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Utah consumers to get $630,000 from e-book settlement

Published August 30, 2012 2:27 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Utah consumers will get about $630,000 from a $69 million price-fixing settlement with three of the largest electronic book publishers.

Utah Attorney General Mark Shurtleff joined with 54 attorneys general in states, districts and U.S. territories in the settlement of an antitrust investigation into price fixing by Hachette Book Group Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster Inc.

A civil antitrust suit and the proposed settlement were filed Wednesday in federal court in New York, the Utah Attorney's General's Office said in announcing the settlement.

"This lawsuit sends a strong message against price-fixing," Shurtleff said. "Plus, the settlement paves the way for restitution for consumers who were harmed by the scheme."

The suit alleges the three publishers and two others, Macmillan and Penguin, which have not reached a settlement, "conspired and agreed to increase retail E-book prices for all consumers" and "agreed to eliminate e-book retail price competition," the Utah AG said.

The settlement must win court approval before the refund process can began. It covers e-books bought from April 1, 2010, through May 21, 2012. The publishers also have agreed to allow retailers to reduce e-book prices, the Utah Attorney General's Office said.

In a separate lawsuit in May, Utah and other states sued publishers Macmillan, Penguin and Apple Inc. for price-fixing. A trial is set scheduled for next year.