Macmillan settled with the Department of Justice Friday over allegedly colluding to set ebook prices, and is now settling the class action and states’ lawsuits remaining against it. Under a proposed settlement announced Friday night, Macmillan will pay $20 million to consumers represented by 33 states’ attorneys general and by Hagens Berman, the law firm handling a separate, consolidated class action suit.
Macmillan’s $20 million payout is added to the $69 million that Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster agreed to pay consumers. The money will be doled out in the form of small credits at ebook retailers.
The fifth publisher involved in the ebook pricing lawsuits, Penguin, settled with the Department of Justice in December but hasn’t reached settlements in the class action suit or with the states. Apple continues to fight all three lawsuits, in a trial set to begin in June.
As my colleague Jeff Roberts wrote last August, the class-action lawyers don’t reap much from the deal: “The settlement lets publishers short-circuit the class action lawyers who are coming at them with a separate lawsuit. Those lawyers, who say they would get more money if they were in charge, are now frozen out because there is no money left to collect on behalf of consumers.” Publishers Lunch speculates that “the class action lawyers may be expecting to reap their bounty from any settlement with or judgment against Apple.”