Remember 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