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>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Jean de Mandeville, <i>Reysen und Wanderschafften durch das Gelobte Land,</i> Strassburg, 1488. Sold for $106,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> José González Cabrera Bueno, <i>Navegación Especulativa, y Práctica,</i> Manila, 1734. Sold for $55,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Francis W. Winton, manuscript on pow-wows with indigenous Canadians, 1881. Sold for $65,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Louise Bourgeois, <i>He Disappeared Into Complete Silence,</i> portfolio with complete text & 9 engravings, 1947. Sold for $413,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Erich Maria Remarque, <i>All Quiet on the Western Front,</i> first American edition, Boston, 1929. Sold for $9,375.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Sir William Russell Flint, gouache & watercolor illustration for Homer's <i>Odyssey,</i> 1924. Sold for $22,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Kurt Vonnegut, archive of 12 letters, signed to his family, 6 illustrated, 1930s-40s. Sold for $12,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Oscar Wilde, <i>Lady Windermere's Fan,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, London, 1893. Sold for $27,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Emil Cardinaux, <i>St. Moritz,</i> 1918. Sold for $17,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> R.J. Waters, 3 panoramas of the San Francisco earthquake & fire, 1906. Sold for $21,250.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Album with 200 cartes-de-visite, including images by Felice Beato, John Thompson & F.W. Sutton, Japan & China, 1863-69. Sold for $35,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries:</b> Thomas Paine, <i>The American Crisis,</i> Fishkill, NY, December 1776. Sold for $40,000.
  • <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Charles Darwin on sexuality and the transmission of hereditary characteristics: Autograph Letter Signed to Lawson Tait. Down, 17 January [1877].
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> MILTON, JOHN. <i>Paradise Lost. A Poem written in ten books.</i> London: 1667. A very rare example with the contemporary binding untouched and with a 1667 title page.
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> Hamilton secures the ratification of the Constitution: <i>The Debates and Proceedings of the Convention of the State of New-York, assembled at Poughkeespsie, on the 17th June, 1788.</i>
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> The social contract “Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”: ROUSSEAU, JEAN-JACQUES. <i>Principes du Droit Politique [Du Contract Social]</i>. Amsterdam: Michel Rey, 1762
    <b>19th Century Shop:</b> “The first English textbook on geometrical land-measurement and surveying”: BENESE, RICHARD. <i>This Boke Sheweth the Maner of Measurynge All Maner of Lande…</i>
  • <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> KNIGHT, HILARY. The Original Portrait of Eloise that Hung at the Plaza Hotel. $100,000 to 150,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> WARHOL, ANDY. "Iced Lemon Delight," an Original Watercolor Presented to Hilary Knight's cat, Phoebe $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SENDAK, MAURICE. <i>Where the Wild Things Are.</i> PRESENTATION COPY, INSCRIBED with drawing to Hilary Knight in the month following publication. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> NOLAND, KENNETH. Original circle painting, untitled, acrylic and ink on cloth, for cover of monograph $8,000 to 12,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> TOULOUSE-LAUTREC. <i>Histoires Naturelles,</i> 1899. With 22 original lithographs. $10,000 to 15,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> SHAKESPEARE, WILLIAM. <i>A Collection of Poems,</i> [1711]. The first authoritative and complete collected Sonnets.$15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams New York: Fine Books and Manuscripts Including the World of Hilary Knight. December 5, 2018</b>
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> LONDON, JACK. <i>The Call of the Wild.</i> 1903. First edition, first state jacket. $2,000 to 3,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> FROST, ROBERT. Autograph Manuscript of "Build Soil," 12 pp, 1932-1936. $15,000 to 20,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> GOULD, GLENN. Glenn Gould's extensively annotated copy of Bach's Goldberg Variations $100,000 to 150,000
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    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> PLATH, SYLVIA. EARLY Autograph Letter Signed, about her beginnings as a writer, Northampton, MA, 1951. $7,000 to 10,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> HOUDINI, HARRY. A collection of 11 cast iron shackle and lock items from Houdini's personal collection. $20,000 to 30,000
    <b>Bonhams, Dec 5:</b> M4 ENGIMA MACHINE, with very rare RARE HYDRA KEY ENVELOPE. $400,000 to 600,000

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