If you look up The Lego Movie on Amazon right now, you’ll find that it’s “unavailable.” This might strike you as somewhat odd, since you can buy the streaming version straight from Amazon. The same is true of other recent Warners movies like 300: Rise Of An Empire and Transcendence. The reasons why are as amusing as they are annoying.
So, wait, you can’t even preorder these movies? I assume this has something to do with money.
Why, yes! Amazon and Warner Bros. are currently in a dispute over DVD pricing. Amazon wants them cheaper; Warners wants them to stay the same price. So Amazon, being run by mature adults, has decided to take out their anger over this on their customers.
I feel like this is something I’ve heard about before, and recently.
Funny you should bring that up, Amazon is in a similar argument with the publisher Hachette. And it’s using the same tactics: Books are either not available to buy, or if you do buy them, Amazon will take its sweet time actually shipping those books to you. Hachette’s authors, as you might imagine, are not happy.
This seems a bit… drastic.
Ain’t it, though? Amazon has tried this tactic before; for a long time, you had to buy Nintendo’s products through a third party because Nintendo refused to play ball with Amazon’s margin cutting.
Is this just about money?
It’s also about Amazon’s role as a provider of digital content. Publishers have been screaming about ebook pricing, namely Amazon’s relentless drive for cheaper and cheaper prices, for years, to the point where they attempted to team up with Apple in a price-fixing scheme.
Similarly, we doubt Warner Bros. is happy with Amazon’s ongoing attempts to take over your living room, although so far the streaming video issue hasn’t come up.
So who’s right here?
Nobody, really. Hachette went along with that whole price-fixing scheme, and Warner Bros. is just as ethical as any other movie studio.
But at the same time, Amazon is hardly in the right here, either. They’re essentially resorting to arm-twisting and trying to use their customers as leverage in a corporation urination match, even though their customers have made it clear they don’t want to be used that way.
Is there something I can do about it?
Sure, and you can do it with Amazon’s blessing. They’ve suggested you buy these products somewhere else. Let them know you’ll be buying all your products from some other business until they get with the program, and you’ll see some changes in a hurry.