I am beginning to see a pattern. Amazon changes the terms of its contract with a publisher. The publisher objects to a unilateral change in terms. Amazon punishes the publisher and/or its authors by withdrawing the preorder option, or by removing its titles entirely. Authors, nations, official bodies get involved and the New York Times writes an article about the dispute.
Douglas Preston, one of the authors hurt in the Hachette-Amazon dispute, sums these battles up nicely. "It is," he says, "like talking to a 5-year-old." Preston, a best-selling author, is circulating a letter that, so far, has garnered 909 signatures. The letter asks Jeff Bezos to stop using authors as hostages.
It is unlikely that Amazon will change its tactics. But given the huge loss Amazon recently suffered, it might be a good idea if they played nice for a change.
Disney Disc Preorders Disappear From Amazon
Home Media Magazine, 7 Aug, 2014
By: Chris Tribbey The preorder option for almost every title from Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment has been removed on Amazon, in an apparent repeat of what Warner Home Video went through earlier this summer.
Preorder options for practically every major disc release from Disney are currently unavailable, including Muppets Most Wanted (Aug. 12), Captain America: The Winter Soldier (Sept. 9), Million Dollar Arm (Oct. 7) and Maleficent (Nov. 4). The Blu-ray Disc combo release of Disneynature’s Bears is still available for preorder ahead of the title’s Aug. 12 street date.
Representatives from Disney and Amazon were not immediately available for comment.
From mid-May to late June, preorders for most Warner titles were unavailable on Amazon, with the two sides working out a new distribution deal. It marked the first time Amazon halted preorders as a negotiating tactic. Amazon Instant Video early electronic sellthrough of new-release Warner titles were unaffected.
The same situation appears to be occurring with Disney: those shopping Amazon for Muppets Most Wanted on disc, which streets in just a few days, are told to “Sign up to be notified when this item becomes available.” However, Amazon Instant Video versions of the film ($14.99 for standard-def, $19.99 high-def) are still available for preorder (“plus bonus features,” the listing reads).
Disc options for Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Million Dollar Arm aren’t listed at all, while Amazon Instant Video preorder options remain.
Amazon has been in a months-long contract dispute with book publisher Hachette, and has employed similar tactics, removing preorder availability for books from the publishing house.