Settlement pay-outs are here

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, 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:

Category Non-Minnesota Minnesota
NY Times Bestsellers $3.17 $3.93
Other Books $0.73 $0.94

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:

Customer FAQ for Attorneys General E-book Settlements (at AmazonSmile)

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

The Writer’s Guide to E-Publishing

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.


30 Responses to “Settlement pay-outs are here”

  1. loneybaloney Says:

    My reward was $98.58.

  2. Zebras Says:

    Wow. $7.30 for me, and it doesn’t sound like a lot, but I started Kindling during the whole “agency wars,” and it made me more aware of pricing, and I chose what I read with an eye on the budget, and didn’t think I had bought many “agency” books. So, I will definitely very thoughtfully choose where to spend this nice little windfall.

  3. E-book settlements are here: “Don’t give them your money back” Says:

    […] Settlement pay-outs are here […]

  4. Jill Mora Says:

    I received 59.86, what a NICE surprise that was. I got something from itunes too, but haven’t looked yet it’s probably not much since I usually buy all my books from Amazon.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jill!

      If you did get something from iTunes on this settlement, I’d be interested in hearing more about that…

      • Jill Mora Says:

        I got $1 and some change, 46¢ or something like that, I knew it wouldn’t be much. I think I bought maybe one book from itunes. 🙂

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Jill!

        Thanks for letting me know!

        It would be $1.46 if you bought two non-bestsellers, and you weren’t in Minnesota, so that’s probably what happened.

  5. Steve Says:

    30.71. I’d like to think that we came out a bit ahead. When the agency model started we avoided best sellers and favorite authors that we normally would have bought in first release hardback until we could get them used or in paperpack. But between my wife and I, we still bought a lot of books that had the Amazon disclaimer – price set by … We also permanently broke the habit of buying at the top price. At least with us, the publishers lost in more ways than one.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Steve!

      Yep…they really helped the indie publishing market grow! 😉 On the other hand, the bestsellers often were Agency Model books, so they perhaps were doing better in the short run.

  6. jjhitt Says:

    $11.93 and I turned around and gave it back to HarperCollins, buying a $13.91 book that has been on my wishlist for over a year.

  7. Lady Galaxy Says:

    Whoa! I got a credit of $69.64! As promised, I’m going to donate that amount to the local library for use with their summer reading program for children. I’ll probably round it up to $70.

  8. Joe Bowers Says:

    Wow, seventy-three cents, now I can get that Porsche I’ve had my eye on! I came to the Kindle/e-book thing pretty late, so I’m actually surprised I got anything at all, but the rest of you make me feel like a piker!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Joe!

      Um…make sure that “Porsche” isn’t spelled “Porcshe” on that seventy-three center…there’s a slight possibility it’s a counterfeit sports car. 😉

  9. D. Knight Says:

    $11.68 for me, and it surprised me, as I didn’t expect very much at all. I tended to avoid agency books back then, but obviously not as much as I thought!

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, D.!

      I haven’t gone back to look, but I suspect that gifts bought for other people might be involved in our case…

  10. Jennifer Jeffreys Martin Says:

    I got $85.97 ! I am so excited. I think I’ll take my time spending it and make every dollar count. Probably buy a lot of Indie books. This is like Christmas in March! Being particularly broke right now, I’ve been feeling quilty over every .99 book I bought lately.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Jennifer!

      You don’t quite catch loneybaloney, but I’m glad it came at a time you can really use it.

  11. Melissa Says:

    $70ish here. I didn’t expect so much…but I’m a sucker for new releases from favorite authors so I must have been indulging more than I realized. And this was before my library started building their collection up…

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Melissa!

      That’s a lot!

      Oh, that’s one thing! We do buy the Janet Evanovich books when they are new…that might be part of it for us.

  12. Edward Boyhan Says:

    $31.39 for me :D. I bought a book today for $1.99 and it was billed as $0.00 — they deducted $1.99 as “promotions”.

  13. K Myers Says:

    $5.11 here; I was rather reluctant to buy books from the price fixing publishers, so my credit is higher than I expected. I will spend it freely. Too bad for the publishers involved; their profits from my purchases would have spent much more than they were, and I would have been pushing their sales numbers much higher by purchase and by recommendation if the whole thing had not occurred.

  14. Carolyn perreau Says:

    got $45. am buying higher priced books that I’ve wanted. I also wait for book. prices to drop. some authors irritate me. after a gazillion books why not drop the price. kind of reminds me of walmart. they have billions. and we pay for their employees. welfare

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      LOL! I know exactly what you mean about some authors getting irritating after a gazillion books. For every series I’m sad to see come to an end, there’s always another one out there that should have ended centuries ago;)

  15. Cecy Says:

    I got $297. Basically, I was replacing my p-book collection so I could turn my book cases into badly needed pantry/linen storage space. Now I get to go through my wish list. 🙂

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Cecy!

      Wow! You are the new leader. 🙂

      You might want to take the opportunity to explore outside that wish list as well…good opportunity to take a few more risks…when they aren’t risky. 🙂

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