New Email from Amazon Promises Up to $3 Per eBook in Agency Pricing Antitrust Settlement
Apple might still be fighting a rear-guard action in the anti-trust lawsuit they lost last month, but the settlement between Apple’s 5 co-conspiring publishers, the DOJ, and the State Attorneys General is moving forward.
Amazon sent out an email this morning with a new update on the settlement. Did you buy one or more ebooks between 1 April, 2010 and 21 May, 2012 that was published by Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin or Macmillan?
If so, this settlement will affect you. The email is at the end of the post, but here’s the tl;dr version.
First, this email only affects Amazon and their customers. If you need information about how the settlement affects ebooks purchased through other retailers, you can find it on the official website that was set up by the state attorneys general:
According to Amazon, the anti-trust settlement with the 5 publishers is moving forward at what I would describe as a relatively fast pace. The agreement involving Penguin and Macmillan, the last 2 publishers to settle, is due to go before Judge Cote in December. If it is approved by the judge and not appealed by the defendants then a credit will be applied to your account at Amazon.
Yes, it has been over a year since the indictment was announced and the first 3 publishers settled, but this is still a relatively fast pace when compared to some cases. For example, the product liability lawsuit Daedalus v Ithrak, seller of wax, is still winding its way through the Greek courts.
Amazon did not name a set date on when you will get the credit from Amazon, but they did indicate that (assuming you qualify) it would happen automatically and that "it is estimated that it will range from $0.73 to $3.06 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased".
Why the big difference?
If the ebook you bought was an NYTimes best seller at some point then you’ll get the $3.06. But if the title never made it on to the NYTimes best seller list then you’ll get the lower amount.
This email also reminds us that we have the option to object to or exclude yourself from the settlement. You can also request to attend the December 2013 hearing on the settlement. If you choose to do any of these things you can find the necessary info on the official website:
Dear Kindle Customer,
Last fall we notified you that you are entitled to a credit for some of your past Kindle book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories. We wanted to let you know that two more publishers have since settled with some State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs and these new settlements may increase the amount of the credit you will receive. A formal notification from the Court about these settlements is included below.
You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. If the Court approves the settlements in December 2013 and there is no appeal, a credit will appear automatically in your Amazon.com account that can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your account. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, it is estimated that it will range from $0.73 to $3.06 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased. To be eligible, you must have a U.S. billing address and must have purchased a Kindle book published by Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin or Macmillan between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. These publishers will provide the funds for the settlements. If you have already requested a check instead of a credit in response to the notice you received last fall, that request will cover these additional settlements and you do not need to do anything else. If you would like to request a check, you may do so by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below. You can learn more about the settlements at www.amazon.com/help/
In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to control eBook prices. We think these settlements are a big win for readers.
Thank you for being a Kindle customer.
The Amazon Kindle Team
Benefits from E-books Settlement Fund
Para unanotificación en Español, llamar o visitarnuestro website.
Records indicate that you are eligible for a payment from Settlements reached by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs with E-book publishers Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC, (known as Macmillan) (“Macmillan”) and Penguin Group (USA) Inc.(“Penguin”). The Settlements resolve Plaintiffs’ claims against Macmillan and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits about the price of electronic books (“E-books”). Amazon has not been sued in these cases. It is providing this notice as a service to its customers.
What the Settlements Provide
The Macmillan and Penguin Settlements, together with settlements previously approved by the Court, create a $162.25 million fund for payments to consumers who purchased qualifying E-books from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012. If the Court approves the Macmillan and Penguin Settlements, eligible consumers like you will receive automatic credits to your E-reader accounts. The credit can be used on any purchases of E-books or print books. The amount of your payment has been determined based on the qualifying E-book purchases identified by Amazon in your E-reader account.
How to Receive your Benefit
Because you are pre-qualified, you do not need to do anything to receive your credit. It will be applied to your account by Amazon automatically, and you will receive another email letting you know when it’s available. Please note, while this notice is for the Macmillan and Penguin Settlements, your payment from all settling publishers will be combined and issued as one credit for your Amazon E-reader account. (If you bought E-books from more than one retailer, you may receive notices with different instructions about whether you will receive a credit or need to file a Claim Form for that retailer. You will have a separate claim for each retailer and you should follow the specific instructions from each one.)
You also have the option to receive a check instead of your credit. You can request a check by calling 1-866-621-4153, or going to the Settlement website listed below, and clicking on the Check Request Option link on or before October 21, 2013. Be sure to reference the Settlement ID number found at the top of this email. The Settlement website is: www.EBookAGSettlements.com.
Your Other Rights
You can choose to exclude yourself from the Macmillan and/or Penguin Settlements and keep your right to sue on your own. If you exclude yourself, you can’t receive any benefits from that Settlement. If you don’t exclude yourself, you can submit objections about the Macmillan and/or Penguin Settlements.
Your written Exclusion Form or objections must be postmarked by October 21, 2013. Please visit the Settlement website for detailed information on how to submit a valid Exclusion Form or objection.
The antitrust lawsuit against Apple, Inc. continues. Your rights in the separate suit are not affected by any action you take in regards to these Settlements.
The Court will hold a hearing on December 6, 2013, at 3:00 p.m. to consider whether to approve the Settlements. You or your own lawyer may ask to appear and speak at the hearing.
image by florence wang
Popup September 2, 2013 um 5:44 am
Does this affect non-US residents? I would assume not, but it’s not clear from the wording.
I bought some books that look like they should have been covered, but I didn’t receive the e-mail, and no credit shows up in my amazon.com account. (I buy from Amazon.com, even though I live in Switzerland.)
Candy September 13, 2013 um 11:59 am
when it says sold by amazon digital services and doesn’t specify a publisher, are these included?
Nate Hoffelder September 13, 2013 um 12:05 pm
Those are probably KDP titles.
carla November 2, 2013 um 2:50 pm
I’ve been a VERY GOOD client of Amazon for over 13 years. I receive correspondence from them constantly for any little thing. Yet I didn’t get a letter from Amazon about the anti trust settlement until a full year after the first letters went out and only when I’d been on the line with them for hours trying to figure it out. I found out from Barnes and Noble in a general email and from the AG’s office. I spent upwards of 20+ hours over a course of days talking to various reps. No one in Amazon customer service knew anything. I finally forwarded a fax to the legal dept at Amazon asking for a check rather than a refund. I purchase upwards of 200 books a year so I knew something was going on when I was told that my digital account only went back as far as 12/2010. The time between 2010 and 2012 was non existent in my digital account. Funny but that’s the same time frame that is pertinent to the ebook anti trust refunds. Also when I forwarded my fax to the legal dept as I was instructed to do, legal promptly forwarded it to Executive Customer Relations. A diligent and professional employee tried to find evidence of my purchases but no luck. I’ve never seen anything like this. Amazon keeps track of EVERYTHING. How can every digital purchase, and only digital purchases, be gone? Now it’s going to technical staff to find out what happened here. I am disappointed because I don’t believe this will end well for me. I did ask a hypothetical question that resulted in some disturbing circular responses: What happens to any excess monies that should be applied to customer accounts in some way or another, if the customer can’t prove the purchases either on their account on line or on their Kindle?Are there excess monies when all is said and done? How does an entire history of purchases just disappear? Also, isn’t this money that has been handed over to retailers by the big 5 publishers to settle with customers. It’s not like Amazon can keep any of this money right?