Idaho consumers are expected to receive up to $347,000 in restitution payments from an antitrust settlement with three major publishers involved e-books.
Attorney General Lawrence Wasden joined with the attorneys general of 54 other states and territories and the U.S. Department of Justice in a $69 million settlement with Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster Inc.
The settlement resolves claims that the three publishers participated in a conspiracy to fix prices of electronic books. Other publishers accused of conspiring did not take part in the settlement.
The publishers who settled agreed to pay consumers who bought their e-books and e-books from publishers McMillan and Penguin between Apr. 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. Payments will start 30 days after court approval of the settlement.
Most consumers will automatically get credits to their Kindle, Nook or iBookstore accounts. Other consumers may need to file claims. There will be a website with detailed payment and claims information following court approval of the settlement.
A two-year investigation found evidence of price-fixing attempts that cut e-book retail price competition and caused consumers to pay millions of dollars more for their e-books.
"Colluding to fix prices violates state and federal law and raises costs for customers," Wasden said.
McMillan and Penguin aren't part of the settlement. A trial for claims against McMillan, Penguin and Apple Inc. is set for next June in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.
The three publishers also agreed to structural changes that will give retailers the freedom to lower prices. The publishers are prohibited for two years from making any new agreements that constrain retailers' ability to offer discounts or other promotions on e-book sales.