It’s been a while since we checked in with the Department of Justice’s suit against ebook price fixing. This suit saw the DoJ go after Simon & Schuster, Hachette Book Group, Penguin Group, Macmillan and HarperCollins Publishers Inc. and Apple on charges of colluding and price fixing. Apple has fought back tooth and nail, and recently, three publishers settled in a move Apple called “fundamentally unfair”.
Now Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster are together paying a $69 million settlement, and if you bought an ebook from one of those publishers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, you may be in for some compensation. Those publishers have also agreed to ditch the “agency model” that allowed them to set the price for retail, rather than the retail outlet choosing them.
Since Macmillan, Penguin, and Apple did not settle, the DoJ will continue litigation, with trial set for next year. Apple argues that the cooperation between companies was to unseat Amazon as the functional ebook monopoly, but the DoJ obviously doesn’t see it that way.
There’s no indication of how to claim any payout you’re owed for purchases, but anything that allows ebooks to fluctuate in price more readily is a good thing.