Amazon’s strong-arm tactics over pricing have expanded from books to films with the online retailer now refusing to serve pre-orders for many Warner Bros’ titles including The Lego Movie and 300: Rise of an Empire.
The move comes as Hachette (one of the ‘big five’ book publishers) goes public over its dispute with the company. Amazon has refused to stock some Hachette titles and has delayed shipping on others in order to bring down the price of e-books.
Hachette authors from J.K Rowling to Stephen Colbert have condemned the online retailers’ decision, with thriller writer James Patterson declaring: “There is a war going on between Amazon and book publishers.”
Although the details of the dispute with Warner Bros are not clear, searching for The Lego Movie on amazon.com brings up a digital copy of the film from Amazon’s video-on-demand service first while the physical DVD is unavailable for pre-order.
The dispute has apparently not affected Amazon’s UK operation with searches on amazon.co.uk for Warner Bros’ DVDs all showing options for pre-order.
In regards to the Hachette dispute Amazon has said that it is only negotiating “on behalf of customers” in order to find the best prices, but publishers have said that the company’s influence in the industry (especially in the e-book market) is hurting both book-sellers and authors.
In the film market however Amazon has less control, with competitors from iTunes to Netflix offering alternative distribution methods. In both cases, Hachette and Warner Bros will be hoping the popularity of their products wins out against Amazon's coercion.