Apple e-book settlement payouts start rolling in

Call it the electronic version of finding a five, ten, or even a $20 bill on the ground. That’s what it was like to wake up and see in an email that my Amazon account now held an $8.50 credit.

Of course, no one willingly gives away money, and this “windfall,” if you will, wasn’t just from the goodness of Amazon’s heart. In fact, it wasn’t really from Amazon at all, but Apple.

Yes, I, like probably millions of others who have bought an e-book or two over the last few years, got a piece of the $400 million that Apple agreed to pay to settle an antitrust case dealing with book price-fixing. The Justice Department brought the original case against Apple back in 2012, alleging the company colluded with five major book publishers to raise the prices of e-books and impose higher prices on Amazon. The e-commerce giant had become a thorn in the side of the book-publishing industry due to its slashing of prices on physical books and the success of its Kindle line of e-book readers.

A screen shot of what a settlement e-mail looks like.

A screen shot of what a settlement e-mail looks like.

Apple lost the initial lawsuit in 2013, and agreed to the $400 million settlement price in 2014. The company still tried to appeal the settlement, but last year, the Supreme Court decided to not hear Apple’s arguments. That lack of action by the high court left Apple to abide by the terms of the settlement, and led directly to Tuesday’s payout e-mails to Amazon and other e-book sellers.

The settlement covers e-books bought from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and even Apple during the period between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. However much you spent on your books, and whether or the titles were New York Times bestsellers, will determine the amount of your credit. Those settlement payouts can also be used on items other than e-books. The credits are valid until June 24, 2017.

Let’s see…$8.50…Well, if I hadn’t jumped the gun a couple of days ago, I could have used that on the Bose Wave SoundTouch Music System IV – Platinum Silver that I bought for my wife’s birthday. That would have knocked the price down to…uh…well…If I knew a rebate was possible, I would have bought more ebooks on Apple’s settlement dime.

Photo:¬†Apple’s iBooks 2 app is demonstrated for the media on an iPad at an event in the Guggenheim Museum January 19, 2012 in New York City. ¬†(Mario Tama/Getty Images).


Tags: , , , , ,


Share this Post