A settlement notice has gone out to customers of Apple iBooks who purchased books from Macmillan and Penguin. A $162.25 million settlement fund has been established by the publishers for minor payments to victims of ebook price collusion.
The two publishers rolled over in the face of the U.S. Department of Justice antitrust case against them, three of their competitors, and Apple. All of the publishers settled with the DOJ and various states who also sued over price collusion, while Apple took its case to trial, lost, and is in the process of appealing its conviction.
This letter concerns only the settlement of Penguin and Macmillan.
The letter points to a website set up for the settlement, and included in the frequently asked questions (FAQ - question #11), customers who purchased New York Times bestsellers from the two companies will receive $3.06 per title. Customers who purchased "any titles that were not New York Times bestsellers" from these publishers will net $0.73 per title.
The refund will come in the form of an iTunes credit—customers won't have to do anything to get the credit, but they will have to "activate" the credit.
"Because you are pre-qualified, you do not need to do anything to receive your credit," the letter we saw said. "If the Court approves the Settlements, you will receive another email letting you know how to activate your credit. Once you activate the credit, it will be applied to your account by Apple."
The letter also specified that the monies from this settlement will be combined with all of the other settling publishers' settlements, so don't hold your breath waiting for it. Also, the courts must still approve these settlement terms, but this stuff has been been hammered on by all parties involved for a while.
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