Amazon Blocks Pre-Orders Of Some Disney Movies

Aug 11, 2014
Originally published on August 11, 2014 7:04 am
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And more Disney news. Disney is the latest big media company to find itself in a dispute with Amazon. The online retailer is reportedly restricting pre-orders of some Walt Disney movies. And this comes at a time when the retailer is also in a contract dispute with Hachette Book Group. NPR's Jim Zarroli has more.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: Amazon is blocking its customers from pre-ordering certain Disney movies that haven't been released yet, such as "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" and "Muppets Most Wanted." Such a move by the retailer can lead to slower sales of the movies.

Amazon didn't comment on why it blocked the orders but the move mirrors the strategy Amazon has employed with Time Warner and Hachette - the country's fourth largest publisher.

The dispute with Time Warner was resolved but the conflict with Hachette has been especially acrimonious and stems from a contract dispute. Over the weekend, the company said it was blocking pre-orders of some Hachette titles and slowing shipment of certain others. Amazon said it wanted to lower the cost of e-books, which can run as high as $19.99. It said it had tried to negotiate with Hachette, but the company had quickly and repeatedly dismissed its offers.

Over the weekend, a group called Authors United published a two-page ad in the New York Times criticizing Amazon for blocking preorders. The ad was signed by some 900 writers, including Stephen King, John Grisham and Douglas Preston. The outcome of the dispute is expected to have implications for Amazon's upcoming negotiations with other publishing companies.

Jim Zarroli. NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.