Three Publishers Agree To $69 Million Settlement In eBook Price Fixing Scandal

Publishers Agree To $69 Million Settlement In Price Fixing Scandal

via PaidConent

Three of the five publishers cited in the eBook price fixing scandal--HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster--have agreed to settle with state attorneys general throughout the country. The terms of that $69 million settlement were released today, and is currently pending court approval.

The gist is: If you bought an eBook between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, you're about to come into a little money. Maybe enough to get you on the bus! 

Quick recap: Earlier this year state attorneys general and the US Justice Department went after Apple and five of the Big Six publishing houses, charging they colluded to fix eBook prices in order to remain competitive with Amazon. Problem is, price-fixing is illegal. The sixth publisher, Random House, was excluded from the suit because it wasn't party to the original agreement. 

There's a lot to this, so here's all the facts, via the intrepid folks at PaidContent

  • $1.32 will be refunded for each New York Times bestseller
  • 32 cents will be refunded for non-NYT bestsellers in the first year of publication
  • 25 cents will be refunded for backlist books
  • Reimbursements for Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple will be credited to accounts, unless the recipient prefers a check
  • Google and Sony users will get a check 
  • Customers will be notified by e-mails, and through Google ads and Facebook
  • Any remaining money will go to literacy-related charities
  • The settlement applies to people living in the US and its territories--but not in Minnesota, where the attorney general has opted out of the settlement (not sure why)
  • Publishers will put aside $7.6 million to compensate legal and investigation fees, and $750,000 to pay for the notification process
  • Though only three publishers agreed to this, refunds will be given to customers who bought books from any of the five publishers

Meanwhile, Apple and the remaining two publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, continue to hold out. If they settle or lose in court, consumers could see even more money headed their way. 

Are you excited about the refunds? Is this the right way to handle this? Or were Apple and the five publishers doing what was necessary to remain competitive with Amazon? 

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bryanhowie's picture
bryanhowie from FW, ID is reading East of Eden. Steinbeck is FUCKING AMAZING. August 30, 2012 - 1:58pm

I'd donate my money to the literacy programs if possible.  I don't think I'll be seeing any money, though. 

Jack Campbell Jr.'s picture
Jack Campbell Jr. from Lawrence, KS is reading American Rust by Phillipp Meyer August 30, 2012 - 4:33pm

I'm going to go to McDonald's. Dollar menu, baby!