FRANKFORT, Ky. (WKYT) - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced Thursday that Kentucky has joined 54 other states, districts and U.S. territories in an antitrust settlement with three of the nation's largest book publishers.
Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Simon & Schuster Inc. have agreed to pay a total of more than $69 million to consumers to resolve antitrust claims of an alleged unlawful conspiracy to fix the prices of e-books and change the way they price e-books going forward.
Under the agreement, eligible Kentucky consumers who purchased e-books from April 1, 2010 through May 21, 2012 will receive compensation estimated to exceed $700,000.
The settlement is in conjunction with a civil antitrust lawsuit filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against Hachette, HarperCollins, and Simon & Schuster.
The lawsuit alleges that the three settling publishers and others "conspired and agreed to increase retail e-book prices for all consumers" and "agreed to eliminate e-book retail price competition between e-book outlets, such that retail prices to consumers would be the same regardless of the outlet patronized by the consumer."
The lawsuit and settlement stem from a two-year antitrust investigation conducted jointly by the Connecticut and Texas Attorneys General and the U.S. Department of Justice's Antitrust Division. Consumers who have made purchases from these publishers will be notified by the publishing company if they are entitled to restitution.