State attorneys general this week updated the court on the status of their $70-million plus deal to settle price-fixing claims, detailing for the court plans to notify consumers of the settlement, and proposing a minor change to its payout formula. Originally, the settlement called for payments to be assigned for three classes of books: New York Times bestsellers (for which $1.32 would be paid), non-bestselling frontlist ($.36), and backlist ($.25). But after reported difficulty distinguishing between the latter two categories, the parties have agreed to “blend” them into one, and pay claims at $.30 per title. That revised payment plan will now be incorporated into the notice.
In addition, the states, in a point-by-point rundown, told the court that they envision distributing more funds from the non-settling publishers—Macmillan and Penguin—and Apple once the states prevail in court or settle that case. The settlement fund is paying claims for books purchased from the non-settling publishers “under a theory of joint and several liability,” and said that “any monies received from the non-settling publishers and/or Apple, whether by settlement or judgment against them, will similarly be distributed to consumers of all five agency model publishers. This distribution may then be envisioned as a partial recovery to consumers, to be followed, it is hoped, by additional recovery at a later date.”