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Apple and publishing companies were involved in illegal anti-trust behavior. They colluded to fix the price of e-books. When this scandal broke, it was covered extensively by the media. It virtually disappeared after that. I followed up and did research for months, but figured that it was still in process. I couldn’t find much information about it. After all, it takes time for these cases to go to trial. While the case against Apple and two other publishers continues, a few of the publishers involved in collusion have settled. It is not clear whether they colluded with Apple, as they do not admit to any wrongdoing. They’re merely paying out a $69 million settlement for the heck of it! This is the sort of pathological lying that is common place in Corporate America, and why so many Americans have grown weary and cynical of corporations and their influence over the government.
The collusion not only affected iBooks customers. Anyone who bought an e-book from Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin and Macmillan on any platform (Kindle, Nook, iBooks, Sony, Kobo, etc.) is eligible for a partial refund. Although the latter two publishers have not settled, their e-books are eligible for partial refunds. iBooks customers will also get a partial refund from these publishers, although the lawsuit involving Apple and two other publishers has not been settled. Confused? Good. That’s why lawyers get the big bucks. Perhaps they collude with physicians and pharma, so when you have a stroke from overwhelming legal perplexity, they will all make money. (Disclaimer: the latter notion was purely conjecture for the sake of humor, which wasn’t really that funny.)
Amazon, Barnes & Noble and other retailers were not colluding. However, the price of their e-books was inflated due to this malfeasance. Apple is charged with colluding with publishers, however, their case has not yet been settled or tried.
If you are eligible for the settlement and purchased these e-books from Amazon, you will not need to do anything. For example, if you bought a Kindle e-book from one of these publishers, you will get credit from Amazon automatically. Barnes & Noble, Apple, and Kobo customers will get a credit that needs to be activated. Sony, Google and other customers will need to file a claim form, and will be issued a check. In all cases, you will be notified by mail if you qualify.
I personally never bought an iBook. I prefer Kindle solely for the price. The functionality of iBooks and Kindle is virtually identical, in most cases. iBooks can contain video clips, however, none of the e-books I have purchased employed this technology. Apple users do have choices. You don’t have to buy books from iBooks or music from iTunes. While I do buy a lot of music and some video from iTunes, I have never bought an iBook. The price was a huge turn off. When the manufacturing, materials, store front, and shipping are taken out of the equation, an e-book should cost less than a physical book. Unfortunately, iBooks is still as expensive as an actual book. Apple does not pass on the savings to customers, in this case. iTunes has some cost-savings applied, but they also hog the profits, leaving musicians with pennies per album. Record labels have been doing that for decades, however. (continue…)