E-Book Customers Directed to Settlement Website to File Claims

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Under the terms of e-book pricing settlements between 49 states and Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster preliminarily approved by a federal court in September, consumers are being informed of their right to claim a portion of the $69 million in settlements.

Consumers who bought e-books through Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, or Kobo are not required to file a claim form to participate in the settlement; however, those who purchased e-books through Google or Sony are required to complete an online claim form and provide a settlement ID number that is being sent to them via e-mail or postcard. On Monday, October 15, Google sent e-mail notices to consumers who purchased qualifying Google eBooks directly from Google or through IndieCommerce websites and other retail partner sites directing them to the Attorney General E-Books Settlement Fund site to file a claim.

All claim forms must be submitted online or be postmarked no later than December 12, 2012. Consumers also have until December 12 to object to, or exclude themselves from, the settlements.

The 49 states (Minnesota did not take part in the suit) sued Apple and five major publishers claiming that there was a conspiracy to fix and raise retail prices of e-books. Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster agreed to settle the lawsuit. Penguin, Macmillan, and Apple have chosen to fight the suit in court.

Consumers could qualify for money from the settlements if they purchased an e-book that was published by Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, or Macmillan between April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012.

The Attorney General E-Books Settlement Fund website provides consumers with details about the settlements and their options. It allows consumers to access documents to file a claim and features a case summary, an FAQ, important dates, case documents, and contact information, among other details.

A final approval hearing on the settlement will be held at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Standard Time on February 8, 2013, at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.