In the past few months Amazon has very publicly made enemies with several of its business partners, but the online retailer isn’t done sullying its image–fans hoping to order titles such Maleficent, Muppets Most Wanted, or Captain America: The Winter Soldier from Amazon are out of luck, at least until Disney cries “uncle.”
Amazon U.K. will be selling copies of the Disney titles, but American fans will only be able to find Winter Soldier and the other recent releases on Amazon Instant. Deadline reports that “discussions are continuing between Amazon and Disney to resolve the pricing issue.” Yes, Amazon’s bullying tactics sound like business as usual when the company being targeted is a media property as large as Disney, but blocking titles to gain an upper hand in price disputes is a growing trend for Amazon, and one that ultimately hurts both artists and fans.
Earlier this year, Amazon blocked the sale of Warner Bros.’ The Lego Movie when the two companies couldn’t agree on a price–according to Deadline, this controversial move “marked the first time that Amazon halted orders as a negotiating tactic.” Again, if it’s hard to muster up sympathy for giant companies like Warner Bros. or Disney, Amazon’s refusal to sell the new Disney titles is the third time in recent months that their negotiation tactics have raised eyebrows.
This Sunday, 900 authors including Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen King, and Goldfinch author Donna Tartt published a two-page open letter in The New York Times lambasting Amazon for directly hurting writers in their attempts to manipulate Hachette Book Group. Colbert even spoke out in support of Hachette and its authors on his show by calling for a boycott, saying that Amazon “wants to control book selling, book buying, and even book publishing, and that is a national tragedy… if this is to be the new American way, then maybe it has to be changed, by law if necessary, immediately, if not sooner.”
On the bright side, I guess, Winter Soldier or Maleficent fans don’t even need to make a conscious decision to boycott–when it comes to our DVD or Blu-Ray needs, Amazon has already made that call for us.
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