Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman announced e-book consumers in New York can soon expect to receive $11.5 million in compensation pursuant to a settlement with five of the six largest e-book publishers over an anti-competitive lawsuit.
New York, along with 32 other states, filed the lawsuit in April 2012 alleging Apple Inc. and the five publishers had conspired to fix the prices of e-books, forcing customers to overpay.
Each of the five publishers included in the lawsuit settled before the case went to trial. They were Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C., Simon & Schuster Inc., Macmillan and Penguin Group Inc.
Nationwide, consumers are estimated to receive $166 million in compensation. New York residents will soon receive $11.5 million, according to Schneiderman.
“Illegal actions by these publishers forced consumers in New York and across the nation to pay artificially inflated prices for e-books,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “Companies engaging in such anti-competitive conduct will be punished — and starting today, those injured by their actions will start to receive full and fair compensation.”
Those who bought e-books between April 2010 and May 2012 can expect to receive a credit on their e-book accounts from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo or Apple. If the e-book was purchased from Sony or another claimed retailer, consumers can expect a refund check in the mail.
It is still unknown how much Apple will be fined. A second trial is expected this year to determine damages the company must pay.
Last summer, a federal judge in Manhattan found Apple guilty of facilitating and executing a conspiracy by attempting to fix the prices of e-books. Under its model, Apple received 30 percent of the purchase price.