Book publishers have always set the suggested list price of printed books. Bookstores were free to sell the books to customers like us at any price. In days that seem ancient now, mega-bookstore chains like Barnes & Noble, Walden, and Borders engaged in deep discounting. Many independent bookstores couldn’t compete and they went out of business.
Like any traditional content-based business encountering digital distribution, publishers tried to cling to their old ways. Please refer to the history of the music business over the past decade for how that view of the world worked out.