Amazon Kindle customers may have gotten a pleasant surprise in their inboxes today as credits were doled out for the Ebooks Antitrust Settlement.
The settlement comes after a federal judge found Apple guilty of price-fixing ebooks in conjunction with five publishers including Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin. Although the credits are being applied to Amazon customers accounts, the actual settlement is being paid by the publishers. To be eligible for the credit, customers must have purchased a Kindle or print book through Amazon from one of the five publishers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012.
The settlement stems from the landmark lawsuit last year where Apple was found guilty of manipulating the price of ebooks in order to undercut the dominance of Amazon in the digital book publishing market. Estimates have Amazon with nearly 90% of ebook market share in the United States, making it extremely difficult for competitors like Apple, Google and Barnes & Noble to compete. Book publishers have long been worried about Amazon’s natural monopoly over ebooks, which prompted them into the price-fixing collusion that has lead to this settlement.
Now that all five publishers have settled, it’s good news for Amazon Kindle shoppers. If you got an Amazon credit today, there’s no need to take any action. It’s already been added to your account, so all you need to do is spend it. The credit will only be available on purchases of Kindle or print books (not other items available through Amazon) through any publisher. Amazon is also a winner as it was not party to the lawsuits and the settlement weakens the legal positions of the likes of Apple and the publishers in any future price wars. Essentially, Amazon gets to remain the leader in e-books while its competitors are weakened.
Did you get a settlement from Amazon today? How much was it? Let us know in the comments.