How to find out if you are included in Apple's $450M e-book settlement

Posted:
in iPad edited March 2016
With the U.S. Supreme Court's refusal to hear Apple's appeal, the company will now dole out some $400 million to consumers to offset changes it caused in e-book pricing. Here's how to know if you'll get some store credit (or cash) back.

Book publishers
Late Apple cofounder Steve Jobs introduces iBooks iPad app and partner publishers in 2010. | Source: Apple


tl;dr: If you bought an e-book from a major publisher between April 2010 and May 2012 and you live in America, you may automatically receive a small credit (up to $6.54 per title) as part of Apple's settlement.

The official website for the settlement is ebooklawsuits.com, where interested parties can keep track of Apple's payout. On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to review Apple's appeal, which means the original $450 million settlement will be paid.

Per the terms of the 2014 settlement agreement, Apple will pay $400 million to e-book consumers. The remaining money will go to legal fees and to the states involved in the suit.

Importantly, the payout does not solely apply to e-books purchased through Apple's iBooks store. For example, Amazon.com told AppleInsider on Monday that the company is prepared to distribute settlement funds to Kindle customers as soon as they are instructed to move forward.

Consumers are included in the Apple settlement if they purchased a qualifying e-book from one of the five publishers involved in the suit during the time period in question. Those publishers are:

  • Hachette Book Group, Inc.
  • HarperCollins Publishers LLC
  • Macmillan, aka Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC
  • Penguin Group Inc.
  • Simon & Schuster, Inc. & Simon & Schuster Digital Sales, Inc.


The settlement applies to purchases made between the dates of April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. The settlement applies only to American citizens, and does not apply to rented, free or gifted e-books.

Citizens who bought an affected title will have their residency determined by the billing address of the credit card they used to buy the e-book.

Those who bought New York Times bestsellers in the appropriate window of time will receive between $6.05 and $6.54 per e-book. Non-bestsellers will result in compensation of between $1.39 and $1.50 per e-book.

E-book purchases from Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo will result in an automatic account credit. Purchases through Sony will result in a check in the mail. No forms are needed.

However, if you bought an affected e-book from Google or any other retailer and you didn't act, you may be out of luck: Purchasers who didn't use the services above were required to submit a claim form by Oct. 31, 2014. Those who submitted a form will be included in the settlement.




Similarly, if you wanted to exclude yourself from the Apple settlement, you're too late --?opt-outs had to be submitted by Oct. 31, 2014.

To ensure you receive the settlement funds, make sure your profile with the appropriate bookseller is up-to-date with your current email address and mailing address.

Finally, some e-book customers may have received settlement credits back in 2014, but that was a different payout associated with the publishers, not Apple. For that settlement, e-book buyers received a credit of $3.17 for each New York Times bestseller, and 73 cents for those not on the bestseller list. Apple's own settlement is a separate, additional payment.

As for how this legal defeat will affect Apple's bottom line, the answer is: not much. As of the end of last quarter, the iPad maker had nearly $216 billion in cash.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 15
    eightzeroeightzero Posts: 2,447member
    I'd be curious how many of the recipients of the funds even remember buying a qualifying book.
  • Reply 2 of 15
    teejay2012teejay2012 Posts: 277member
    Amazon and Jeff Bezos and their DOJ are just the best.  /s
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 3 of 15
    kevin keekevin kee Posts: 1,048member
    I have a feeling Apple has made itself an enemy of US government. It's now on the hand of Apple fans to support the company or it will be gone forever.
    rob53
  • Reply 4 of 15
    sirlance99sirlance99 Posts: 1,145member
    kevin kee said:
    I have a feeling Apple has made itself an enemy of US government. It's now on the hand of Apple fans to support the company or it will be gone forever.
    That's a little overly dramatic 
    mike1singularitydorkus maximusnapoleon_phoneapartgatorguyarlomedia
  • Reply 5 of 15
    NigeruNigeru Posts: 1member
    Quote: 
    "E-book purchases from Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo will result in an automatic account credit. Purchases through Sony will result in a check in the mail"
    Obviously Apple has to refund but why even Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Sony? I don't get it...Can someone explain it to me please?

    TIA

    nigeru
  • Reply 6 of 15
    nhughesnhughes Posts: 750editor
    Nigeru said:
    Quote: 
    "E-book purchases from Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble and Kobo will result in an automatic account credit. Purchases through Sony will result in a check in the mail"
    Obviously Apple has to refund but why even Amazon, B&N, Kobo and Sony? I don't get it...Can someone explain it to me please?

    TIA

    nigeru
    According to the government, Apple and the publishers conspired to strong-arm other booksellers (like Amazon) to switch to "agency" pricing, which led to generally higher prices for consumers on all major e-book platforms. Prior to the launch of iBooks, titles were sold through the "wholesale" model, which let Amazon set any price it wanted (including selling books at a loss). Once Apple entered the market, however, that gave the publishers enough clout to force Amazon to switch to the "agency" model. The federal government intervened, e-book contracts switched back to "wholesale," and consumers who paid more for e-books during that window are being reimbursed for higher prices.
    gatorguy
  • Reply 7 of 15
    entropysentropys Posts: 1,811member
    kevin kee said:
    I have a feeling Apple has made itself an enemy of US government. It's now on the hand of Apple fans to support the company or it will be gone forever.
    That's a little overly dramatic 
    In some ways it is, and other ways it isn't. I would suggest you do need to be vigilant, as once a freedom is given up, it is impossible to get it back.  And this isn't a left or right thing, government by its nature will always seek to extend its power.  In the USA context, it doesn't matter who it is, ROP or DNC, they want power. If they can't get it all, they will share it amongst themselves. It is a task of some vigilance for the ordinary citizen to keep a brake on that.
    And  if you challenge the state or the established system, in this case the book industry and the established distributors, if not the publishers, they will make things hard for you if they can get away with it.
  • Reply 8 of 15
    jfc1138jfc1138 Posts: 3,090member
    The way I read that most anyone who qualifies will simply find a credit to their account. Say those who bought through iBooks...
  • Reply 9 of 15
    I'm sorry to hear that the Supreme Court sat on its hands on this one. There are some real questions about the extent to which short-term public benefit outweighs fostering a long-term competitive environment. The DoJ and the courts seemed far more interested in preserving the low prices that Amazon was charging (in order to boost its e-book business) than in ensuring that there was competition among publishers and among e-book vendors. Since Apple was pushed aside by the DoJ, how much innovation have we seen in either e-book hardware or the e-book format itself? Any wonder then that sales of Kindle readers are falling dramatically? Even the e-book prices have started heading back up, making paper books look more attractive than the e-book alternative and making the whole e-book thing look more like a fad than a paradigm shift.

    Had the Apple case gone the other way, we might've seen Amazon and Apple innovate in e-books and reading devices. Instead, we're stuck with the Kindle reader that feels more like a Newton than a device leading the way into a reading revolution.
  • Reply 10 of 15
    cali4nrcali4nr Posts: 12member
    Actually, the settlement is not limited to American citizens, but to American residents. Qualified immigrants will also be receiving a refund. 
  • Reply 11 of 15
    anantksundaramanantksundaram Posts: 19,302member
    It may be getting to that point where Apple has to consider reincorporating itself somewhere else. 

    In the meantime, the company probably needs a far more ferocious legal team and better government relations team. 
    SpamSandwich
  • Reply 12 of 15
    mnbob1mnbob1 Posts: 264member
    I recently received a credit on my Amazon account of about $21.00. No explanation. Just said Kindle ebook credit. I haven't had my Kindle for a couple of years since I got my iPad mini. I passed it along to a friend who was very happy to get it. It seems the Amazon rebates are happening much faster than this article states. 
  • Reply 13 of 15
    badmonkbadmonk Posts: 819member
    First world problem.
  • Reply 14 of 15
    k2kwk2kw Posts: 1,767member
    I'm sorry to hear that the Supreme Court sat on its hands on this one. There are some real questions about the extent to which short-term public benefit outweighs fostering a long-term competitive environment. The DoJ and the courts seemed far more interested in preserving the low prices that Amazon was charging (in order to boost its e-book business) than in ensuring that there was competition among publishers and among e-book vendors. Since Apple was pushed aside by the DoJ, how much innovation have we seen in either e-book hardware or the e-book format itself? Any wonder then that sales of Kindle readers are falling dramatically? Even the e-book prices have started heading back up, making paper books look more attractive than the e-book alternative and making the whole e-book thing look more like a fad than a paradigm shift.

    Had the Apple case gone the other way, we might've seen Amazon and Apple innovate in e-books and reading devices. Instead, we're stuck with the Kindle reader that feels more like a Newton than a device leading the way into a reading revolution.
    Apple should have settled this a long, long time ago.   Jobs was caught on audio colluding with the publishers.    Instead of innovating Apple has been all lawyered up.
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