Settlement pay-outs are here
I just got this e-mail from Amazon:
eBooks Antitrust Settlement Information
Dear Bufo Calvin,
Good news! You are entitled to a credit of $11.20 for some of your past Kindle book purchases. The credit results from legal settlements reached with publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin in antitrust lawsuits filed by State Attorneys General and Class Plaintiffs about the price of eBooks.
You don’t have to do anything to claim your credit, we have already added your credit to your Amazon account. We will automatically apply your available credit to your next purchase of a Kindle book or print book sold by Amazon.com, regardless of publisher. The credit applied to your purchase will appear in your order summary. If your account does not reflect this credit, please contact Amazon’s customer service.
For more information about the settlements, please visit Information for eBooks Antitrust Settlement (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*) [link added to e-mail]
Your credit is valid for one year and will expire after 03/31/2015. If you have not used your credit, we will send you another email 90 days before it expires to remind you that it is still available.
Thanks for being a Kindle customer.
The Amazon Kindle Team
That’s more than I expected, since I didn’t think we bought that many books under the Agency Model, but it’s still nice. :)
Here is the breakdown:
|NY Times Bestsellers||$3.17||$3.93|
Check your e-mail: you may have one, too. However, it’s worth noting that you don’t need to check anything: the credit will apply automatically when you buy a Kindle store book or a paperbook from Amazon.
A few notes:
- This has nothing to do with Amazon having done anything wrong. I’m sure a lot of people will think, because they are being notified about the credit from Amazon, that Amazon is being forced to pay them for something. Amazon is simply the conduit for getting you the money that the publishers are being forced (well, agreed) to pay out for their actions
- This is also unconnected to the US Department of Justice legal action against the publishers and Apple (Apple is appealing the decision against them). This is a separate legal action, brought by the Attorneys General of most of the US States and some US territories
- This specific pay out is for Amazon customers. Customers who bought qualifying e-books from other sources are entitled to the settlement…but the mechanism for getting it may not be as easy as this
Here are Amazon’s FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) on it:
and here is the general page for the settlement (not just Amazon):
The short story on what made this happen:
Amazon transformed the e-book market with the introduction of the Kindle in 2007 and its own e-book store.
Amazon priced many (it was never promised to be all e-books) bestsellers and recent releases at$9.99, sometimes taking a loss on a sale.
The publishers didn’t like that. One of their concerns was “price value perception”…that the customers would get the idea that a book (paper or e-book) should cost $9.99, and that that would hurt their p-book business.
The publishers, prompted by Apple (according to the DoJ case) instituted a new pricing model, where the publishers set the prices customers paid (“the Agency Model”).
The Attorneys General sued on behalf of the customers, saying that this resulted in higher prices.
The publishers involved settled, agreeing to pay the customers back.
Now, I think one of the most interesting things here is that you can use this credit to buy books from any publisher.
That’s something to consider.
If you take your settlement and use it to buy books from a publisher which wasn’t part of this (an independently published book, perhaps…or, you know, ten of them!), that is really making a statement to the ones who did participate (Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin…and all of their various imprints).
I am an independent publisher like that, in a very minor way (I’ve only published my own works through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing). I also am not particularly mad at the tradpubs (traditional publishers) who settled.
However, I can certainly see indies using this for advertising: in fact, I think I’ll suggest that over at
after I finish alerting you. :)
I’m going to suggest an ad like, “Don’t give them your money back”.
It’s nice to see this chapter closed…enjoy your books!
What do you think? Did you get an e-mail? Was it more or less or about what you expected? Are you going to spend the money any differently (perhaps splurging on a more expensive book) than you normally would? Is this a fair result, or should have there been bigger (or smaller) penalties? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.
Nominate a child to be given a free Kindle at Give a Kid a Kindle.
* I am linking to the same thing at the regular Amazon site, and at AmazonSmile. When you shop at AmazonSmile, half a percent of your purchase price on eligible items goes to a non-profit you choose. It will feel just like shopping at Amazon: you’ll be using your same account. The one thing for you that is different is that you pick a non-profit the first time you go (which you can change whenever you want)…and the good feeling you’ll get. Shop ’til you help!
This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.