Rare Book Monthly

Articles - January - 2015 Issue

Amazon Secures Exclusive Control of .Book Domain Names

8e042155-77f0-4b16-87f3-4a1b86f83821

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

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Sergio Trujillo Magnenat, <i>Bogotá 1938 / IV Centenario / Juegos Deportivos Bolivarianos,</i> 1938. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>McQueen Drives Porsche,</i> designer unknown, 1970. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>Joe Bridge, <i>Bignan / A Des Ailes,</i> 1921. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Graham Simmons, <i>The Army Isn’t All Work,</i> 1919. $1,000 to $1,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Leonetto Cappiello, <i>Je ne fume que le nil,</i> 1912. $800 to $1,200.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> <i>Attack of the 50 ft. Woman,</i> designer unknown, 1958. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Raymond Tooby, <i>Festival Guiness / Have You Tried One Yet?,</i> 1952. $600 to $900.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> Francisco Tamagno, <i>Terrot & Co. / Dijon / Cycles Motorettes,</i> 1909. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b><br>A. Hori, Oakland / General Motors, circa 1925. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Aug 7:</b> James Montgomery Flagg, <i>Travel? Adventure? Answer – Join the Marines!,</i> circa 1918. $4,000 to $6,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

Article Search

Archived Articles

Ask Questions