Disputes between retailers and vendors happen every day. What is unusual here is not Amazon's relentless desire to gain margin from its suppliers, but the suppliers' growing resolve to hold the line. If other suppliers adopt the same attitude, that might have significant implications for Amazon's pell-mell growth.
The confrontations indicate that Amazon's long-stated desire to sell everything to everybody might be taking a back seat. The biggest book release in the middle of June is the new J. K. Rowling novel from Hachette; the biggest movie is "Lego." Amazon is basically telling its customers to go elsewhere for them, which is a very un-Amazon thing to do.
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Amazon started refusing preorders for the Time Warner movies in mid-May. That frustrated some customers, who voiced their displeasure on its forums.
"This has got to be the most eagerly awaited 2014 movie being released so far — kids movie, adults like it too, the first good 2014 film," wrote one movie buff about "Lego." "Oh well, Amazon may be digging their own grave if they keep this up."
The retailer's page for the movies says that customers' only option is to sign up to be notified when they become available.
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"The Lego Movie" is not even featured in Amazon's list of forthcoming "Kids & Family" movies. Such lists are a big driver of preorders. The Blu-ray of "The Lego Movie," due out next week, languishes at No. 18,183. The Blu-ray of "300" is ranked 105,389.
A Warner Bros. spokesman said it was the company's "general policy not to comment on contract terms or any other proprietary information having to do with our partners."
An Amazon spokesman declined to comment.