/// Kindle Users To Get Refunds And Lower Prices on E-Books After Settlement

October 14, 2012  |  All Things Digital

Good news Kindle owners: If you’re the owner of an Amazon Kindle who’s bought e-books from certain publishers in the last few years, you’re getting a refund on past purchases and future purchases will be a little cheaper. But don’t too excited, unless you’ve been a really heavy buyer. In an email, to Kindle customers today, the retailer said that a legal settlement between the Attorneys General of most of the states in the union and publishers including Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins (which like this Web site is owned by News Corp.) entitles consumers to refunds of between 30 cents and $1.32 on each book purchased. Additionally the publishers will have less power to set future prices, which means that the prices on e-books for the Kindle may be a little lower in the near future. Collectively the three publishers agreed to pay $69 million to settle charges that they were fixing prices on electronic books. The settlement must still be approved by the court, and a final hearing is scheduled for February of next year. This all came about when the US Department of Justice decided to sue Apple and several publishers in a federal court in New York alleging that they colluded to inflate prices on electronic books as part of a plan to fight back against Amazon’s dominance of the e-book business. There’s a lot of detail in the original complaint via The Wall Street Journal here , and it’s worth reading The Journal’s story covering the initial filing of the suit from April. Essentially the DOJ claimed that the five publishers named in the suit banded together to boost the prices on best-selling books on the iTunes store to $12.99 or $14.99 and then agreed to force the same pricing structure onto Amazon. Attorneys General from many states quickly followed with a suit of their own. The three publishers named today had agreed to settle the case right away rather than bother with time-consuming and expensive litigation. Two others, Macmillan and Pearson, haven’t settled. Amazon was never a partner to the suit, but now is in the enviable position of letting Kindle customers know their getting both a refund and probably better pricing. At $69 million the settlement fund is relatively small, amounting to a little less than 3.5 percent of the $2 billion worth of e-books sold last year, and even smaller when compared to the $11 billion worth of old-fashioned paper books sold last year. The federal case is still ongoing, and as you can see from this collection of documents on the DOJ Antitrust Division site, Apple is still fighting the issue

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Kindle Users To Get Refunds And Lower Prices on E-Books After Settlement

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