Buy Kindle Ebooks? You're probably getting a refund!Remember that price fixing case that Apple and a bunch of major publishers faced? Well, it looks like things are coming to a close. Amazon shot out an email letting us know that we should be getting a refund on some of our book purchases "as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories."
The publishers have apparently agreed to refund a small amount on each purchase made at the artificially inflated book price, which means you can expect between $0.30 and $1.32 back on your purchases. Not a lot, but hey, you might get enough to buy a couple more ebooks!
Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have already funded $69 million to pay for the settlement, even though it hasn't yet been approved by the court. They are getting prepared to put this behind them.
At this time, Apple, Macmillan, and Penguin have opted not to settle, and are taking this to court. Considering that three other major companies chose to settle, however, you might say that their positions are suspect.
Apple is ecstatic about the decision. They have been hoping for this finding for a while, and have complained extensively about the purported price fixing long before the case went to court. The main reason that they are excited is, in their own words, this:
in addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.
What does that mean? Well, book publishers have alway been able to charge what they want for their books. But until Apple negotiated a new deal, ebook companies could also set their own price. Usually, this price was higher than what the publisher set. But Amazon was known for setting it lower, since it helps lock people into their system.
Apple's deal changed that. The book publisher had complete control over the price that the book was sold at. It'd be a bit like Kelly Blue Book saying that you can only sell a used car for the value they set. It gave a lot of control over to the book publisher, and the deal treated Apple preferentially. Which is why Apple set it up in the first place.