Refunds for Ebooks

A new legal settlement promises to put money in your pocket!

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Refund Ebooks

If you purchased an ebook between April 2010 and May 2012, you could be rich! That’s because three major book publishers settled a class-action lawsuit with forty-nine of the fifty American states (sorry Minnesota residents) and other territories, a suit that claimed Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster colluded to inflate ebook prices. Two other publishers, Penguin and Macmillan, refused to settle and will go to court next year to argue their case.

According to an email I received from Amazon.com this weekend, those affected by the suit should expect to receive (once the case is finalized next year) a credit on their accounts based on items they purchased from the three publishers: $1.32 for all New York Times Bestsellers, and $0.30 for everything else. Readers who made these purchases from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, or Kobo don’t have to do anything; the credit will appear on their accounts. Refunds from Google, Sony, and other retailers require additional paperwork.

The Amazon email I received calls this a win for readers. But readers were already winning. The typical ebook price, even for New York Times Bestsellers, is typically half to one-third of the equivalent hardcover edition. If these major publishers were colluding to raise prices on books and control the market, they were doing a lousy job at it. It always amazes me that someone would sue a company for what already amounts to be a great deal. The lawsuit also gives booksellers like Amazon more discretion in setting the prices of individual books, which does seem reasonable.

If you are a lover of class-action lawsuits or simply want more details on the case, visit the settlement web site, ebooksagsettlements.com.

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Tim Patrick is a software architect and developer with more than 30 years of experience in designing and building custom software solutions. He is the author of multiple books on Microsoft technologies, and was selected as a Microsoft MVP for his support to the programming community. Tim earned his degree in computer science from Seattle Pacific University.

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