Apple eBook Refunds Are Coming on 21 June, Attorneys Say

9304472642_d3cf974fc5_hRemember that $400 million ebook settlement that Apple was on the hook for after they lost their Supreme Court Appeal in March?

It looks like it is finally going to arrive.

Hagens Berman, the law firm which launched a consumer class-action lawsuit against Apple and five publishers, announced on Monday that ebook consumers would receive their refunds starting on 21 June.

I'm still waiting for Amazon, or another official source, to confirm the news. Until I hear something I am taking this with a grain of salt.

From the press release:

Consumers will receive a $6.93 credit for every ebook which was a New York Times bestseller, and a $1.57 credit for other ebooks.

Attorneys say the process is uniquely simple for consumers – credits will be automatically sent directly into the accounts of consumers at major book retailers, including Amazon.com Inc., Barnes & Noble Inc., Kobo Inc. and Apple. Retailers will issue emails and put the credits in the accounts simultaneously.

If e-book purchasers requested a check in lieu of a credit, they will receive a check. If purchasers received a credit during the first round of distribution of publisher settlements, and they did not opt out, they will automatically receive a credit.

The credits will be good for any product sold by one of the retailers (or so PW says) which means that consumers could take the credit and use it to buy a custom t-shirt which read "Apple settled an antitrust suit for $450 million, and all I got was this lousy t-shirt". (No, seriously, that's really an option on Amazon.)

The pending distribution of funds is only the latest chapter in a six-year-long saga which began when Apple and five US book publishers conspired in late 2010 to bring about agency ebook pricing. That move gave publishers control over their ebook prices as well as a united front which forced Amazon to go along.

That lead to a consumer antitrust suit in 2011, a much larger federal antitrust suit in 2012, four years of court battles, five settlement agreements from publishers, and now, _finally_ we are approaching the end.

When it finally happens,  the distribution of funds by Apple will mean that the price-fixing lawsuits will have led to $566 million refunded to ebook consumers. This includes the $166 million paid by the five publishers (S&S, Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, and Penguin) in 2014 as well as the $400 million from Apple.

image by rmgirardin

About Nate Hoffelder (11582 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

28 Comments on Apple eBook Refunds Are Coming on 21 June, Attorneys Say

  1. It’s a good thing I’m not eligible for this, or I would probably waste it all on the T-shirt.

  2. Now I have to figure out what to do with my basically worthless B&N credit. I wish I’d asked for a check. When I had to make the decision, you could still download Nook books. It just happened that I bought more books from B&N than Amazon during the period in question, so my Amazon credit will be tiny and my B&N somewhat substantial.

    • Do they sell chocolates?

    • As I mentioned over on TeleRead, I spent mine on the first two RWBY Blu-rays.

      That being said, I’ve found it is still possible to snag downloaded e-books from the Nook Windows 8/10 app’s storage directory. It’s just somewhat obscure where it actually is (I had to Google to find out). Not that I plan to buy any more e-books there regardless.

  3. People’s credits are starting to show up in their gift card balance under their Amazon account.

  4. GOT MY CREDITS!!!

  5. Timothy Wilhoit // 21 June, 2016 at 8:52 am // Reply

    An email would have been nice. It creeped me out a bit when a seemingly random amount of money appeared on my GC balance this morning. It has a claim code xxxx-xxxxxx-xxxx just as though someone purchased a physical gift card for a really weird amount of money and loaded it. It’s a bit odd that the balance can used for anything and not just ebooks.

    • The Amazon emails seem to be coming now. Apparently they wanted to wait before credit was actually applied to customers’ accounts before telling them to go look for it.

      • Timothy Wilhoit // 21 June, 2016 at 1:19 pm // Reply

        I got it about an hour ago.

        “We will automatically apply your available credit to your purchase of qualifying items through Amazon, an Amazon device or an Amazon app.”

        Seems it’s for ebooks, it won’t apply to anything else. I don’t think the other settlement was on the GC account.

        • It’s been applying to other things than ebooks. My wife bought cat food and I just bought some instant videos. The credit applied to them.

  6. Scott Richardson // 21 June, 2016 at 11:20 am // Reply

    I have a gift card balance of $174.45 as of today. I guess I spent more money than I thought on books. (I may have a book buying addiction)

  7. I got an e-mail from Amazon notifying me of a credit for $18.84.

  8. My wife’s credit was $442.

    Mine was only a measly $98.64.

  9. My Kobo account is also showing a credit now, but no email notification

  10. How do i find my credit on b and n website?

  11. B & N emailed me several days ago regarding the credit, and it is posted on my account now.

  12. On B & N, you log in, select “My Account”, “Manage My Account” then “Manage Gift Cards & Credits for Nook Content” under the “Payments” heading. It is listed as a gift card in my account.

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