The Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have reached a $69 million agreement that will resolve lawsuits brought by 54 attorney generals from 49 states, the District of Columbia and territories, that charged the publishers with fixing e-book prices. Under the proposed agreement, which the court must approve, the three publishers will compensate consumers who purchased e-books from the three houses between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. Payments will begin 30 days after final court approval of the settlement. In addition to paying restitution, Hachette, HC and S&S will pay the states approximately $7.5 million in fees and costs.
The settlement also calls for the three publishers to terminate their existing agency agreements with certain retailers for two years, the same provision included in the propsed settlement reach with the Department of Justice.
The announcement of the agreement was made by a number of attorneys general including George Jepsen of Connecticut, which along with Texas, led the class action suit. “While publishers are entitled to their profits, consumers are equally entitled to a fair and open marketplace,” Jepsen said in a statement. “This settlement will provide restitution to those customers who were harmed by this price-fixing scheme, but it also will restore competition in the eBook market for consumers’ long-term benefit.”