The New York Times reported yesterday that Amazon appears to also be in conflict Warner brothers. Amazon is reportedly responding to a contract dispute with Warner Brothers by removing the pre-order buttons from movies produced or distributed by that studio:
The Everything Store is shrinking again. Amazon customers who want to order forthcoming Warner Home Video features, including “The Lego Movie,” “300: Rise of an Empire,” “Winter’s Tale” and “Transcendence,” are finding it impossible to do so.
The retailer’s refusal to sell the movies is part of its effort to gain leverage in yet another major confrontation with a supplier to become public in recent weeks.
Like in the Hachette contract dispute, it is widely believed that Amazon is using the pre-order buttons as leverage in the ongoing negotiations. It’s not clear what Amazon is pushing for, but in the case of WB it could be anything from streaming rights to better terms on DVD distribution. Warner Brothers is a huge media conglomerate, so the bone of contention could literally be just about anything.
But it’s not clear what Amazon hopes to gain by disabling the pre-order buttons on ebook titles distributed through KDP by independent publishers and authors.
Check any ebook listing by an indie author and you’ll see that many do not have access to pre-order buttons (some still have it, though). I’m fairly dialed in to the self-pub world, and my sources have not been able to offer a reason for this decision on the part of Amazon.
Well, there is no justification for this, but then again the vast majority of indie authors and publishers have never had the option of putting up a pre-order button in the first place.
This option, which Amazon is described as a bully for taking away from Hachette and Warner Brothers, is only available to a limited number of Amazon’s suppliers. Sure, some indie authors can use pre-order buttons, but they are the exception.
The point I am trying to get at, folks, is that the pre-order button is far more of a privilege than a right, and if disabling it is a penalty then Amazon must be punishing a significant number of their suppliers. In short, if Amazon is wrong for taking the option away, they must be doubly wrong for never offering it in the first place. How evil.