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Macmilllian, Penguin issue settlement notices to e-book customers

updated 12:45 pm EDT, Fri August 30, 2013

Publishers expected to pay out over $162 million

Two of the five publishers accused of conspiring with Apple to inflate e-book prices, Macmillan and Penguin, have started issuing emails to e-book customers, informing them of rights, responsibilities, and proposed terms in the legal settlement the companies negotiated. Under current terms, the publishers would distribute approximately $162.25 million to customers who bought e-books at any digital outlet between the iBookstore's launch on April 1st, 2010 and May 21st, 2012.

Shoppers participating in the settlement would get $3.06 per book that has ever appeared on the New York Times' bestseller list, but just $0.73 for each non-bestseller. A special exception would be made for residents of Minnesota, who would get a higher amount because they weren't included in an initial round of settlements.

People who bought books through Amazon would get an automatic account credit, while Apple, Kobo, and Barnes & Noble shoppers would have to manually authorize credit, or alternately ask for reimbursement via check. E-book buyers have until October 21st to object to the settlement or exclude themselves from it; a December 6th hearing will decide if the terms are approved.

Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have already gained court approval for their own settlement agreements. Still in flux is Apple's own settlement, the terms of which have been softened considerably since an original Department of Justice proposal.

By Electronista Staff


  1. daqman

    Junior Member

    Joined: 09-15-00

    I got an email today and deleted it thinking it was a scam. The email I got came from an email address that I had never heard of and didn't look legit, and had links that didn't look good either. How do you tell if something like this is the real deal??

  1. Stuke

    Forum Regular

    Joined: 02-11-05

    In today's multi-device/computer world, try to use one device only for "fishy" stuff, with your junk email address accounts setup on it (plus our everyday accounts) just to guard against viruses, etc. if your device starts acting wonky, reformat it. This strategy works great for me.

  1. Inkling

    Senior User

    Joined: 07-25-06

    Note the silliness of this settlement. One ebook you bought just makes it on the NY Times list and you get $3.06, while another just misses and you get only 73 cents. If what these publishers did was a crime, it shouldn't depend on later irrelevancies or what one among many bestseller lists includes.

    The real crime is that to satisfy an urge to engage in political grandstanding or, more likely, to help Amazon dominate the ebook market, these two publishers now have over $160 million less to invest in new authors. That'll make them much more risk adverse. There'll be great authors you'll never get a chance to read because the lawyers at the DOJ are tasteless thugs.

    If DOJ lawyers wants to go after greed and conspiracies, it should take on lawyers. Every lawyer that threatens someone with a cease-and-desist letter is engaged in an implicit conspiracy with the lawyer you're forced to hire. Both lawyers end up getting rich at our expense.

    And the entire legal profession is a party to that conspiracy. Why? Because there are no professional standards that punish and require lawyers who abuse those letters to pay damages. If you'd like a parallel imagine a doctor who, not getting enough patients, hangs around shopping centers and threatens to file child abuse charges against parents if they don't do what he says. That's not only law, that's professionally acceptable law.

    And the $300/hour and up many lawyers charge works out to an annual salary of $600,000 a year. I doubt few, if anyone, at these publishers makes that kind of money.

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