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Amazon takes on Disney and Hachette with pre-order policies

The Amazon logo is seen on a podium during a press conference in New York, September 28, 2011.
The Amazon logo is seen on a podium during a press conference in New York, September 28, 2011.
Emmanuel Dunand/AFP/Getty Images

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Amazon’s prohibitive sales restrictions and stall on pre-orders is now affecting Disney. Amazon halted pre-order sales for Captain America, Maleficent, and other films, a tactic the company uses often to negotiate with media companies.

Although consumers can pre-order the Disney films from other sites and even stream them on Amazon, the site has notified users that they will be notified when the movies become available.

This tactic has sped along financial disputes with other companies, including Time Warner Films, but has been more protracted with publisher Hachette. Amazon has come under fire for refusing to discount Hachette books, stopping pre-orders, and delaying shipments. This weekend, a group of over 900 authors joined together to sign a letter published as a paid advertisement in Sunday’s New York Times speaking out against Amazon’s policies.

Amazon argues that Hachette should be criticized instead: the site wants to sell Hachette’s e-books for less money, claiming that a digital copy has less value and that Amazon is taking the same percent of the profits -- it’s Hachette that doesn’t want to pay its authors. As the standoffs continue, anger at the situation is clearly rising.

How do Amazon’s disputes with Disney and Hachette affect consumers? Who should be making pricing decisions for online sales of books and media? How will the conflicts resolve?


Greg Bensinger, reporter for the Wall Street Journal