Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2015 Issue

Amazon Secures Exclusive Control of .Book Domain Names

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There is a new domain name suffix coming to an internet connection near you soon that may be of great interest to those in the book trade, or those who just like books a lot. That domain root is .book (dot-book). However, you can't just put in an order with a typical domain registration service, like you were seeking to register a new .com name. You will have to seek the permission of a company that might not be your very favorite company in the whole world. The .com domains are under the exclusive control of Amazon.

 

Recently, ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) held an auction to determine who would have the right to control all domain names ending in .book. ICANN is a non-profit organization with authority to control internet protocol numbers and domain name roots. A few years back, they came up with a very profitable idea for a non-profit – they decided they could raise a lot of money for their organization by selling new roots for a system that was once limited to .com, .org, and .net. There is, quite literally, an unlimited number of new roots now available for those who want to buy one. The more popular ones, however, are in high demand, and the result is they are being auctioned off for big bucks.

 

The .book domain was particularly popular. Nine companies, including behemoths Google and Amazon, bid for rights to .book. Since it was a private auction, the winning bid price was not revealed. Based on other prices, it is believed that Amazon's bid was in the $5-$10 million range. One under bidder, Minds + Machines, a firm which owns and licenses domain names, claimed it bid $8 million, and it was not even the runner-up, suggesting Amazon's bid was, at minimum, in the high end of that range. The runner-up was R. R. Bowker, a firm with long ties to the book industry, which issues ISBN numbers in the United States.

 

An outcry was raised a couple of years ago when Amazon first sought to purchase exclusive rights to the .book domain name root. The Association of American Publishers stated that giving Amazon exclusive control of .book would deny others with an equally vested interest in the word “book” equal access to the term as a domain name. The President of the Authors Guild wrote, “Placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power.” Bricks and mortar competitor Barnes & Noble objected this would “stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries, which are critical to the future of copyrighted expression in the U.S.” Even ILAB (International League of Antiquarian Booksellers) joined the fray, commenting through its President, Tom Congalton, “We have to play by the same rules. There is no reason why Amazon should get the exclusive rights to suffixes such as book, author or read, which are generic names any bookseller throughout the world should be allowed to use.” It was all to no avail. Books may speak, but money shouts.

 

Precisely how Amazon will use the .book domain is unclear. They may sell, or license the right to use .book domains to others, as is done with .com names. Alternatively, they may decide to keep the .book domain names all to themselves, making it an internet synonym for the Amazon website. It is now theirs to use as they please.


Posted On: 2015-01-01 16:02
User Name: keeline

"The .com domains are under the exclusive control of Amazon." should probably have ".book"

In other examples of new TLDs (top-level domains) the most common/desirable words are often set aside by the new registrar. In the case of .museum the registrar becomes the sole arbiter of whether an applicant is a real museum in their eyes.

Abuse is possible but it is not a requirement that anyone use a particular TLD. As it is, it will take an enormous education of the public to realize that there are TLDs other than .com. Does anyone recall the advertising campaign around 2000 to sell the Western Samoa .ws country code as "Wold Site" or Tuvalo's .tv as "television" because the Internet is becoming "more like TV"? The real test will be seeing the new TLDs on billboards. Will the general public realize that it is an Internet address if it doesn't have .com ?

James D. Keeline


Rare Book Monthly

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    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jacques-Émile Ruhlmann, wallpaper sample book, circa 1919. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Archive from a late office of the Breuer & Smith architectural team, New York, 1960-70s. $3,500 to $5,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> William Morris, <i>The Story of the Glittering Plain or the Land of Living Men,</i> illustrated by Walter Crane, Kelmscott Press, Hammersmith, 1894. $2,500 to $3,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustave Doré, <i>La Sainte Bible selon la Vulgate,</i> Tours, 1866. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Gustav Klimt & Max Eisler, <i>Eine Nachlese,</i> complete set, Vienna, 1931. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>Eric Allatini & Gerda Wegener, <i>Sur Talons Rouges,</i> with original watercolor by Wegener, Paris, 1929. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>C.P. Cavafy, <i>Fourteen Poems,</i> illustrated & signed by David Hockney, London, 1966. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b> Jean Midolle, <i>Spécimen des Écritures Modernes...</i>, Strasbourg, 1834-35. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Apr 26:</b><br>E.A. Seguy, <i>Floréal: Dessins & Coloris Nouveaux,</i> Paris, 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
  • <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> BEETHOVEN, LUDWIG VAN. Autograph Manuscript sketch-leaf part of the score of the Scottish Songs, "Sunset" Op. 108 no 2. [Vienna, February 1818]. Inscribed by Alexander Wheelock Thayer. SOLD for $131,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> Violin belonging to Albert Einstein, presented to him by Oscar H. Steger, 1933. SOLD for $516,500
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> EINSTEIN, ALBERT. Autograph Letter Signed ("Papa") to his son Hans Albert, discussing his involvement with the atomic bomb, September 2, 1945. SOLD for $106,250
    <b>Bonhams: Results from Fine Books and Manuscripts on March 9, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> HAMILTON, ALEXANDER. Autograph Letter Signed, to Baron von Steuben, with extensive notes of Von Steuben's aide Benjamin Walker, June 12, 1780. SOLD for $16,250
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 9:</b> NEWTON, ISAAC. Autograph Manuscript in Latin, being detailed instructions on making the philosopher's stone. 8 pp. 1790s. SOLD for $275,000
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  • <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> E.H. SHEPARD, Original drawing for A.A. Milne’s The House at Pooh Corner.<br>$40,000-60,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> BERNARD RATZER, Plan of the City of New York in North America, surveyed in the years 1766 & 1767. $80,000-100,000
    <b>Doyle, April 25:</b> THOMAS JEFFERSON, Autograph letter signed comparing Logan, Tecumseh, and Little Turtle to the Spartans. Monticello: 15 February 1821. $14,000-18,000
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