Did you get one of these in your email inbox yesterday? Perhaps yours was from Barnes & Noble.
during the period covered by the lawsuit.
In April of 2012, the Department of Justice filed a Civil Complaint (pdf) against Apple, Hachette SA, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin and Simon & Schuster for restraint of trade. A complete description of that action can be found in All Things Bookstore: e-books, Amazon, Apple, the Big Six and the Independent Bookstore.
Basically, in order to raise the prices of eBooks from the $9.99 that Amazon was charging, the publishers conspired with Apple to change the marketing of eBooks from the traditional wholesale model to an agency model. The purpose of the change was to allow the publishers to set the prices on all eBooks, depriving the retailers of any ability to discount eBooks. The retailers would receive 30% of each sale. Apple also wanted price tiers with price caps and, in order to avoid being beaten by Amazon, they demanded a Most Favored Nation clause that would prevent Apple prices from being undercut by discounts from other eBook retailers.
According to Adam C. Engst, writing for TidBITS, there isn't anything legally wrong with any or all of these requirements, the problem is their combination in negotiating deals with the six publishers that control nearly 50% of the book market and over 90% of the New York Times bestsellers. (Random House did not join the conspiracy.)
Once the agency model was in place, ebook prices from those publishers rose immediately. Roughly two weeks after the move, prices at Amazon rose 14.2 percent for new releases, 42.7 percent for New York Times bestsellers, and 18.6 percent overall. Publishers raised prices for their hardcovers as well, to bump them into higher price tiers, and increased prices for their backlist books, older titles that sell relatively few copies each, but which form the long tail of book sales.By February of 2013 all five publishers had agreed to a settlement with the DOJ that required them to cease their anti-competitive practices. Apple refused to settle, lost in court and has been appealing the loss ever since. Bloomberg Businessweek speculates that Apple is preparing to take its case to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, lawsuits were brought by the Class Plaintiffs and Attorneys General of thirty three jurisdictions against the publishers and Apple, seeking monetary damages. A settlement in these cases was reached with the five publishers and was approved by Judge Denise Cote of the US District Court for the Southern District of New York in December of last year. That settlement included the sum of $166 million in damages. This is the source of the credit you may have received from B&N or Amazon.
Eligibility for a share of the settlement is based on your purchase of one or more eBooks from one of the five publishers (including their imprints) between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 and your residency in the United States, DC, or one of the US Territories at the time.
According to the terms of the settlement, how much you get, if you live outside of Minnesota,
...will be affected by how many qualifying E-books you purchased. There will be two levels of payments, based on categories of E-books. The amount to be paid per eligible E-book are as follows:Minnesota reached a separate agreement whose terms can be found at Minnesota E-book Settlements.
- New York Times bestsellers: $3.17 per E-book. These include titles that were New York Times bestsellers at any time, irrespective of when you purchased the E-book.
- Non-New York Times bestsellers: $0.73 per E-book. These E-books include any titles that were not New York Times bestsellers.
But it is not over yet because Apple is not included in this settlement. Plaintiffs can recover up to triple the damages that were established at trial. In the cases against the publishers, because they never went to trial but settled with the DOJ, triple damages did not apply, and the sum of $166 million is only about 70% of the actual damages. But since Apple's guilt was established at trial, the damages come to $840 million according to the lawyer representing eBook customers. This phase is expected to take place later this summer and will also be presided over by Judge Denise Cote.
In the meantime, I have some shopping I need to do.
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|DAY||TIME (EST/EDT)||Series Name||Editor(s)|
|SUN||6:00 PM||Young Reader's Pavilion||The Book Bear|
|2:00 PM||What's on Your E-Reader?||Caedy|
|2:00 PM||Bibliophile's Wish List||Caedy|
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|Bi-Monthly Sun||Midnight||Reading Ramblings||don mikulecky|
|MON||8:00 PM||Monday Murder Mystery||michelewln, Susan from 29|
|Mon||11:00 PM||My Favorite Books/Authors||edrie, MichiganChet|
|TUES||5:00 PM||Indigo Kalliope: Poems from the Left||bigjacbigjacbigjac|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||LGBT Literature||Texdude50, Dave in Northridge|
|alternate Tuesdays||8:00 AM||All Things Bookstore||Dave in Northridge|
|Tue||8:00 PM||Contemporary Fiction Views||bookgirl|
|Wed||2:00 PM||e-books||Susan from 29|
|Wed||8:00 PM||Bookflurries Bookchat||cfk|
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|Thu (first each month)||11:00 AM||Monthly Bookpost||AdmiralNaismith|
|alternate Thursdays (on hiatus)||11:00 PM||Audiobooks Club||SoCaliana|
|FRI||8:00 AM||Books That Changed My Life||Diana in NoVa|
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|Fri||10:00 PM||Slightly Foxed -- But Still Desirable||shortfinals|
|SAT (fourth each month)||11:00 AM||Windy City Bookworm||Chitown Kev|
|Sat||12:00 PM||You Can't Read That! Paul's Book Reviews||pwoodford|
|Sat||9:00 PM||Books So Bad They're Good||Ellid|