| NEW YORK, March 25
NEW YORK, March 25 In the end, one of the
highest-profile antitrust cases in years failed to make much of
an impression on some of the very people the lawsuit was meant
Customers of Amazon.com Inc and other e-book
retailers on Tuesday began receiving notices of their shares of
a $166 million settlement with five of the biggest book
publishers, all accused of conspiring with Apple Inc to
raise e-book prices.
For many customers, the sums took the form of credits to be
spent on books through various e-book retailers, including
Amazon's Kindle Store.
Many were underwhelmed with their new found loot, and
hundreds who received their credits from Amazon took to social
media to deride their paltry share. Many reported receiving less
than $10 and as little as 73 cents.
"I got 73 cents LOL hey that's almost a book!!" tweeted one.
Tweeted another: "I got a whopping $5.11 from the US vs
Apple et al. ebook antitrust case. Glad to know these lawsuits
really help the little people."
The settlement with the publishers resulted from lawsuits
filed in 2011 and 2012 by the U.S. Justice Department, state
attorneys general and private attorneys. Private class counsel
who represented 23 states in the publisher settlements were
awarded more than $10 million in legal fees.
The lawsuits accused the publishers and Apple of conspiring
to raise the prices of e-books and undercut Amazon's e-book
dominance. The scheme caused some e-book prices to rise to
$12.99 or $14.99 from the $9.99 that the online retailer
charged, the suits alleged.
DAMAGES TRIAL FOR APPLE
Apple, which has not settled, faces a May trial date to
determine the damages it owes. Last year, a federal district
court judge found the company liable for its role in the alleged
Counsel for the class that brought the suit have defended
the settlements with the publishers for collecting more than 50
percent of the alleged damages and say they still hope to win
more from Apple.
The settlement with the publishers means a large chunk of
the $166 million they paid has been funneled to the coffers of
e-book retailers, including Amazon, which has the largest share
of e-book sales.
Under the terms of the settlement with the publishers,
eligible consumers include anyone who bought one of the
defendants' e-books between April 1, 2010, and May 21 2012.
The amount received depends on how many books a customer
bought that were published by defendants. Customers are eligible
to receive $3.17 for each New York Times bestseller and $0.73
for each non-New York Times bestseller.
The settling publishers were Macmillan, Penguin Group (USA)
Inc, Hachette Book Group Inc, Simon & Schuster Inc, and
HarperCollins Publishers LLC.
Consumers were given until Oct. 21, 2013, to request a check
instead of credits. But even some who opted to receive a check
could not because retailers in some instances were unable to
link the identification of the claimant with a store account. In
those cases, the consumers were instead provided store credits.
Amazon on its website apologized for any inconvenience
caused by the issue and said it hoped consumers would use their
credits and "enjoy the wide variety of Kindle book or print
(Reporting by Andrew Longstreth; Editing by Eric Effron and