Colorado consumers to receive $1.5M in e-book settlement

Staff reports Updated: August 29, 2012 at 12:00 am • Published: August 29, 2012

E-book consumers in Colorado will receive roughly $1.5 million under a nationwide settlement with three of the country’s largest book publishers over allegations of price fixing.

Colorado Attorney General John Suthers, along with the attorneys general of 54 other states, districts and U.S. territories, announced Wednesday that they have reached an antitrust settlement with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers and Simon & Schuster. The three publishers have agreed to pay a total of more than $69 million to consumers to resolve antitrust claims that they illegally conspired to fix the prices of electronic books.  The companies also agreed to change the way they price e-books going forward.

“We will not tolerate publishers colluding to overcharge consumers millions of dollars for some of the most popular e-books,” Suthers said in a news release.

Under the settlement agreement, which a court must approve, Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster will compensate consumers who purchased certain e-books from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012.  Payments will begin 30 days after court approval of the settlement becomes final. Eligible consumers will be notified by the retailer from which they purchased the e-book regarding the amounts they will receive.

Under the settlement, the three publishers also will have to allow all online retailers to competitively price all e-books in the future.

A case against two other publishers, Macmillan and Penguin, is still pending.

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