Amazon.com tells customers: settlements a "big win"

Amazon.com has begun telling customers that they may be eligible to receive a refund on e-books purchased between April 2010 and May 2012, describing the settlement agreements as a "big win for customers" and saying that it looked forward to "lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future".

The internet retailer sent emails to customers in America on Saturday (13th October) explaining they could receive a refund of between 30 cents and $1.32 for e-books bought between that two-year time period. Customers will receive $1.32 for each title that was on the New York Times bestseller list during the claim period, and 30 cents for each title that wasn't a bestseller, which will be automatically refunded to customers’ accounts. The credits can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books.

The email said: "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."

S&S, HarperCollins and Hachette Book Group USA agreed to settle a lawsuit after an antitrust investigation into the agency agreement accused them of fixing the price of e-books. The three publishers have agreed to pay $69m into a fund to pay for the refunds.

A hearing in February is expected to determine if the court will approve the settlement and only then will the refunds be paid. An official website for the State Attorneys General E-book Settlements has now been launched.