As of Tuesday, June 21, customers that purchased e-books from Apple and select retailers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 will begin receiving payouts as part of a $450 million antitrust settlement levied against Apple and five of the nation’s largest publishing companies.
Hagens Berman Sobol Shapiro LLP, the class-action law firm that handled the case, says eligible consumers will receive a $6.93 credit for every e-book which was a New York Times bestseller and a $1.57 credit for other e-books. Credits will automatically be loaded into the accounts of consumers at major book retailers including Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple.
Those who elected to receive cash in lieu of credits should receive their checks soon. Anyone that received a credit during the first round of distribution of publisher settlements and didn’t opt out will automatically receive a credit.
The law firm said this represents one of the most successful recovery of damages in any antitrust lawsuit in the US as the payback amount is more than twice the amount of losses suffered by the class of e-book purchasers.
In 2012, the Justice Department filed an antitrust lawsuit against Apple and major publishers over e-book price-fixing. Members of the suit allege that Apple worked with five publishers in 2010 to artificially raise the prices of e-books which the law firm says caused the price of e-books to increase 30 to 50 percent. The publishers all settled early on but Apple decided to fight it out in court.
A federal judge in 2013 found Apple guilty and after a series of failed appeals, Apple is being forced to pay the $450 million settlement. Only $400 million will go to consumers with the remainder earmarked for legal fees and states involved in the suite.