The price fixing lawsuit involving several book publishers and Apple is already proving a boon for customers. Prices on some books have fallen because of the lawsuit and now Amazon is notifying users that they may be entitled to some refunds on books they bought for the past few years.The refunds aren't huge, between $0.30 and $1.32 per title, but they could add up. Considering that ebooks are quite cheap already, the refund could be a significant chunk of the original price.
Barnes & Noble is expected to send a similar notification to its customers. Still, no money is coming any time soon, the judge still has to approve the settlement, a hearing is scheduled for February.
Only three publishers have agreed to the settlement, so the money will only cover titles from Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.
Two other publishers as well as Apple are fighting the accusations and will go ahead with the full lawsuit.
"You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the attorneys general of most US states and territories, including yours," Amazon told eligible customers in an email.
"In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers' ability to set e-book prices," the email added.
"We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future," Amazon said.
The company has every right to celebrate the settlement and the lawsuit, since Amazon was the target of the price fixing scheme.
Publishers were unhappy with Amazon's dominance of the ebook space and were particularly worried about the discount mentality at the company.
Amazon sold some titles at a loss to drive up sales and get people hooked on the Kindle, and ebooks in general. But publishers were worried that lower prices would drive down the "value" of ebooks in people's minds.