U.S. customers who purchased e-books from Apple, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other e-book sellers should begin receiving payouts on Tuesday, as part of the $450 million settlement Apple agreed to pay after being found to have conspired to fix e-book prices.
Customers will receive a $6.93 credit for each book purchased that made it on the New York Times Bestseller List, and $1.57 credit for other e-books they purchased from April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.
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.
Apple and five book publishers – HarperCollins, Simon and Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Macmillan, and Penguin – were all charged by the U.S. Department of Justice of colluding to fix the price of e-books in 2010. The publishers all settled early in the process, but Apple maintained its innocence and opted to wage a battle in court, although they were ultimately found guilty in 2013. A series of appeals were to no avail, and Apple was finally forced to pay the $450 million settlement.
Not all of the $450 million amount will go to e-book buyers, as $30 million will go to
lawyer’s yachts legal fees, and $20 million will go to states who were involved in the lawsuit.