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Amazon Just Sent Me My Share of the eBooks Antitrust Settlement

It’s been2229537166_4edb2679c0_n[1] 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

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Timothy Wilhoit March 25, 2014 um 8:54 am

That answered my question. $1.46 was roughly what I expected to get. $63.03 is much better than I hoped.

fjtorres March 25, 2014 um 9:42 am

That $1.46 number…
I was certain I hadn’t bought any Agency titles ever so I was surprised to get anything.
I wonder if they are slipping in that much as a minimum to everybody, even if they didn’t buy any agency books…

I’m going to make sure I drop my plunder on an indie title so the BPHs get nothing back from me. 🙂

burger flipper March 25, 2014 um 10:45 am

Nah, I got 73 cents.

Paul March 25, 2014 um 3:42 pm

I got zero

George March 25, 2014 um 9:43 am

I got $40.88 from Amazon. My wife got $202.75. We apparently bought a few agency books. 🙂

I was wondering about Sony. Glad to hear they are mailing a check out. I should have some money coming from them too.

Rhoda March 25, 2014 um 10:51 am

I wonder when the Nook credits will arrive. I wasn’t expecting much from Kindle books but should have something in the way of a Sony check.and I’m still waiting for my Sony ebooks to be transferred to Kobo.

LS March 25, 2014 um 6:49 pm

I’m still waiting for my Sony to Kobo transfer too. I have a large library so I hope to get mine soon, so I can double check how many don’t transfer over.

Charlie Brown March 25, 2014 um 12:31 pm

And I got a rock

laura March 25, 2014 um 1:39 pm

a whopping $0.73 credit. Considering I buy very few books I wasn’t really expecting much. But it hardly seems worth the effort!!

EH March 25, 2014 um 2:25 pm

Some retailers are issuing credits, and some are sending checks; if you get a credit, can you request a check so that you don’t have to use it at the same retailer? Good deal for Amazon if all of the rebate money comes back to them…

Nate Hoffelder March 25, 2014 um 2:28 pm

The official website said that the deadline for requesting a check has passed.

ucfgrad93 March 25, 2014 um 2:45 pm

I was pleasantly surprised with a $11.20 credit.

Albert March 25, 2014 um 4:28 pm

Are you sure about Apple? The Ebooks AG Settlement website states that "Email credit notices were sent to eligible customers on or around March 25, 2014. This email notified eligible customers that an iTunes account credit was available and provided instructions on how to activate it."

Rhoda March 25, 2014 um 4:42 pm

I checked my spam folder & the one for Itunes was there. I would have had a much larger refund if Audible books had been part of this. I got .73 for my Itunes account. I think I purchased one book through them.

Jen March 25, 2014 um 5:01 pm

I was stunned to get $91.54. Apparently I bought a lot of ebooks

LS March 25, 2014 um 6:16 pm

I haven’t been following this story as close as I should, do Canadians get any money back at some point? I know Canada was filing anti-trust suits but never heard if we will ever get money back too.

Nate Hoffelder March 25, 2014 um 6:24 pm

I don’t think so, which frankly isn’t fair. If you bought ebooks from Amazon during that time then you were harmed just as much as a US consumer.

LS March 25, 2014 um 6:46 pm

Ok thanks for letting me know. Yes, not fair at all! When I first joined Sony & Amazon I was buying straight from the US stores so you’d think I should get something for that at the very least. I bought a lot of books during that time so getting money back would have been a nice surprise!

carmen webster buxton March 25, 2014 um 8:19 pm

I got just under $30, which is a lot more than anyone else I know IRL, so I am happy to hear of people who got more. I was feeling a bit like the guy who takes out his trash can and the neighbors notice it’s full of beer cans.

Tyler March 26, 2014 um 5:31 am

I received anotice from Amazon and received 73 cent credit.

I also received a credit from Barnes and Noble today and they gave an explanation to how prices were decided….

Titles were assigned a value based on whether they had been New York Times Bestsellers during their publishing history. New York Times Bestsellers are valued at $3.17 and Other Books are valued at $0.73.

Alison March 26, 2014 um 9:12 am

I got over quite a bit (over $100!!!)

Keishon March 27, 2014 um 9:01 am

I received $60.38 credit from Amazon and over $100 from B&N. Even with the ebooks on my wish list there isn’t anything I’m wanting to buy right now which is funny. I have a year to use it so, no rush.

Barnes & Noble Now Issuing Refunds for the eBooks Antitrust Settlement | Ink, Bits, & Pixels July 7, 2015 um 10:01 am

[…] may have been the first ebook retailer to issue a credit for ebooks purchased during the agency era but they're not the only to do […]

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