Three major publishers agreed Wednesday to pay $69 million in a settlement with states over e-book pricing. Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster had previously agreed to settle in a suit brought by 49 states, the District of Columbia and four U.S. territories.
A separate case by the Department of Justice is ongoing.
The proposed settlement between the states and Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster does not acknowledge any wrongdoing. The brief reads, in part, that the publishers “assert their actions were merely parallel, unilateral, or justified by market forces and completely legal. Settling Publishers also argue that their actions had procompetitive effects on the e-book market and that some E-book prices decreased after the adoption of the agency model.”
If the agreement is approved by the court, Hachette will pay $31,711,425, HarperCollins will pay $19,575,246, and Simon & Schuster will pay $17,752,480, Publishers Weekly reports. The agreement includes fees and other costs to be paid by the publishers.
What will consumers get? Those who purchased e-books between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012, that had been priced according to the agency model can expect refunds. Although the agency model had been put forward by Apple, other major e-book retailers, including Amazon and Barnes & Noble, priced their e-books accordingly.