According to the states’ settlement Web site, the projected rebate amount for consumers affected by the publishers’ e-book settlements will more than double.
According to the site, a new “plan of distribution,” has been submitted to the court that will combine roughly “$93.21 million from the Macmillan and Penguin Settlements with $69.04 million” from the prior settlements into one settlement fund. With that, the states now estimate that consumers will receive $3.06 per e-book for New York Times bestsellers purchased during the settlement period (up from an earlier estimated $1.32), and $.73 per non-bestsellers (up from $.30). Those amounts, however, are still not yet final, and could be adjusted further.
As PW reported last month, representatives from Rust Consulting, the firm retained to administer the settlement fund, confirmed that 23,073,840 non-Minnesota customers of Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, and Sony have been directly notified via e-mail or by postcard that they are eligible to participate in the settlement. That number will likely not change much if at all, Rust consultants told PW, as consumers of all five settling publishers were noticed with the first three publisher settlements. However, Minnesota residents are now eligible to participate in the state settlements, so the total number of consumers will rise, although those numbers are not yet public.
That figure represents consumer accounts, a Rust representative explained to PW, not the number of individual consumers, as some consumers have accounts with multiple retailers, or multiple accounts at a single retailer.
In addition, some key dates have now been set. Consumers who want checks now have until October 21 to file for a check (information on how to do so is available on the settlement Web site). This includes consumers who did not opt for a check at the first deadline, in December of last year, meaning that consumers have another chance to claim checks instead of credits.
Rust officials told PW that another round of notices is now underway and will by complete by September 4 for the Penguin, Macmillan, and the Minnesota settlements, so that customers are aware they can file a claim if they didn’t previously, or if they wish to request a check, opt out, or object to these settlements.
For those who do not request checks, refunds will be issued automatically to consumer accounts. No action is required by consumers unless they wish to opt out of the settlement or to receive a check. Administrators have told PW that just 100 consumers have opted out of the settlement thus far, and only 48,124 consumers opted to receive checks instead of credits at the passing of the first deadline, last December.
In addition, the court has set a final approval hearing at 3:00 p.m., on December 6, 2013 at the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York in New York City. The public may speak at the hearing.
An eligible consumer is defined as anyone “who purchased e-books from an ‘Agency Five’ publisher from April 1, 2010 to May 21, 2012.” Anyone who received notice by e-mail or postcard purchased at least one qualifying e-book from one or more retailers.