Apple EBook Antitrust Settlement: Credits May Be On Your Amazon Account

Back in March of this year, the U.S. Supreme Court made the decision not to hear the long-running case regarding Apple price-fixing their eBooks for the third time. This decision made the $400 million antitrust settlement final. On Tuesday, Apple started paying out the $400 million antitrust eBook settlement. If you have any type of eBook reader or are someone who purchases eBooks, there is a possibility you have credits for free eBooks from Amazon waiting on your account for you.

Customers start to receive eBook credits [Image via Shutterstock]Business Insider reports these are the guidelines which make an individual eligible for credits via the $400 million Apple antitrust eBook settlement:

  • If you purchased an eBook from a large publishing company between the dates of April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, you are eligible for credits.
  • The eBooks you purchased do not have to be eBooks purchased through Apple. They could have also been purchased through Amazon, Kobo, or Barnes and Noble.
  • The credits will be automatically applied to the account through the vendor you purchased the eBook through. The only exception to this is if you requested to receive a paper check instead.
  • If eligible, you will receive a $1.57 credit for any eBook you purchased from a large publisher and a $6.93 credit for any eBook you purchased that was on the New York Times bestseller list.
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According to Amazon’s website regarding the credits via the $400 million Apple antitrust eBook settlement, all Amazon customers were notified of the credits via email.

“We [Amazon] sent emails to eligible customers based on the criteria provided to us by the Attorneys General and Plaintiff Class. All eligible customers will have the settlement credit automatically applied to their accounts.”

Amazon also makes it clear on their website through frequently asked questions about the Apple settlement that the lawsuit has nothing to do with Amazon directly, and it is Apple who is responsible for funding the credits Amazon customers are receiving to purchase new eBooks.

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Why Are Customers Receiving Credits In The First Place?

According to CNET, it was in August of 2011 when a lawsuit was originally filed against Apple by two individuals who were accusing Apple of conspiring to fix eBook prices with five different eBook publishers: Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Holtzbrinck Publishers, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster.

The lawsuits concluded that, because of Apple and the other publisher’s actions, other eBook sellers were forced to increase their prices in order to compete with the prices. Thus, they were forcing customers to pay more for eBooks. Attorneys for the plaintiffs alleged that, by fixing the prices of eBooks some publishers were forced to push the price of some eBooks from the $9.99 that Amazon would have charged to $12.99 or even $14.99. According to Hagens Berman, a spokeswoman for the trial, those two prices are just examples to help better understand the price-fixing conspiracy Apple was accused of.

Apple was found guilty of violating antitrust laws by a US District Judge in 2013. Then, Apple was found guilty by an appeals court in 2015 for violating the same antitrust laws. Apple did request another appeal for their case, but the U.S. Supreme Court denied the appeal, forcing Apple to settle and begin the process of paying out the money owed in the $400 million antitrust eBook settlement to the eBook customers who deserved it.

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What If You Already Received eBook Credits Via Amazon?

The other five publishers, Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers, Holtzbrinck Publishers, Penguin Group, and Simon & Schuster, who were accused of the same antitrust violation as Apple settled before Apple went to trial. Thus, it is possible you have already received credits from those publishers. Credits being distributed this month are from a completely different settlement as they are part of the $400 million settlement Apple is responsible for.

“Previously, you might have received a credit funded by publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin. Credits distributed in June 2016 are from a separate settlement between Apple and a coalition of state Attorneys General, and by a Plaintiff Class,” was what Amazon had to say in response to the question above on their website.

Many Amazon customers have already discovered there Amazon credits as a result of the $400 million Apple antitrust eBook settlement and were a little surprised by just how much money they had received.

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While you should have received an email if you were entitled to any Amazon eBook credits as a result of the $400 million Apple antitrust eBook settlement, you should also be able to check your account directly for these credits.

[Photo by Hannelore Foerster/Getty Images]