Amazon, Authors Battle Over '.Book' Domain Name

Dennis Faas's picture

The Authors Guild has formally objected to Amazon's plans to take control of a new website domain dedicated to books. They say it is inappropriate for a private company to control such an important (and generic) domain name.

The dispute centers on the new top level domain system. Until this year, all website addresses had to have an ending (or top level domain) that was either '.com' or '.org,' or a specific country code, such as '.ca' for Canada.

Under the new system, organizations can apply to take control of virtually any term. For example, a technology site could move to a ".site" address and then have separate websites, such as "," and "". 

Doing this isn't cheap, however: there's a $185,000 fee just to apply for a new address.

Amazon Wants Book-Based Domains

ICANN, the organization that administers website domains, is currently reviewing early applications for new domain names. Amazon has applied for control of a host of terms, including ".book", ".author", and ".read".

The Association of American Publishers has objected to the ".book" registration, while the Authors Guild has objected to Amazon's attempt to use all three terms.

Authors Guild president Scott Torrow said in a letter to ICANN that "placing such generic domains in private hands is plainly anticompetitive, allowing already dominant, well-capitalized companies to expand and entrench their market power. The potential for abuse seems limitless." (Source:

.Book Registration Would 'Stifle Competition'

Meanwhile, Barnes & Noble has also written to ICANN to protest the application.

Company lawyers insist that "if Amazon, which controls approximately 60% of the market for eBooks and 25% of the physical book market, were granted the exclusive use of .book, .read and .author, Amazon would use the control of these TLDs to stifle competition in the bookselling and publishing industries." (Source:

According to Barnes & Noble, Amazon's applications violated the clear intention of how the new domain system should work. It says Amazon should have stuck to applying for terms such as ".amazon" and ".kindle" that are registered brand names.

ICANN has not yet responded to the objections. However, even if it decides to override the protests it could delay Amazon taking control of the terms.

ICANN will be rolling out the new addresses in batches. Applications that have not received objections will go online first.

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