Amazon and Other Book Retailers Issuing Refunds in E-Book Publisher Settlement

Amazon today notified customers they are eligible for a refund for books they purchased through the Kindle book store. The refunds were paid by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin as part of a settlement agreement in ebook price-fixing lawsuits filed by State Attorney Generals and other class-action plaintiffs.

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Amazon issued the settlement refund in the form of a Kindle book store credit that is automatically applied to a customer's Amazon account. The credit is valid for one year and must be redeemed before 03/31/2015.
Good news! You are entitled to a credit of $27.55 for some of your past Kindle book purchases. The credit results from legal settlements reached with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits filed by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs about the price of eBooks.

You don't have to do anything to claim your credit, we have already added your credit to your Amazon account. We will automatically apply your available credit to your next purchase of a Kindle book or print book sold by Amazon.com, regardless of publisher. The credit applied to your purchase will appear in your order summary. If your account does not reflect this credit, please contact Amazon's customer service.

For more information about the settlements, please visit www.amazon.com/ebooksettlements

Your credit is valid for one year and will expire after 03/31/2015. If you have not used your credit, we will send you another email 90 days before it expires to remind you that it is still available.

Thanks for being a Kindle customer.

The Amazon Kindle Team
Select book sellers like Barnes & Noble and Sony are expected to begin issuing similar credits today, with postcard checks from other booksellers being sent via mail to consumers starting March 27, 2014. You can find information on book retailers and their refund payment methods on the e-book settlement web site.

Apple also was included in the antitrust lawsuits, but refused to settle. After being found guilty in federal court of conspiring to artificially inflate e-book prices, Apple was barred from entering into anticompetitive deals with content providers and must submit to court-appointed compliance monitoring. The Cupertino company also could owe as much as $500 million in damages, which are yet to be assessed.

Apple recently appealed the verdict, calling the plan a "draconian and punitive intrusion into Apple's business, wildly out of proportion to any adjudicated wrongdoing or potential harm."

Top Rated Comments

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10 months ago
So let me get this straight. People VOLUNTARILY purchase an eBook, under THEIR OWN FREE WILL, and somehow they're aggrieved and entitled to compensation. Interesting.
Rating: 7 Votes
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10 months ago
$0.73 cents, I'm rich!!
Rating: 4 Votes
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10 months ago
An in store credit? Amazon benefits from the DOJ again!
Rating: 3 Votes
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10 months ago

So let me get this straight. People VOLUNTARILY purchase an eBook, under THEIR OWN FREE WILL, and somehow they're aggrieved and entitled to compensation. Interesting.


Clearly you don't understand the ramifications of the situation.

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I still do not see what Apple did that was wrong. Why is their business model acceptable for music and apps, but not for books? I am sorry to keep harping on this, but I have not seen a satisfactory answer to my simple question. Apple says, "charge what you will like, we take 30%." In theory, the book company could give the books away and Apple would get nothing like in the app store. And in the music store where you are limited to what you can charge, that would seem worse that what is going on with the books. So why is apple guilty and of what? The penalty does not matter they could pay $1b fine and not notice it, but what does matter is the principle as this could be a very slippery slope.


Because their model isn't what was in question - it's how they went about their "deal" making with the publishers.
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
10 months ago

An in store credit? Amazon benefits from the DOJ again!


Exactly. They'll issue $1M in "refunds" and gain 1.5M in sales as a result. Way to go, DOJ. You really showed them! :rolleyes:
Rating: 3 Votes
Avatar
10 months ago

So let me get this straight. People VOLUNTARILY purchase an eBook, under THEIR OWN FREE WILL, and somehow they're aggrieved and entitled to compensation. Interesting.


When they pay higher prices because of illegal activity, yes.
Rating: 3 Votes
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10 months ago
I received 73 cents back in an email confirmation this morning.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

Are Amazon only obliged to do this for US customers, or will it apply world-wide?

This is a case where the original article was very poorly written.
As far as I am aware, this is only for US customers.

Furthermore, it only applies to people who purchased eBooks published by certain publishers (who were convicted of wrongdoing) during certain dates. If you purchased outside those dates, the publishers allegedly did nothing wrong of the statute of limitations applies.

Amazon is not the party that is paying for the refunds, instead it is the publishers who are paying for the refunds, as they colluded with Apple to force Amazon to raise prices. Now on could say that Amazon should have stuck to it's guns, but had it done so, there would have been a lot of publishers that refused to sell on Amazon, which would have made them have a much weaker position now that the playing field is being leveled again.

Now, a few months back Amazon sent an email stating that they would be issuing these credits and that you had the option to receive a check instead. As I recall though, they offered to add additional credit to what you were entitled to if you chose to receive it as a credit. I don't remember how much extra it was, but I would think it was some percentage based number. So, unless you confirmed that you wanted a check, you agreed to receiving the credit. This is why they are allowed to issue the credit that is only valid for books.

Also, keep in mind Amazon was not one of the companies that was in on the collusion, they are simply facilitating the refunds. They actually could be considered a victim in this whole mess as well, considering Apple and the publishers colluded to change the entire eBook business model that Amazon had long established and they did this because eBooks were cutting into physical book sales, which is why the prices for eBooks are now about (or higher) than what the physical books are.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

Is there an argument with that somewhere or is it just a meaningless statement?




That's fair and voluntary for ya.




Hmm... Let's see. Did Apple force anyone to buy those books? Did they in any way coerce anyone, at any point to purchase something that they were offering? And by what measure did they overpay? You would have only paid $10 but they paid $12 so they overpaid? I'm a little confused over where the evil swindling happened.


Yep, you pretty much didn't get it. Like, 0% comprehension. Your comments indicate you didn't understand who was complaining, how the compensation cash flows, why it flows that way, etc. It's hard to tell whether you are being willfully obstinate or just lack basic knowledge. I suggest you put the time in to understand the case, and basic principles of jurisprudence, if you want to know more. Or read the other comments; most of the people in the thread do at least understand the basics, even if they disagree.
Rating: 2 Votes
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10 months ago

Why is Amazon allowed to issue credit that can only be used towards the purchase of books? That's essentially the judgment amount afforded to Amazon customers going straight into Amazon's pocket. If I felt swindled in this case, as a consumer I certainly would want the option of cold, hard, cash, not some stupid in-store credit. And since the credit can only be used towards the purchase of books, it ends up back in the publisher's hands anyway. What a strange case.

All retailers (so not only Amazon, also Apple, B&N, Kobo ecc...) will issue account credits unless a check request was sent before the 21 October 2013 deadline. The only exception is Sony which for some reason will automatically send checks without the need for a check request. https://ebooksagsettlements.com/CheckRequestOption.aspx

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Now - interestingly enough - these credits expire 1 year from now. So does Amazon keep the money that was given to them? Are they only able to collect on credits that were spent. I would think that via auditing, Amazon is only going to receive a check from the publishers equal to the credit that was spent.

The info site provides an answer: https://ebooksagsettlements.com/FrequentlyAskedQuestions.aspx

23. What happens to any funds remaining after the distribution to consumers?

ANSWER:
If consumer funds remain after the initial distribution, the Settlement Agreements state that these funds should be saved for any future consumer distribution resulting from a settlement or judgment. Any funds left over from that distribution will be given to one or more charitable organization(s) whose purposes relate to reading, literacy or access by the public to electronic books or as otherwise directed by the Court. This is called a cy pres distribution. If a cy pres distribution is made, the percentage of any funds that can be attributed to purchases made by class consumers may be given to Reading is Fundamental, a non-profit organization dedicated to motivating children to become lifelong readers, or to another literacy group acceptable to the Court.

Rating: 2 Votes
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