Three publishers who were accused of fixing e-book prices agreed to pay consumers $69 million to settle a multistate antitrust lawsuit.
Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers and Simon & Schuster will compensate consumers who purchased their e-books from April 1, 2010, to May 21, 2012. The settlement involves purchases that were made in 49 states and five U.S. territories. Minnesota is the only state that isn’t involved in the settlement.
The settlement also will compensate customers who purchased e-books from Macmillan and Penguin Group, but those publishers haven’t settled with authorities yet.
Consumers will begin to receive payments 30 days after a federal court in New York finalizes the settlement. It’s unknown at what date the court will make its final ruling.
According to the lawsuit, the five publishers conspired with Apple to drive up the price of e-books to $12.99–$14.99 in April 2010 after Apple introduced the iPad tablet computer. Retailers weren’t allowed to discount from that price.
As part of the settlement, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster agreed to end accords that they had made with retailers that prevent the retailers from reducing e-book prices. For the next 2 years, the three publishers are prohibited from making new arrangements that prevent retailers from reducing the price of e-books.