If the $69 million settlement between the Attorneys General of most of the states and book publishers Hachette, Simon & Schuster and Harper Collins is approved by the court in February 2013, the funds will be provided as credits to customers directly in their accounts which may be used to buy eBooks or printed books. Users may even request checks for the amount of credit that has been applied to their accounts.

“If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books”, wrote Amazon in the email.

Another clause in the settlement is that publishers, from now on, will have less to say when it comes to setting prices, thus ensuring that eBooks may very well carry a price tag with less cost as compared to present times.

The whole episode started when the US Department of Justice (DoJ) decided to go after Apple and several publishers for alleged price fixing of electronic books. The DoJ claimed that the five publishers, banded together, inflated the prices of their best-selling titles to $12.99 or $14.99. Following this they enforced the same kind of pricing on Amazon.

Out of the five publishers implicated in the lawsuit, three publishers as mentioned above have agreed for the settlement while the other two, Macmillan and Pearson, haven’t opted for this route yet. Amazon was never a partner to the suit, but now is in the enviable position of letting Kindle customers know they are getting both a refund and probably better pricing.

The case is not over yet and if you are keen to sift through the paperwork head on here to check out all the documents related to the case.

One of our readers forwarded us the email. Here it is:

Dear Kindle Customer,

We have good news. You are entitled to a credit for some of your past e-book purchases as a result of legal settlements between several major e-book publishers and the Attorneys General of most U.S. states and territories, including yours. You do not need to do anything to receive this credit. We will contact you when the credit is applied to your Amazon.com account if the Court approves the settlements in February 2013.

Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have settled an antitrust lawsuit about e-book prices. Under the proposed settlements, the publishers will provide funds for a credit that will be applied directly to your Amazon.com account. If the Court approves the settlements, the account credit will appear automatically and can be used to purchase Kindle books or print books. While we will not know the amount of your credit until the Court approves the settlements, the Attorneys General estimate that it will range from $0.30 to $1.32 for every eligible Kindle book that you purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. Alternatively, you may request a check in the amount of your credit by following the instructions included in the formal notice of the settlements, set forth below. You can learn more about the settlements here:

In addition to the account credit, the settlements impose limitations on the publishers’ ability to set e-book prices. We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future.

Thank you for being a Kindle customer.

The Amazon Kindle Team


[The article has been updated by fixing typos]