Amazon is giving something back to its consumers.
On Tuesday, the online retailer sent some customers free cash to spend on the website, Mashable reported. Anyone who bought an e-book from April 1, 2010, to May 21, 2012, received some amount of cash back — $3.17 for some books, and less than a dollar for others, Mashable reported.
The money came as "credits from a settlement between some of the largest U.S. book publishers and a coalition of state attorneys general,” Mashable said.
The settlement was the result of a 2012 case led by the attorneys general against five book publishers in the United Sates — Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan and Penguin — in relation to price-fixing. The case against Apple is still ongoing. But the above five companies settled, so Amazon's credits are the company’s way of paying the settlement, Slate reported.
"Amazon is not a party to these lawsuits,” the company said, which Slate said means Amazon “itself wasn’t sued.”
Amazon is the cause of the settlement, though, according to ReadWrite, a technology news website. Fears among bigger bookstore chains were raised with Amazon’s push for more publishing, which led to the price-fixing issues that were so prevalent in the settled case.
“Book publishers have long been worried about Amazon's natural monopoly over eBooks, which prompted them into the price-fixing collusion that has le(d) to this settlement,” according to ReadWrite.
But this move by Amazon makes the retailer the winner of the dispute, ReadWrite reported.
“Amazon is also a winner as it was not party to the lawsuits and the settlement weakens the legal positions of the likes of Apple and the publishers in any future price wars,” ReadWrite said. “Essentially, Amazon gets to remain the leader in eBooks while its competitors are weakened.”
This should help a lot of consumers, since e-book readers are on the rise, Deseret News reported in December 2013. Bookstores — including those found in airports — are increasingly worrying about the way e-books are taking over and controlling the market, Deseret News reported.
“Bookstores across the country,” said Sara Hinckley, spokesperson for Hudson Group, which owns many bookstores across the United States, “are doing everything they can to give customers a reason to look beyond price as the only deciding purchase factor: a hand-picked selection, personal service, a pleasant shopping environment, convenience, community support and the most aggressive pricing we can afford.”
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