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Amazon Renews Warner Disc Preorders

24 Jun, 2014 By: Erik Gruenwedel

E-commerce giant had halted preorders on studio’s new releases during contract negotiations

Amazon is once again offering preorders on new packaged-media releases from Warner Home Video. The e-commerce behemoth had stopped preorders on heavyweights such as The Lego Movie, 300: Rise of an Empire and Transcendence (street date July 22), among others, while it ironed a new distribution deal with the studio.

The two sides reportedly are near a resolution in the dispute in which Amazon was seeking more favorable terms with home entertainment’s biggest studio, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited sources familiar with the situation.

While the situation is not the first time Amazon has sparred with a Hollywood studio over pricing, it was the first time the company had halted preorders as a negotiating tactic.

Meanwhile, Amazon has apparently transferred select Warner television shows from its Prime Instant Video platform to its transactional video service, Amazon Instant Video.

One Atlanta resident who is a Prime member was halfway through season one of the former ABC comedy-drama “Pushing Daisies,” when access to the next episode and season two disappeared, replaced by a $1.99-per-episode option on Amazon Instant Video.

It’s an aggressive move Amazon — the world’s largest online retailer — has replicated with other industry suppliers, notably book publisher Hachette.

In that protracted dispute, which involves Amazon’s clout as both a physical and electronic book retailer, preorders for The Silkworm, written by “Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling were unavailable, among other noted authors, including J.D. Salinger and Malcolm Gladwell.

Amazon, which launched in 1995 as an online book seller, controls about 50% of the nation’s book sales. It has put books on backorder, making it difficult for them to get on bestseller lists — considered a lifeline in the publishing industry.

"Negotiating for acceptable terms is an essential business practice that is critical to keeping service and value high for customers," Amazon said in a post about the row.

Regardless, Comedy Central’s Stephen Colbert, whose own books are published by Hachette, railed against Amazon in a recent episode of “The Colbert Report.”

“I’m not just mad at Amazon. I’m mad Prime,” Colbert said June 4. “They’re fighting with my publisher … and Amazon is playing hardcover.” 


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