and are personally responsible for the core code in some popular mathematical analysis package. Also, you don't live in a small village in India, you live in the middle of Manhattan and need a higher salary to live. "Doesn't matter," comes the reply, "No programmer is worth more than $10/hour."
Now imagine that headhunter is responsible for finding most people in the world their jobs. It doesn't matter who you are... but you're not allowed to charge more than $10/hour. It doesn't matter if your training and education would require you to make at least $20/hour or $50/hour or whatever to recoup those costs over a lifetime... it doesn't matter if you're actually better and the companies might be willing to pay $75/hour for you, if they could only find you. All that matter is the headhunter with the database monopoly on candidates says you can't get a salary of more than $10/hour.
You really think that system would lead to better quality work or give incentive for high quality work? You really think we should let the headhunter decide how you're allowed to market yourself? If you ask too much, you simply won't get a job. For books, why not let publishers choose? If they overcharge, the market will fix it... I can't understand why people want to defend Amazon's greedy monopolistic bullying.