Idaho consumers could receive up to $2 million in reimbursements from a settlement of an e-book price-fixing lawsuit, according to Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.
Idaho and 32 other states and territories sued Apple Inc. and five of the six largest e-book publishers in 2012, alleging the companies conspired to cut retail-price competition in a scheme to charge more for e-books. A judge ruled last year that Apple violated antitrust laws by conspiring to drive up prices, but Apple is appealing the ruling.
The publishers Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC, Simon & Schuster, Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC and Penguin Group (USA) Inc. already settled the allegations with states and sent about $800,000 of checks and credits to Idaho e-book consumers this year.
The Apple settlement is subject to approval by a federal judge. The timing of payments to consumers will depend on what happens in Apple's appeal.
"This is a significant resolution to a lawsuit that sought to bring fairness to Idaho consumers harmed by higher prices and restore competition in the marketplace," Wasden said. "I am pleased to know that Idaho e-book buyers who took an unfair hit to their pocketbooks because of the illegal activity by Apple will be compensated."
Idaho buyers made about 0.5 percent of all e-book purchases nationwide.
U.S. District Judge Denise Cote, of the South District of New York, found that Apple was central in planning and executing a conspiracy to eliminate retail price competition, in violation of state and federal antitrust laws.
The settlement is subject to approval by a federal judge.