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Amazon offers Kindle book refunds as publishers settle price-fixing suit

Amazon offers Kindle book refunds as publishers settle price-fixing suit
Amazon gleefully announces publisher-funded Kindle book rebates

Amazon has pledged to offer partial refunds on some Kindle book sales, after three publishers agreed, in principle, to settle a price-fixing anti-trust case.

The online giant emailed customers in the United States this weekend informing them they could receive between $0.30 and $1.32 (£.082) for each applicable Kindle ebook purchased between April 2010 and May 2012.

The refunds will be on books published by the HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, the three companies offering to settle the case brought against them, Apple and two-other publishers.

The publishers and Apple have been accused by the U.S. Department of Justice of colluding to keep the prices of ebooks high and threatening to blacklist other retailers if they sought to sell ebooks for less.

Win for customers

The settlement, which is still to be approved by the judge presiding over the case, would see the publishers set up a $69m fund from which the rebates would be distributed as Amazon account credit (or a personal cheque, if desired).

Amazon, which has been attempting to lower prices of ebooks for quite some-time, told customers: "In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers' ability to set e-book prices.

"We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future."

Apple to fight on

The judge will rule on the proposed settlements in February 2013, whereas Apple, Penguin and Macmillan will continue to fight the allegations.

However, don't expect any rebats to land in Amazon accounts outside of the U.S. as the ruling is likely only to apply to customers Stateside.

Via Reuters