Washington State Consumers To Get $2 Million In E-Book Price Fixing Settlement

One of the first settlement amounts to be announced in a nationwide agreement between various states and a group of three of the country’s largest book publishers comes today, as Washington state says e-book consumers will receive $2 million over allegations of e-book price fixing.

The state’s attorney general made the statement yesterday that the money is part of a $69 million antitrust settlement that Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. and Simon & Schuster Inc. agreed to. It’s been an ongoing issue for two years when the Connecticut and Texas Attorneys General and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Antitrust Division began investigating the publishers.

Not only will the publishers have to pay up, but they’ve agreed to allow online retailers price books competitively from now on, instead of having to sell them for what the publishers designate. Consumers who purchased books from the publishers can expect to receive notifications about their refunds soon.

Macmillan and Penguin are still embroiled in a case regarding similar claims of price fixing.

Wash. AG announces settlement with book publishers [Associated Press]


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  1. Dustbunny says:

    When I shop for Kindle books on Amazon I’m still seeing a message next to some saying “this price is set by the publisher”. I thought that was the kind of thing this settlement was supposed to put a stop to?

    • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

      Not all publishers are included in the agreement, so those publishers won’t be bound by the agreement.

      A quick spot check did find one Simon & Schuster book, though. Maybe there’s an effective date for later this year?

      • StarKillerX says:

        Or maybe the fact it has something to do with the fact that the agreement was just recently reached?

        Do we really expect everything to change overnight?

        • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

          Right … that’s what I meant by a later effective date.

          • StarKillerX says:

            Yeah, my reply was to Dustbunny, but maybe this is a sign that the site is getting better since at least my reply is on the page for the proper story? lol!

        • Dustbunny says:

          I seem to remember reading about the settlement several months ago. But yeah, I expect things to happen yesterday :)

          • kosmo @ The Soap Boxers says:

            I’m guessing that the broad concepts were agreed to months ago, and this is the finalization of the details of one portion of the larger settlement. I could be wrong, though.

  2. MaxH42 needs an edit button says:

    This is a great first step. Next we need to remove pricing requirements from movie and TV rights (i.e., VOD prices).

  3. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Texas Attorneys General, eh? So when is he going to deal with the stranglehold Texas has on classroom textbooks?

    • YouDidWhatNow? says:

      Right after he figures out that dinosaurs didn’t feed on men 6,000 years ago.

    • jojo319 says:

      When are text books going to stop costing $100 each? This is one thing I could never figure out. Politicians never seem to talk about text book prices. My niece is going to community college which is very reasonably priced…until she has to shell out $500 for 3 or 4 books every quarter. And I’ve had a hell of a time finding these ones for rental or even used due to ISBN numbers that never seem to show up.

  4. jojo319 says:

    I wonder if this is going to have unintended consequences. Publishers aren’t going to simply absorb this settlement. It will get passed on to the rest of us. some way, some how.

  5. StarKillerX says:

    Wait, what about Apple?

    The whole price fixing was instigated by Apple and yet they are mentioned at all.

    • elangomatt says:

      I imagine Apple isn’t mentioned at all because they are fighting the DOJ’s price fixing case against them. The publishers in this settlement are the ones that basically plead guilty and decided not to fight it out in court.

      • StarKillerX says:

        Well wouldn’t you think that if this was the case that those facts might be mentioned?

        I mean if 6 people are charged with a crime and 5 plead guilty the story will point out that the 6th person is fighting the charges against them so why not in this case?

        • elangomatt says:

          Maybe they are assuming it is common knowledge that Apple (and a couple other publishers I think) is fighting the charges against them. The publishers in this settlement were the ones that basically settled with the DOJ before the DOJ even officially announced the lawsuit. Find out that information would you know, actually require some research. The more research they must do, the fewer posts they can pump out a day.

  6. Blueskylaw says:

    So all the complaining from the publishers about how e-books are more expensive to produce
    than physical paper books with all their storage, handling, and transportation costs was bullsh*t?

    Well color me surprised >:-O

  7. Bender6829 says:

    I’ve nearly given up on e-books. They are nearly as expensive as the paper editions. I won’t buy any more unless they are at least 40% less than their counterparts.

  8. Leohat says:

    i used to live in WA, I own a kindle, how do I get in on the settlement?