Did You Buy E-Books Involved in $69 Million Settlement?

Three book publishers have agreed to a settlement in price-fixing conspiracy.

Massachusetts residents who bought e-books through the publishers Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, and Simon & Schuster Inc., in the past two years could get a piece of more than $2 million in restitution, officials say.

The three book publishers have agreed to pay more than $69 million to customers across the country who bought e-books from April 1, 2010, through May 21, 2012, to settle allegations of price fixing, according to a press release from the office of Attorney General Martha Coakley.

“We found compelling evidence that these companies conspired to fix prices and overcharge consumers for some of the most popular e-book titles,” Coakley said, in the release. “Today’s settlement paves the way for restitution for consumers harmed by the scheme and restores competition in the e-book market by promoting competition among retailers.”

Publishers Macmillan and Penguin are also alleged to have been co-conspirators, however those companies have not yet reached an agreement in court with Coakley and 54 other attorneys general, the release says.

As part of the agreement, the three publishers agreed to end contracts with retailers, meaning book stores will have the freedom to reduce their e-book prices. Payments to customers will begin 30 days after the finalization of the court-approved settlement, Coakley said.

Patch wants to know: What do you think of the e-book price-fixing? Did you buy e-books during the two year period? Will you continue to buy e-books? Use the comment section to post your responses.


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