This weekend Amazon sent an alert to all of their Kindle customers, informing them of a recent antitrust lawsuit settlement over ebook pricing (some people are calling this a ‘class action’ lawsuit, but it was actually an antitrust suit filed by the government). The settlement is expected to be approved sometime in February 2013, at which time those who have purchased Kindle books can expect to see an estimated credit of $0.30 to $1.32 per each eligible Kindle book that they purchased.
The antitrust lawsuit was filed by the US Department of Justice (DOJ) against Apple, as well as ebook publishers Harper Collins, Macmillan, Hachette, Pearson, Penguin and Simon & Schuster. The lawsuit alleged that all of the named companies were in collusion to fix the prices of e-books, and take down Amazon’s $9.99 ebook pricing structure. The lawsuit claims that, “Defendants’ ongoing conspiracy and agreement have caused e-book consumers to pay tens of millions of dollars more for ebooks than they otherwise would have paid.” Apple, claims the DOJ, put ebook vendors at a disadvantage with pricing negotiations by signing contracts with the named publishers before the introduction of the first iPad in 2010.
Of the companies named in the antitrust lawsuit, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette have agreed to settle, resulting in the credits that Kindle users can expect to see after February 2013. The credits will be applied towards qualifying books that were purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. The credits will automatically appear in users’ accounts or, if the user so wishes, they can request a check in the amount of the total credit due back to them.
Aside from the credits that Kindle users will receive, it is believed that the lawsuit will also create limitations on future e-book price fixing, in turn saving millions for Kindle users in the future. With this settlement, Kindle users can most likely expect to see lower Kindle e-book prices than before, and that is a huge win for the avid reader!