Media Center

Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen Announces E-books Settlement Notices Coming Soon to Eligible Purchasers


A series of proposed settlements, if approved by the court, will provide relief to eligible Wisconsin residents who purchased E-books.


MADISON — Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen has announced a series of proposed settlements that, if approved by the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, will provide relief to eligible Wisconsin residents who purchased E-books. Three proposed settlements have been reached with certain publishers in an antitrust lawsuit filed by state Attorneys General about the prices of electronic books, or E-Books. The lawsuit, which was filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges that there was a conspiracy involving three of the nation's top publishers and others to fix and raise retail prices of E-books. The settling publishers have agreed to settle the lawsuit but deny that they did anything wrong. A separate lawsuit with similar claims continues against two other publishers and Apple Inc.


In order for the proposed settlements to become effective, they will need to be approved by the court, which has set the matter for a hearing on February 8, 2013. If the court approves the settlements, the settling publishers will contribute $69.04 million into a settlement fund that will be distributed to eligible consumers. The settlements also include agreements by the settling publishers to comply with antitrust laws, and certain orders of the court and the U.S. Department of Justice.


People who bought E-books will be included in the settlements if: (1) they purchased an E-book that was published by Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, or Macmillan (as well as certain other names under which these publishers also publish E-books); (2) the purchase was made from April 1, 2010, through May 21, 2012; and (3) they were a resident of a) a state other than Minnesota, b) the District of Columbia, or c) one of five U.S. Territories and Commonwealths (Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Islands, Northern Mariana Islands and Guam) at the time of purchase.


If the court approves the settlements and the Attorneys Generals' distribution plan, most people who bought one or more qualifying E-books will receive written notice of their eligibility. Those who follow the instructions in their notices will receive a credit into their E-book retailer account or a check. Distribution of checks and/or credits will vary among E-book retailers. There will be two levels of payments, based on categories of books. The exact amount to be paid per E-book in both categories is not yet finalized. A full list of the publishers and imprints included is available at:


Although the settlements are subject to final court approval, claims under the proposed settlements will begin to be processed before approval occurs. Most people who purchased E-books will receive notice by email or postcard, which contains instructions about whether purchasers need to do anything to activate their credit or file a Claim Form to receive a check. Anyone who has an E-reader and purchased E-Books but has not received notice should visit or call 1-866-621-4153 to learn more, to explore their legal rights and options, and to decide whether to file a Claim Form. Claim Forms must be filed online or postmarked by December 12, 2012.