US consumers to receive Apple e-book refunds

US consumers to receive Apple e-book refunds

Consumers in America are set to receive reimbursements for e-books today (21st June) following the end of the e-book price-fixing ruling in March.

Customers will receive $6.93 credit for every New York Times bestseller they purchased and $1.57 for every other e-book in refunds as part of the $400m compensation owed to customers following the conclusion of the e-book price fixing case involving Apple and the US Department of Justice.

Retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo and Apple will email customers who have accounts and offer them the credits today (21st June), Publishers Marketplace reported.

While the money doesn’t have to be spent on books, it is likely to mean a boost for the publishing industry in the US, because books are the major product on offer through the Kobo and B&N websites, for example.

The credits will expire after a year if they are not spent.

The windfall for customers follows the end to the e-book price fixing ruling, “one of the most contentious legal dramas in modern publishing history", after the Supreme Court in America refused to take up Apple’s appeal in March this year.

The outcome meant $400m (£281.9m) in refunds had to be paid to customers, along with $50m in fees and legal costs.

In July 2013, Judge Denise Cote ruled that Apple conspired to raise the retail prices of e-books with publishers HarperCollins, Hachette, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan, in a case brought by the US Department of Justice. Apple had denied it.

Publishers settled their cases and paid $166m in settlement funds to consumers in 2014.