Three Publishers Settle with 49 States
August 30, 2012 | 4:55 pm
By Dan Eldridge
Bloomberg Businessweek seems to have been one of the first publications to report that 54 attorneys general in (49 states and five American territories) have collectively reached a $69 million antitrust settlement with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster Inc., “over alleged price-fixing for electronic books.”
According to a press release from the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Connecticut, the three publishers “have agreed to pay a total of more than $69 million to consumers to resolve antitrust claims of an alleged unlawful conspiracy to fix the prices of electronic books (eBooks). They have also agreed to change the way they price eBooks going forward.” (Emphasis ours.)
Again, from Bloomberg Businessweek:
“Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi said in a statement that the settlement ‘will repay consumers affected by [the] price-fixing scheme and will restore competition in the electronic book market.’ She said about 97 percent of consumers will get notice of the settlement by e-mail.”
Interestingly, MediaBistro’s Galleycat blog is reporting that anyone who purchased an e-book “from any of the ‘Agency Five’ publishers [from] April 1, 2010 [through] May 21, 2012 will receive compensation. Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster,” the post goes on to say, “will pay consumers who purchased eBooks from any of the five agencies accused of price fixing, including Macmillan and Penguin, who have yet to settle. Payments will begin 30 days after the settlement gets its final court approval.”
Nevertheless, according to reports, the states’ lawsuits against Apple, Macmillan and Penguin Group is still in effect.
If you live in Minnesota, it seems, you’re out of luck in terms of being compensated for any price-fixed e-books you may have purchased during the months in question. For those of you who are expecting compensation, visit Engadget for details regarding how consumers will be contacted, and how they’ll be paid.