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Amazon Kindle eBook Users To Get Refunds After Settlement 90

Posted by samzenpus
from the have-some-cash dept.
hypnosec writes "Amazon, in an email to Kindle owners, has a revealed that following the settlement in the eBook price fixing lawsuit customers will be entitled to refunds between 30 cents and $1.32 on each book purchased. If the $69 million settlement is approved, the funds will be provided as credits to customers directly in their accounts. Users may request checks for the amount of credit that has been applied to their accounts. 'If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books,' wrote Amazon in the email."
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Amazon Kindle eBook Users To Get Refunds After Settlement

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  • And I note prices for Kindle books are now in the range of 50 cents to $20. In fact a lot of books I've purchased have been in $1 to $5 range. Pretty cool if you ask me.
  • by 93 Escort Wagon (326346) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:46PM (#41651321)

    I may get a few bucks out of this - but my wife is probably looking at some serious money! Which probably just means she'll go on a book-buying spree...

    So, basically, this money will end up going to Amazon.

    • by gehrehmee (16338)

      a) You and your wife will have more book than you did before.

      b) If you would have bought those books anyways, Amazon will have lost the money you would have spent on them.

      • a) You and your wife will have more book than you did before.

        b) If you would have bought those books anyways, Amazon will have lost the money you would have spent on them.

        Right on the first point. As to Amazon losing money though... no they won't, the money is coming from the publishers, not Amazon, so if you spend it on Amazon they at worst are getting the same money you might've spent on those books without the refund.

    • by ThatsMyNick (2004126) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @03:10PM (#41651463)

      Unless you buy books authored by the Amazon, most of it will go to the authors (and publishers).

      • Unless you buy books authored by the Amazon, most of it will go to the authors (and publishers).

        Most?

        Since when?

        • I am only familiar with KDP, the royalty for which is 70% (unless for some reason you dont allow lending). I assume publishing houses agree on better deals, than KDP. So yeah, I would expect most money to go to authors (and publishers).

      • If the court approves the settlements, the publishers will pay for e-book refunds that will be applied automatically to the Amazon.com accounts of eligible customers. Customers can use the refunds to purchase Kindle books or print books or request a check for the amount of the refund.
  • by p0p0 (1841106) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:46PM (#41651323)
    Why make millions and give your customers a good value, when you can make tens of millions and rip everyone off? It's so stupid a fool could see what's wrong, but unfortunately these companies didn't have any fools on the board of directors.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      This. At some point there was a shift from providing good business to profiting by any means. I blame management schools or something because it is very widespread and endemic amongst managerial types. I get that people are trying to drive the numbers as high as possible, but at some point ethics was taken out of the equation of the 'cost to do business' and instead replaced by fines/fees/settlements/etc arising from things usually caused by ethics violations.

      It's like if the cost of getting a driver's l

      • by Dogtanian (588974)

        But there are a bunch of other considerations, like going to jail, having to take the time to pay out, and having the police find your drug trafficking operation, that aren't being figured in here. This is an analogy of what the business types are thinking.

        So are you suggesting that the Amazon bosses *are* or *aren't* concerned about the police finding out about their secret drug trafficking operation?

        Actually, they have a special "Drug Trafficking Department" page, but given the amount of time it takes to find *anything* on Amazon these days, I suspect that they're confident the police are unlikely to stumble across it ;-)

        • I thought the High Prices were being forced on Amazon by the publishers. so it's more a case of Legacy Media Trying to keep a dead/dying business model alive like the **AA
        • Re:Not Surprising (Score:4, Interesting)

          by moronoxyd (1000371) on Monday October 15, 2012 @02:51AM (#41655355)

          This money doesn't come from Amazon.
          It's from the publishing houses that colluded on price issues following Apples demand.
          Amazon is just delivering the settlement money to its customers as Amazon knows who bought what.

      • This. At some point there was a shift from providing good business to profiting by any means.

        Nah. Profiting by any means is as old as business itself, up to and including literally ambushing and robbing customers. It isn't good business, however, if your idea of good business involves repeat customers and you don't hold a monopoly. Remember: give a man a fish, and he'll sponge off you for a day. Teach a man to fish and you can bleed him for the rest of his life, because you own the lake that you rent him access to, you bloody conniving bastard!

        What did turn for the worse is the ascendence of the "b

  • Users may request checks for the amount of credit that has been applied to their accounts.

    Users may also request that Amazon employees reimburse them with oral sex. But will they honor these requests?

  • Do the courts even make a real attempt to punish corporations any more? The cash really goes the lawyers and the customers get the bread crumbs.

    I tell you what, if want just, let the lawyers get reimbursed in the same portions and methods as their customers. If Amazon rips you off $100 and you get a $0.10 coupon for it. The lawyer who asks to get paid $1 million dollars should get $10,000 in coupons for purchasing e-books.

    I bet you would see some justice. If not, lawyers getting screwed like, well that

    • Re:What a Joke (Score:5, Informative)

      by Ksevio (865461) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @03:06PM (#41651439) Homepage
      In this case, Amazon wasn't the one price fixing e-books, it was the publishers. The money is just being returned via amazon who went with the account credit method. It saves a lot of processing fees, and most people who buy books on Amazon are going to buy other stuff on Amazon anyways. It isn't like Sony giving out $1.00 to be spent on more Sony CDs because of something Sony did. Amazon wanted lower prices just as much as the people buying the books.
      • by Mabhatter (126906)

        Wonder how they managed to make it so easy? Surely, you'd have to mail some kind of postcard in.... Which you would only receive if you registered your book with the publisher...

        Making it so easy is clearly Anazon getting back at the lawyers so there are no "unclaimed funds".

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Unlike physical retailers, amazon knows exactly who you are and which books you bought, so they can credit you back exactly instead of making you mail in receipts you would have probably thrown away years ago.

      • The publishers are stupid.

        Amazon created a hostile environment for books in the $10-$19.99 range. At $0.99-$9.99, you get 70% of the sale price as royalties and Amazon keeps 30%; whereas at $10+ you get 35% and Amazon keeps 65%. That means that the profits at $20 are equal to the profits at $9.99, and the profits at $10 are equal to the profits at $5. The market effect of a price point of $20 instead of $9.99 is huge: the books cost twice as much, people can buy half as many, and if they're buying from

        • by Quirkz (1206400)
          Are you sure about that? I haven't sold anything through them, but I thought I understood the 65% was only applied at the low end - books under $2 or $3, and that it was 35% for everything above that point. I don't ever remember hearing about another transition higher up the price scale.

          My system makes a little sense, because there's some fixed costs that need to be made up for on really cheap items, hence the higher percentage for really cheap items. A pricing scheme like you cite wouldn't have any real
    • Re:What a Joke (Score:5, Informative)

      by Kalriath (849904) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @03:08PM (#41651447)

      Perhaps read the story? Amazon isn't the defendant in the case, and Amazon isn't actually giving out any money. They're simply disbursing funds on behalf of the real defendants, Harper Collins, Hachette, and Simon and Schuster.

      The real story though, is that they've finally destroyed the Agency Model that Apple introduced to force Amazon to charge whatever the publishers decided they wanted to charge, which means Amazon will finally be able to reduce the price of eBooks to historic levels.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The real story though, is that they've finally destroyed the Agency Model that Apple introduced to force Amazon to charge whatever the publishers decided they wanted to charge, which means Amazon will finally be able to reduce the price of eBooks to historic levels.

        Yes, I too am looking forward to Amazon regaining their monopoly.

        • Are you saying that Apple can't compete with Amazon unless it forces Amazon to set a particular price?

          So basically we're looking at a monopoly with lower prices, or at a duopoly with higher prices and price collusion. Gee, I wonder what I should prefer as a customer?..

    • by nurb432 (527695)

      Do the courts even make a real attempt to punish corporations any more? The cash really goes the lawyers and the customers get the bread crumbs.

      Who is the system run by? THe lawyers.

    • Do the courts even make a real attempt to punish corporations any more? The cash really goes the lawyers and the customers get the bread crumbs.

      Normally I'd agree with you - but, in this case, the suit was brought by a bunch of state Attorney's General. I could be wrong, but I don't think they'd be contracting with private firms.

      • by mcgrew (92797) *

        the suit was brought by a bunch of state Attorney's General.

        That State's Attorney has a General? I thought General was an Army rank?

        Or are you not a native speaker and don't understand apostrophes?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Do the courts even make a real attempt to punish corporations any more?

      Everything you said after this doesn't take away from the fact that the corporation that broke the law IS paying out. Are the lawyers 'representing' the class members making out with an excessively large share of it? Yes. But that doesn't make it any less of a punishment of the corporation.

  • stick it to them (Score:5, Interesting)

    by amiga3D (567632) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @02:48PM (#41651343)

    If you really want to make them pay, force them to send you a check for that 30 cents. The cost of processing it will far outpace the measly 30 cent check.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Why stick it to someone who just won a lawsuit on your behalf? Looks like someone stuck it to you by short changing you on a reading comprehension education.

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        I know you are just an AC but try to keep up. The summary states "Users may request checks for the amount of credit that has been applied to their accounts." The article directs you to a website where you can request a check by the settlement attorneys. You do know that these attorneys charge the losing party for all costs associated with this don't you? If you've ever dealt with an attorney you would. They charge for every single call, sheet of paper, ink pen, staple, stamp and what have you. I bet y

    • by Anonymous Coward

      This would only make sense if I were never going to buy another ebook again. Otherwise you are advocating me spending the time to demand a check, open a check, sign a check, driving to the bank and depositing it, and put the funds back into Amazon to buy books. My costs will far outweight the costs of them automatically processing a measly 30 cent check. (Not to mention the waste involved in that offends my sensibilities.)

      • by amiga3D (567632)

        Really. Just throw the check away. You'd be out 30 cents and there out a bunch of dollars involved in processing and mailing it to you. How simple does it get really? Now magnify by all the tens of thousands of checks they have to send out and you see where they start to really hurt.

  • International Sales (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Russ1642 (1087959) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @04:06PM (#41651813)
    Is this only applicable to sales made to US customers?
  • "Amazon, in an email to Kindle owners, has a revealed

    Has a revealed?

    that following the settlement in the eBook price fixing lawsuit customers will be entitled to refunds between 30 cents and $1.32 on each book purchased.

    Have you met the comma [wikipedia.org]?

    the funds will be provided as credits to customers directly in their accounts. Users may request checks for the amount of credit that has been applied to their accounts.

    Wow, that's a torturous couple of sentences. How about "the funds will be credited directly to customers' accounts, or by check if requested." Still, credit to the submitter for not just blindly copying and pasting straight from the article.

    "'f the Court approves the settlements

    What is this, missing initial letter day? Just had the exact same thing in another summary.

    • by vlueboy (1799360)

      "'f the Court approves the settlements

      What is this, missing initial letter day? Just had the exact same thing in another summary.

      That is an error due to copy-and-paste oversignts: A sentence boundary like the "I" is easy to miss with the mouse, especially if it is a period or an I. On my smartphone's touch screen, selecting a block of text to copy is a huge pain. Must start over until the right start AND end are selected.

      I hope that got resolved in newer versions of Android, but my provider won't update mine anyway. Gone out the window are "intuitive" desktop tricks like selection-pushing a page up and down when your "cursor" signals

      • by omnichad (1198475)

        Right, on the smartphones, the cursor when selecting is often just a vertical bar (Identical to I in Arial) and not even the I-beam shape which is slightly distinguished from the I, especially a non-serif I. When selecting on a smartphone you can't tell whether the cursor is before or after that initial I without a careful look.

  • by welshsocialist (542986) <hoshie@mailinator.com> on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:13PM (#41652315) Homepage

    It appears that Apple is also involved with this settlement. Here's the email I just got:

    Benefits from an Attorney General E-books Settlement Fund

    Para una notificación en Español, llamar o visitar nuestro website.

    [Settlement ID Number]

    Records indicate that you are eligible for a payment from Settlements reached by the State Attorneys General with electronic book publishers Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. The Settlements resolve an antitrust lawsuit about the price of electronic books. Apple Inc. (“Apple”) has not been sued in this case. It is assisting in providing this notice as a service to its customers.

    What the Settlements Provide

    The Settlements create a $69 million fund for payments to consumers who purchased qualifying electronic books from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012. If the Court approves the Settlements, eligible consumers like you will receive credits to your iTunes account. The credit can be used on any purchases of electronic books. The amount of your payment has been determined based on the qualifying electronic book purchases identified by Apple in your iTunes account.

    How to Receive your Benefit

    Because you are pre-qualified, you do not need to do anything at this time to receive your credit. If the Court approves the Settlements, you will receive another email letting you know how to activate your credit. Once you activate the credit, it will be applied to your account by Apple. (If you bought electronic books from more than one retailer, you may receive notices with different instructions about whether you will receive a credit or need to file a Claim Form for that retailer. You will have a separate claim for each retailer and you should follow the specific instructions from each one.)

    You also have the option to receive a check instead of your credit. You can request a check by calling 1-866-621-4153, or going to the Settlement website listed below, and clicking on the Check Request Option link. Be sure to reference the Settlement ID number found at the top of this email. The Settlement website is:

    www.EBookAGSettlements.com

    Your Other Rights

    You can choose to exclude yourself from the Settlements and keep your right to sue on your own. If you exclude yourself, you can't receive any benefits from the Settlements. If you don't exclude yourself, you can submit objections about the Settlements.

    Your written Exclusion Form or objections must be postmarked by December 12, 2012. Please visit the Settlement website for detailed information on how to submit a valid Exclusion Form or objection.

    A separate lawsuit against two other publishers and Apple continues and is set for a trial in 2013. Apple denies the allegations in that lawsuit. Your rights in the separate suit are not affected by any action you take in regards to these Settlements.

    The Court will hold a hearing on February 8, 2013 at 10 a.m. to consider whether to approve the Settlements. You or your own lawyer may ask to appear and speak at the hearing.

    For more detailed information:
    Call 1-866-621-4153 or Visit www.EBookAGSettlements.com

    • Actually this all started because of Apple wanting to try and monopolize the e-book market. They created an 'Agency Pricing' format that precluded other companies from selling e-books at a level lower than Apple's prices and if they didn't agree to this they could not sell books from that publisher.
      • So the agencies that are being sued now can sue Apple for causing them to get sued and demand recompense for this bunglefuck. This is why you should just use the Baen Free Ebook Library.
  • Typical.... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Lumpy (12016) on Sunday October 14, 2012 @05:55PM (#41652633) Homepage

    Lawyers get Billions to buy an island and have solid gold audi cars. the people ACTUALLY harmed get nothing at all.

    Why don't class action lawsuits have a cap on what he lawyers can make? They should be capped at $300.00 an hour or $500,000.00 whichever is smaller, before taxes.

    • by tuppe666 (904118)

      Lawyers get Billions to buy an island and have solid gold audi cars. The people ACTUALLY harmed get nothing at all.

      Why don't class action lawsuits have a cap on what he lawyers can make? They should be capped at $300.00 an hour or $500,000.00 whichever is smaller, before taxes.

      This has nothing to do with lawyers involved in a class action lawsuit. This is 100% to do with Apple and Five Book Publishers being a bunch of evil crooks...they formed a cartel to fix prices, hurting the free market and the consumer. Its about the "U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division" investigating Apple and the five publishers for two years, and getting them to reimburse money stolen by Apple from customers, and they have been told not to conspire for a further 5 years. Interestingly they do

    • Fine, cap it - hopefully that will result in the number of class action lawsuits going down (a win-win!).

      Remember, the "class" don't hire the lawyers, the lawyers are committing to the risk all on their own, no ones going to cover their costs if the lawsuit fails. So why should it be capped? If you want a higher rate of return, you can always opt out of the class action and bring your own lawsuit, but you are going to have to cover the risk yourself as well...

      • Class action suits are raised to punish companies in a case where you can get $25 out of them in small claims. You and ten million other people.
        • But they aren't raised by the "class" - which is my point. People routinely bitch on here about the lawyers getting huge payouts while the class participants get next to nothing, when its pretty clear which one of those two is bearing all the risks. If you don't like the class action method, you are welcome to take the risk on yourself and take the matter to court privately...

          Also, its unlikely that major overarching judgements that come out of class actions (such as this one - the death of a particular b

          • Right. You'd have to bring suit, get your $25, pay your lawyer $400. Bring suit, get your $25, pay your lawyer $400. Everyone has to do this so they have to pay their lawyers a lot of lawyer fees and pay out money. In the end, you wind up battling the for legal fees which you can't always extract.
            • Bingo - and in a class action, the class never have to pay the lawyer fees because those are either absorbed by the other side, or absorbed by the lawyers themselves.

              Hence why the bitching about the lawyers getting large amounts of money is pathetically ridiculous.

              • No it's just entitlement. It's like this: Jimmy kicked dirt in your face so you go bitching that Jimmy is bad. Jimmy's mum punishes Jimmy. Jimmy can't come out to play now. And you're like, wait, what the fuck? HEY! HEY!!!! WHAT THE FUCK JIMMY'S MOM! YOU BITCH WHERE'S MY ICE CREAM!!!
    • Dude gold is dense as fucking hell. A solid gold Audi would be a slow fuel hog.
  • As a Canadian, I wonder how this will work out.
    Currently, the price of many mainstream/popular eBooks exceed (sometimes greatly) the $CAD price of their paperback counterpart.
    The paperback price is also $2-3+ higher than the US counterpart, despite the CAD being at par or higher than the USD. The (lame) argument for this has traditionally been the extra costs for shipping the books to Canada etc.

    So if this reduces the overall eBook price to something reasonable, will I as a Canadian be able to buy an eBook

  • I'm just hoping the refund will cover the price of The Fifty Shades of Grey Trilogy.

That does not compute.

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