Finally, Amazon may be sending you money.
The online bookseller today sent out an email to some of its Kindle e-book purchasers explaining that are entitled to a credit. The amount will vary depending upon the person's purchases and not every customer is entitled.
The email read:
"Good news! You are entitled to a credit of XXX 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."
The credit has already been applied to the Amazon customer's account, however the credit will only remain on the books until March 31, 2015. Those most likely to be on the receiving end bought an e-book from one of the publishers between April 2010 and May 2012. Books that made it onto the New York Times best seller list got $3.17, and for those books that did not make that list the refund is $0.73.
This is the end result of a lawsuit brought in April 2012 by the Department of Justice when it sued Apple and the five above mentioned publishers for colluding to fix e-book prices to keep them artificially high.
The lawsuit alleged the following. Book publishers were upset with the e-book pricing levels that Amazon had in place since 2007. At that time many titles were sold for $9.99. So the booksellers went to Apple just before it launched the original iPad in early 2010 in an effort to coerce Amazon into increasing its e-book prices. Shortly after the iPad was introduced Amazon rolled out a price increase.
The case was settled in December when a Federal court gave its approval to the deal reached with the five publishing houses.
Apple, the lone defendant remaining, is stated in February that is appealing the ruling.
In the appeal Apple pulled no punches, stating the judge's ruling was a departure from modern antitrust law, would hurt innovation and competition and harm consumers.
"Apple had no knowledge that the publishers were engaged in a conspiracy in December 2009 or at any other point," the company said in the appeal.
"The Plaintiff's have also shown that Apple was a knowing and active member of that conspiracy. Apple not only willingly joined the conspiracy, but also forcefully facilitated it," said U.S. District Judge Denise Cote disagreed.
On the case as a whole Cote wrote, "There is overwhelming evidence that the Publisher Defendants joined with each other in a horizontal price-fixing conspiracy. Through that conspiracy, the Publisher Defendants raised the prices of many of their New Releases and NYT Bestsellers above the $9.99 price at which they had previously been sold through Amazon."