For Immediate Release
Utahns will get $630,000 from e-book settlement
Utah Consumers will get approximately $630,000 from a $69 million nationwide settlement with three of the largest book publishers in the U.S. for allegedly fixing the price of E-books. Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff along with 54 attorneys general in other states, districts and U.S. territories announced today they have reached an antitrust settlement with Hachette Book Group (USA), HarperCollins Publishers L.L.C. and Simon & Schuster Inc.
The settlement occurs in conjunction with a civil antitrust lawsuit filed today in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. The suit alleges the three settling publishers and others, including non-settling publishers Macmillan and Penguin (collectively, the “Agency Five” publishers), “conspired and agreed to increase retail E-book prices for all consumers” and “agreed to eliminate E-book retail price competition between E-book outlets, such that retail prices to consumers would be the same regardless of the outlet patronized by the consumer.”
The lawsuit and today’s settlement stem from a two-year antitrust investigation that found the price-fixing conspiracy caused consumers to pay millions more for E-books.
“This lawsuit sends a strong message against price-fixing,” says Attorney General Shurtleff. “Plus, the settlement paves the way for restitution for consumers who were harmed by the scheme.”
If the court gives approval the proposed settlement will compensate consumers who made E-book purchases from any of the Agency Five publishers between April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012. The publishers have also agreed to give retailers the freedom to reduce prices on E-book titles.
In a separate lawsuit filed in May 2012, Utah and 31 other states sued non-settling publishers Macmillan and Penguin and Apple, Inc., for price-fixing. The states are hoping consumers can get additional restitution in that case. Trial in this suit is set for June 2013.