Settlement credits sent to e-book buyers

The Seattle TimesMarch 26, 2014 

Some Amazon.com Inc. e-book customers received credits Tuesday as part of the $166 million price-fixing settlement five book publishers reached with the U.S. Department of Justice.

The payments, which vary depending on how many e-books consumers bought between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012, stem from an antitrust suit filed in April 2012 that accused the publishers of conspiring to raise prices to undermine Amazon’s grip on the e-book business. Customers received $3.17 for every New York Times bestseller purchased during this time, and 73 cents for other books. Minnesota residents got slightly more because their attorney general negotiated a separate deal.

Those publishers — Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — provided the funds, which are being handed out by Amazon and other e-book sellers, including Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple. Details about the settlement can be found at ebooksagsettlements.com.

Apple, which chose not to settle the case, was ordered last fall to modify its contracts with publishers and hire an outside monitor to make sure the company complies with antitrust laws.

A trial to determine damages that Apple may be required to pay is expected to start later this year.

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