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Amazon Kindle Users Receive Credits in Settlement of E-book Antitrust Class Action

Elizabeth DiNardo, Esq. | Associate Counsel

On June 21, 2016, Amazon.com users who purchased certain e-books between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 received credits from the website as a result of a final resolution to a four-year long price-fixing class action with Apple. According to the U.S. Justice Department, in 2010, Apple, Inc. and five major publishing houses conspired to inflate the price of e-books.

The scheme to inflate prices coincided with the introduction of the iPad, which Apple was hoping would become a rival to Amazon’s popular e-reader, Kindle. At the time, Amazon controlled 90% of the book market. By 2012, when the Justice Department uncovered the scheme, Amazon controlled just 60% of the book market.

Three of the involved publishers, Hachette, Harper Collins and Simon & Schuster, agreed to settlements in 2012, and the remaining two publishers, Penguin and Macmillion, settled in 2013. The publishers all signed agreements that prohibited them from restricting e-book retailers, like Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from setting prices. Apple appealed the case to the Supreme Court; however in March 2016, the Court chose not to hear case.

Affected consumers may use credits through June 24, 2017 on all Amazon products, excluding Amazon gift cards.

The case is: In Re: Electronic Books Antitrust Litigation Case No. 1:11-md-02293


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