Amazon makes a mess with Lego

What madness is this? The "Everything Store" is blocking pre-orders of "The Lego Movie"

Topics: amazon, hachette, Warner, lego, The LEGO Movie, J.K. Rowling, ,

Amazon makes a mess with LegoJeff Bezos (Credit: AP/Reed Saxon/Salon)

What is Jeff Bezos thinking? At the New York Times, David Streitfeld reports that since mid-May Amazon has been blocking pre-orders for Warner DVDs — including “The Lego Movie.” At issue is the same underlying dynamic at work in Amazon’s fight with the Hachette publishing conglomerate: Amazon is meeting unprecedented resistance as it pressures its suppliers to lower their prices.

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.



The Hachette showdown showered the normally publicity-conscious Amazon with a hailstorm of bad press, but Streitfeld writes that “Amazon’s tactics with Warner Home Video are unlikely to provoke as much of an uproar, since DVDs do not carry the cultural weight of books.” I’m not so sure about that. Lego is a brand name with serious weight in key demographic circles — namely, parents of Lego-obsessed kids. “Amazon blocks Lego” is a sound bite with  brand-name punch. How long can Bezos bear seeing articles that include sentences like “First they came for Harry Potter’s author, and now they have come for your Lego”?

The really interesting question, however, is whether the decision makers at Hachette and Warner Home Video have sensed some kind of cultural turning of the tide in which they believe it is now acceptable to stand up against Amazon. Are hoary old media dinosaurs capitalizing on a growing sense of public unease at the power of the new tech economy titans?

Andrew Leonard

Andrew Leonard is a staff writer at Salon. On Twitter, @koxinga21.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.

    Domino's

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.

    Arby's/Facebook

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.

    KFC

    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    Pizzagamechangers.com

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.

    7-Eleven

    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

Loading Comments...