Ebook buyers will get $0.25 to $1.32 per book in Apple price-fixing case

Crazed Business Woman Grabbing Money From Floor

Consumers in 49 states (all except Minnesota) and five territories will be reimbursed at least 25 cents for every ebook purchase they made from large publishers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.

The news comes from court filings that offer fresh details about a sweeping settlement between state governments and three publishers over an alleged conspiracy with Apple to fix the price of e-books.

As my colleague, Laura Owen, reported last night, Simon & Schuster, Hachette and HarperCollins will pay a total of $69 million to consumers. Here are some fresh details based on today’s filings:

  • Consumers will receive $1.32 for each New York Times bestseller they bought between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012
  • They will receive 32 cents if a book was not on the NYT bestseller list at the time but was in its first year of publication, and 25 cents if it was an older backlist book
  • Most consumers will receive the reimbursement in the form of a credit to their Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or Apple account unless they state they prefer a check
  • Those who bought ebooks through Google and Sony will get a check
  • Any money left over will go to literacy related charities

If a court approves the deal, the publishers will put aside money into a dedicated consumer account within 30 days and retailers will begin notifying customers by email. The notification process will also include Google and Facebook ads.

The publishers will also put aside $7.6 million to compensate the states’ for investigation and attorneys’ costs and an additional $750,000 each to pay for the notification process.

Consumers in five territories and every state except Minnesota, whose attorney general has opted out of the deal, are eligible to receive money. (We’ve reached out to Minnesota for comment and will update when we hear back).

Even though only three of the five accused publishers are part of the deal, publishers who bought an ebook from any one of the five will be compensated. The office of Connecticut’s attorney general said by email that this is because any conspirator is responsible for the actions of a co-conspirator.

The states are continuing a related lawsuit against Apple and the two hold-out publishers, Penguin and Macmillan. If they prevail, according to the memo below, more money could be forthcoming to consumers.

Here’s the memo with key parts underlined:

Memo in Support of Plaintiff States’ Motion for Preliminary Approval of Settlements Copy

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