It's been over a year since the last publisher settled the antitrust lawsuit brought by the Dept of Justice, and we're finally starting to get our money back.
A new email from Amazon showed up in my inbox this morning with the news. According to Amazon, the indemnity that the 5 publishers paid to the DOJ when they settled the lawsuit is now being sent out to ebook buyers.
All US residents who bought an Agency priced ebook between 1 April 2010 and 21 May 2012 should be getting either a credit via the ebook retailer or they will be getting a check (Google and Sony went old school). For more details, visit the official antitrust settlement website.
According to that website, Apple and Barnes & Noble has also started issuing credits, and Sony and Google have mailed refund checks. The status of Kobo's refund efforts is not clear, but the site does say that anyone who bought an Agency priced ebook from a retailer not mentioned above will be getting a refund check in the mail.
I didn't buy very many agency priced ebooks in this period, and I don't expect to to get anything from B&N, Kobo, or the other bookstores. In fact, I was surprised to get even $1.46 credit in the Kindle Store.
The funds being distributed this week come from the $166 million settlement that Hachette, HarperCollns, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster paid to the DOJ when they settled the antitrust lawsuit. Four of the publishers settled in 2012, but Macmillan did not decide to settle until February 2013.
That antitrust lawsuit laid out, in detail, just how the 5 publishers colluded in December 2009 and January 2010 to bring about agency pricing, enabling them to control the retail price of the ebooks they publish. The 5 publishers subsequently increased the prices of their ebooks.
Apple, the one defendant which did not settle, took the case to trial in July 2013 and lost. They have yet to make any restitution, and in fact their penalty trial won't be held until later this year. Should Apple lose that trial, and also lose their appeal, they will be assessed a penalty. This probably won't happen until late 2014 at the earliest, and if and when it does ebook buyers should be getting another rebate.
image by Eric__I_E