iBooks price-fix settlement hits $162.25m but Apple appeal delays payout

The iBookstore lawsuit promising partial refunds for ebook buyers who paid over-the-odds for their downloads is another step closer to making payouts, with cash from Penguin and Macmillan swelling the combined coffers to $162.25m. In a new batch of emails to iBookstore customers affected by the price-fixing suit, the State Attorneys General and Class Counsel E-book Settlements responsible for managing the case – and distributing the money – confirms the new contribution from the two settling publishers, TidBITS reports, though that's not to say the cash will actually arrive any time soon.

That's because, while the settlement itself is due to be approved by the courts before the end of the year, any payments won't take place until all of the appeals are heard. Apple has already said it intends to appeal the decision, which could cost it several million in damages.

Even when it finally gets approved, not every iBookstore shopper will actually get a cut. For a start, it only affects individual customers; business or government agencies who bought books, or libraries, won't get anything, and nor will those who received free downloads. Minnesota residents are also affected differently.

Yet to be confirmed is how much each qualifying shopper will get. According to the counsel responsible for managing the process, the expectation is that the per-title amount will depend on whether they were New York Times bestsellers or not.

So, if you mostly shopped from the NYT bestsellers list, you could expect something in the region of $3.06 per ebook (though the title didn't necessarily have to be in that list when customers actually bought it). Books off the list would only muster $0.73 apiece, however.

All payments will be sent by default to users' iTunes accounts. Those involved must have bought at least one title between April 1st, 2010, and May 21st, 2012.

As part of the settlements the publishers agreed to, they must cease some of the so-called agency model deals agreed with Apple and which were blamed for the price-fixing conditions; they must also agree to placing no limits on retailers' freedom to discount ebooks for a period of two years.

In addition, they must agree to "not share sensitive competitive information with other publishers" for a period of five years. However, while publishers have agreed to these conditions, they have also been vocal in disagreeing with the DoJ's proposed remedies to be applied to Apple, which have been accused of being needlessly draconian.

VIA The Loop