Bought E-Books Before? You Might Have Credits On Amazon

Thanks to an antitrust lawsuit filed way back in 2012, e-book buyers might have some Amazon credits available for use starting this week. Here is what you need to know about how these credits came to be, and how to use them.

In 2013, a federal judge ruled that Apple was guilty of price-fixing. Apple and five major publishing companies — Hachette, HarperCollins, Macmillan, Penguin, and Simon & Schuster — conspired to raise the prices of e-books to fight Amazon's super-cheap $10 price tag. (Apparently, what happened is that Apple met with publishers to urge them to switch from a pricing model that let retailers — such as Amazon, for instance — set the prices of e-books, to an agency model where publishers set the prices.) This sort of price-setting collusion is a direct violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act, and the federal court ruled that the success of this conspiracy wouldn't have happened without Apple's involvement.

The publishers settled before ever going to court, but after being found guilty in United States v. Apple Inc., Apple continued to appeal the ruling, denying wrongdoing. In March of this year, the Supreme Court finally declined to hear Apple’s appeal, which meant the company had to pay $450 million back to e-book purchasers, as decided in the initial ruling.

And that’s where your Amazon credit comes in. If you purchased a Kindle e-book any time between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, you've got credits.

So, how do you get your hands on these credits? If you purchased through Amazon, all the work's been done for you. All you have to do it follow this link to find out your credit balance, which Amazon has already calculated, and the credit will automatically be applied to your future Amazon purchases. (You can also use it for anything, not just e-books.) You will see the credit appear as a gift card on your purchase summary. You have about a year to use up your credits: They will expire at 11:59 p.m. PDT on June 24, 2017. And if you purchased e-books through another retailer, such as Barnes & Noble, you should be getting those credits soon, too.

I'm sure you won't have any problem finding a use for them. Treat yo'self.
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