Thursday, April 3, 2014

Publisher Price-Fixing Lawsuit: Amazon Issues E-credits to Customers Who Overpaid

Last week, Amazon started sending out ebook credits to customers as a result of the lawsuit against several publishers for collaborating to fix the price of ebooks. These credits will compensate customers who overpaid for books between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. 

If you shopped for Amazon ebooks a few years ago, you would have noticed that the prices for ebooks could be even more expensive than their physical counterparts, particularly if a book had been out for a while. At ten to thirteen bucks a pop, ebook prices were even higher than their mass market paperback counterparts, but because the prices between major publishers had been fixed due to collaborations, there was little competition to drive the prices down for customers. 

Customers who bought ebooks from the Nook, iTunes, and Kobo stores will also receive some form of compensation (Consumerist). 

Your Amazon account will get an ebook credit if:  
  • You bought an ebook from Amazon between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.
  • The ebook was published by any one of the publishers included in the legal settlements: Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin.
As indicated in the photo above, purchases of New York Times bestsellers are reimbursed $3.17 and other ebooks get 73 cents (USA Today). 

A settlement with Apple for price-fixing has not yet been reached (Consumerist). Apple had pushed these publishers to adopt the agency model, which let the publishers instead of the retailer determine the selling price of ebooks. 

If you're curious about how the agency model business started and how it affected both publishers and booksellers, Macstories has an in-depth explanation with graphics of Understanding The Agency Model And The DOJ’s Allegations Against Apple And Those Publishers

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