Since Apple has settled their class-action lawsuit, millions of readers now have free credits from e-book retailers like Amazon and Barnes and Noble. The credits awarded will be shown in your account online and will soon to expire on June 24, 2017, at 11:59 pm PDT (for Amazon only).
To see how much credit you have, visit this page on Amazon. To get more information on the eBook settlement at Barnes & Noble, visit this page to find out more details about your free credits. For Barnes & Noble in particular, once your log into your account, your credits will automatically activate at checkout. The free credits apply to e-books purchased online through Apple between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012, so be sure you are logging in with your email accounts used to purchase e-books between this date range.
Why is Amazon giving new credits to customers? Well, back in 2012, Apple was sued for conspiring with popular book publishers (Penguin, HarperCollins and etc) to increase the prices of e-books. According to Bloomberg Politics,
“Government lawyers accused Apple of leading a price-fixing effort as part of the 2010 introduction of its iPad tablet and iBookstore feature. Apple was seeking to gain a foothold in a market dominated by Amazon.com Inc., which at the time treated best-selling books as loss leaders, selling them for $9.99.”
So basically, Apple was working behind retailer's back to jack up the prices on your e-books. Not only so, the top five publishers in this case (who were supposed to be in competition with one another), agreed to raise prices in unison. This gave publishers, not retailers, the ability to set prices and so consumers would have no choice but to pay the extra dollar or cent for an e-book.
In the court case of Apple v. The United States, 15-565, the publishers settled for $166 million payable to the states and consumers. Apple continued to push on in court but eventually lost their appeal in Manhattan federal court and resign to paying $450 million in the antitrust suit where $400 million will go to e-books customers, $20 million to the states and $30 million in legal fees.
Now that you know the backstory, as of yesterday June 20th, those who purchased e-books at an inflated price on Amazon are being notified of their settlement payments in the form of Amazon credits. Credit awarded depends on a number of e-books you’ve purchased in the history of your Amazon e-book bill from 2010 - 2012.
According to the Amazon email to Farivar,
“You don't have to do anything to claim your credit, we have already added it to your Amazon account. We will automatically apply your available credit to your purchase of qualifying items through Amazon, an Amazon device or an Amazon app.”
And that’s all to it! If you’re an avid ebook reader, please check your email inbox and spam folders and see how much Amazon credit you’ve earned via the settlement.
So, how much credit did you get?