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Amazon, Warner Home Video in standoff over 'Lego' preorders

Web giant stops taking advanced orders for some upcoming films in a possible attempt to increase its margins on sales.

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos

Amazon is holding firm in its insistence on maximizing its profits on the home entertainment products it sells.

The e-retail giant has stopped allowing its customers to preorder hard copies of upcoming Warner Home Video disc launches, including "The Lego Movie," "Transcendence," and "300: Rise of an Empire," among others. Amazon hasn't publicly commented on the move. But the e-tail giant may have banned the sales to apply pressure and get Warner to acquiesce to its desire to gain more margin on each sale.

If this sounds familiar, it's because Amazon has followed a similar strategy with book publisher Hachette. Amazon wants better terms on e-books, and has stopped taking preorders of Hachette titles and even delayed shipments.

Interestingly, on the digital movie front, Amazon isn't painting with such a broad brush. The films that it won't sell on disc, including "300 Rise of an Empire," are still available for those who want to buy the film digitally through its Instant Video service.

That Amazon is not selling some movies from Warner and books from Hachette will undoubtedly take some customers by surprise. The upcoming JK Rowling novel is published by Hachette and ostensibly won't be sold by the e-tailer, along with other major titles from popular celebrities including Stephen Colbert, who has lashed out at Amazon over its holdout. The upcoming launch of the "Lego" film on disc is also expected to be a big event.

The big question now, therefore, is which company will blink first. So far, all the companies have stood their ground, and it's the consumer who's suffering most. When will that change?

CNET has contacted both Amazon and Warner for comment on their standoff. We will update this story when we have more information.

(Via The New York Times)