The three publishers (Simon & Schuster, Hachette, and HarperCollins) who settled with the Feds and the state AGs over collusion in ebook pricing have settled with the states. Here‘s a good summary. Recall the basics:
The feds’ lawsuit demands that publishers change their pricing model so that Amazon and others can set the price they want (even it the price is below cost). The lawsuit by the states is instead about money; the states want to collect refunds on behalf of ebook buyers.
The settlement with the states means people who bought ebooks from the publishers on Amazon or other ebook vendor will get smallish credits someday:
If you bought an e-book from one of the five big publishers between April 1, 2010 and May 23, 2012, you will get a 25-cent refund for each old title you bought and $1.32 if the title was a recent New York Times bestseller. The refund will come in the form of a credit to your Amazon, Barnes & Noble or iTunes account; you’ll get a check if you bought from Sony or Google. The retailers have your email address so it will not be hard to notify you.
That’s fine but, as the article notes, you’ll probably just take that credit and buy more ebooks, so it’s probably not that much of a hardship for the publishers. Also, it will take years before you actually see the money.
In any case, this is small potatoes. What really matters is getting Amazon to discount books from the publishers who have settled. In an article in the Boston Globe, an expert says it’s happening.
“The price reductions are already happening,” said Michael Norris, a senior analyst in the Trade Books Group at Simba Information, a market research firm in Stamford, Conn. “Amazon is already starting to lower the prices of e-books.”
Hmm, I haven’t noticed this happening. Have you? A glance through some Simon & Schuster titles still shows most of them at the same old $12.99 price point. Maybe I haven’t been paying sufficient attention. I would think that Amazon would start aggressive discounting as soon as it can, to put pressure on its competition and to increase the value proposition for the Kindle.