portsmouth-dailytimes.com

Ohio e-book purchasers in line for cut of settlement

October 19, 2012

Frank Lewis


PDT Staff Writer


If you purchsed certain electronic books (e-books), you should be looking for an email from retailers where you purchased your books, because you could be part of a $69 million national settlement with several publishers.


Attorney General Mike DeWine is reminding Ohioans who may have purchased certain e-books that the notice process is under way in the settlement announced earlier this year, to resolve antitrust claims of an alleged unlawful conspiracy to fix the prices of e-books. Approximately $2 million of the settlement will be allotted to Ohio consumers.


“This settlement helps consumers who were overcharged to get back some money for their past purchases,” Attorney General DeWine said. “We hope to ensure competitive e-book prices in possible future purchases.”


DeWine said consumers affected by the settlement should have begun to receive emails from the retailers where they purchased their e-books. Consumers who purchased e-books through Apple or Sony will have received emails showing the sender as State Attorneys General E-book Settlement (Administrator@vertismail.com).


Additional information about the settlement and the credits can be found at www.EBookAGSettlements.com, or by calling toll-free 866-621-4153.


Consumers who bought one or more qualifying e-books and who follow the instructions in their notices will either receive a credit into their e-book retailer account or a check. Distribution of checks and/or credits varies among e-book retailers. There will now be two levels of payments, based on categories of books. The exact amount to be paid per e-book in both categories is not finalized.


For those cases where consumers may have to file a claim, the deadline to do so is Dec. 12, 2012.


In the settlement with 55 attorneys general in states and U.S. territories announced in August, Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., and Simon & Schuster Inc. agreed to pay a total of more than $69 million to the State Attorneys General on behalf of consumers to resolve antitrust claims of an alleged unlawful conspiracy to fix the prices of electronic versions of printed books. The publishers have also agreed to change the way they price e-books going forward.


In addition, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster have agreed to terminate their existing agency agreements with certain retailers, requiring the publishers to grant retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, the freedom to reduce the prices of their e-book titles. For two years they will be prohibited from making any new agreements that constrain retailers’ ability to offer consumer discounts or other promotions which encourage the sale of e-Books.


Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications.com