Rare Book Monthly

Articles - October - 2013 Issue

$160 Million to be Refunded E-Book Buyers

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The Attoneys General website provides information on making your claim.

If you purchased electronic books during the past few years, there is a good chance you can participate in a settlement of over $160 million arising from antitrust lawsuits. Your share may not be quite so spectacular as that total number sounds, but a few extra dollars never hurt anyone. And, the more you read, the more you may be entitled to receive. Think of it as a reward for reading.

 

The chances are that if you are among the class of e-book readers entitled to a refund, you have already heard from your merchant. The largest e-book merchants – Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, Sony and Google, should have contacted you already if you qualify. However, in case they missed you, or you purchased electronic e-books elsewhere, you need to pursue your rights quickly. If a claim was not made by a merchant on your behalf, you have only until October 21, 2013, to file your claim if you wish to participate in the settlement.

 

Five publishers have agreed to provide the roughly $160 million dollars that is to be returned to to e-book buyers. Those publishers are Macmillan, Penguin, Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster. However, there are many other imprints that represent subsidiaries of these companies that are also covered, so some less obvious e-books will also qualify for refunds. Almost $70 million in settlements from Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster have already been approved by the court. A larger settlement of over $90 million from Macmillan and Penguin is still before the court, with a final decision to be made in December. We don't see any reason why these would not be accepted too.

 

To qualify for a refund, the e-book must have been purchased between April 1, 2010, and May 21, 2012. The purchaser must be a U.S. resident (credit card billing address is used to determine residence) and be an individual, not a business, library, non-profit, etc. You don't have to participate in the settlement if you wish to sue the publishers yourself, though it's hard to imagine why anyone would want to take on that burden and expense.

 

The estimated refunds you will receive are $3.06 for each book that appeared at any time on the New York Times bestsellers list. If they did not, the refund is $0.73. Most of the retailers mentioned above will provide you with credits toward the purchase of new books. However, you have the right to receive a check instead if you prefer. Sony and Google plan to provide refunds via check. Minnesota residents are expected to receive a slightly higher refund as that state entered a separate settlement earlier with the first three publishers.

 

The retailers (except Apple) were not participants in the alleged antitrust activities. They are simply facilitating refunds for the actions of the publishers. According to the suit, the five publishers and Apple conspired to set higher prices for e-books, forcing merchants, Amazon in particular, to sell e-books at higher prices. The publishers, without admitting guilt, decided to settle the case and provide the $160 million for refunds. Apple was also sued for conspiring with the publishers to fix prices but contested the action. A court recently convicted them of the charge. However, Apple has appealed the conviction, and no amount of damages will be assessed until and unless the conviction is upheld on appeal, or Apple decides to reach a settlement. It is not known how an eventual confirmation of Apple's conviction or a settlement might impact the individuals who are beneficiaries of the current settlement.

 

To find out more about the settlement and whether you qualify for a refund, the attorneys general have set up a website that can be found at ebooksagsettlements.com/Home.aspx

Rare Book Monthly

  • <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. <i>On the Origin of Species.</i> Presentation Copy. Sold for $500,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Darwin, Charles. Autograph Letter Signed, 3 pp, negotiating the 2nd American edition with Appleton. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Hemingway, Ernest. Autograph Letter Signed, 8 pp, Paris, 1924, to his father discussing Bullfighting, Stories, and his new baby. Sold for $25,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Corialanus.</i> London, 1623. 1st printing [Extracted from the First Folio]. Sold for $50,075.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Swift, Jonathan. <i>Gulliver's Travels.</i> London, 1726. 1st edition, Teerink's A edition, fine, large copy. Sold for $21,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Fitzroy, Robert. Autograph Letter Signed to agent Thomas Stilwell, informing him of the progress of H.M.S. Beagle. Sold for $17,575.
    <center><b>Bonhams<br> Property from the Collection of Nicole and William R. Keck II</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Shakespeare, William. <i>Sonnets.</i> 1901. 2 volumes. Printed on vellum and illuminated by Ross Turner, bound by Trautz-Bauzonnet. Sold for $13,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Beardsley, Aubrey. <i>The Birth, Life, and Acts of King Arthur.</i> 1893-94. 2 volumes. Contemporary painted vellum gilt by Chivers. Sold for $5,325.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Assisi, St. Francis. <i>The Canticle of Brother Sun.</i> Illuminated on vellum, for the Grolier Society. Sold for $7,575.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Rackham, Arthur. <i>Peter Pan in Kensington Gardens.</i> 1/500 copies signed by Rackham. Sold for $4,825.
    <b>Bonhams, Jun 13 results:</b> Proust, Marcel. <i>Du coté de chez Swann.</i> 1st edition, 1st issue. Inscribed by Proust. Sold for $8,825.
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Textile of the Great White Fleet, with portraits of Theodore Roosevelt, Rear Admiral Robley D. Evans & successor Charles Stillman Sperry, 1908. $3,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> William J. Stone, <i>Declaration of Independence,</i> Force printing, 1833. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Shugart family papers including documentation of the Underground Railroad, 63 items, 1838-81. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Records of the Dickinson & Shrewsbury salt works, over 2000 items, with extensive slave labor correspondence, legal records & receipts, bulk 1820-1865. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Gloria Steinem, typescript for her speech <i>Living the Revolution,</i> with related letters and documents, 1941-77. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> <i>Liberty Triumphant or the Downfall of Oppression,</i> depicting the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, c. 1774. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Juan Eusebio Nieremberg, <i>Historia naturae, maxime peregrinae, libris XVI distincta,</i> Antwerp, 1635. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Antonio de Mayorga, manuscript map of Mexico City, 1779. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Thomas L. McKenney & James Hall, <i>History of the Indian Tribes of North America,</i> first edition, 3 volumes, Philadelphia, 1842-44. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Samuel Walker, diary of the entire first cruise of the USS Kineo, a gunboat on the Mississippi, 1854-69. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Sep 26:</b> Scrapbook on early Stanford football, with letters from Walter Camp, 1893-95 & 1931. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Roberts, David. Twenty Lithographs of the Holy Land, 19th Century. $2,000 to $4,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Declaration by the Reps. of the United Colonies of N.A. 1775. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Composer Jerome Kern personal Letters, Albums and Other. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Paine, Thomas. <i>Common Sense,</i> London 1776. $8,000 to $12,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Stowe, Harriet Beecher. <i>Uncle Tom’s Cabin,</i> Cleveland 1852. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Hobbes, Thomas. <i>Leviathan,</i> 3rd edition, London 1651. $2,000 to $3,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Anno Regni Georgii III. Intolerable Acts and other Bills, 1774. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Wilberforce, William. An Abstract of the Evidence, 5 Letters, and two books. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Nightingale, Florence. Notes on Nursing and Signed Letters, ca. 1860 $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Tolstov, Leo. <i>War and Peace,</i> 5 volumes, 1886. $3,000 to $5,000.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Dickinson, John. Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, 1768. $1,500 to $2,500.
    <b>Lark Mason Associates, Aug 8-27:</b> Twain, Mark. <i>Tom Sawyer,</i> 1877 [and] <i>Huckleberry Finn,</i> 1885. $4,000 to $6,000.

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