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A federal judge must still approve the proposal, but three ebook publishers have offered to kick in a total of $69 million to settle an antitrust suit that alleges they attempted to fix ebook prices.
Attorneys general of 54 states and the District of Columbia filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, State of Texas, et al. v. Hachette Book Group et al. (Docket No. 12-cv-6625), claiming that Hachette, along with HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster, conspired to "raise the retail price of electronic books" in violation of the Sherman Act [15 U.S.C. sec. 1] and the Clayton Act [15 U.S.C. secs. 12-27]. The publishers' settlement proposal would reimburse consumers who purchased ebooks from April 1, 2010, to May 12, 2010, at purportedly unreasonably elevated prices, in amounts ranging from 25 cents to $1.32 a book.
If the proposed resolution is accepted by the court, repayment would begin 30 days later. Besides the $69 million to reimburse consumers, the publishers would also bear the burden of legal fees and costs of $7.5 million. Tip of the hat to Courthouse News Service for their coverage of the class action suit.