As previously reported in TeleRead, Amazon has been in discussions for some time with Swedish publishing data clearing house Bokrondellen for some months regarding its plans to enter the Swedish market. Now, according to The Bookseller, Amazon may have concluded the deal and be about to roll out in Sweden. However, this might have to happen without the Amazon.se domain. Local Swedish news sources suggest that a buyer who picked up the domain name in 1997 may be hanging on to it, despite negotiations with Amazon.
Whether Amazon AB, the entity that currently owns the domain name, is actually cybersquatting isn’t clear. The one-person company, supposedly engaged in advertising, hasn’t yet responded to Swedish media requests for an interview. Certainly, the Amazon.se domain is not currently active, and is simply maintained by hosting company Active 24 with a message stating that it “is under development, so please check back soon.”
The website issue may not be the only anti-competitive hurdle in the way of Amazon’s entry into Sweden. There are strong indications already that Sweden is a quasi-duopolistic bookselling environment, with Bokrondellen itself launched and owned by the major publishers, notably Bonnier. Bokrondellen itself has also been harshly criticized within Sweden in the past for being difficult to operate and seek information from. Amazon may have had to cosy up to the operators of a cosy market in order to get inside the door, but some sort of shakeup for the market may be well overdue.