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Minn. Only State Not Involved In E-Book Refund

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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – E-book customers in every state but Minnesota will be getting a refund, part of a multi-million dollar settlement by three of the largest e-book publishers in the country.

The publishers settled out of court today. The lawsuit centers on how publishers, not retailers, priced e-books, allegedly conspiring to increase prices and eliminate competition.

Consumers in 49 states, plus the District of Columbia and U.S. Territories, will be getting refunds for e-books purchased between April 2010 and May 2012. They’ll get anywhere from a quarter for an old e-book to more than $1 for a bestseller.

“I’m kind of like, ‘That’s not fair,” said self-proclaimed bookworm Kari Pederson.

She can tell you about online book deals she got, but she’s left scratching her head when it comes to explaining this deal that she’ll miss.

“I want some money back, too,” she said.

Customers in these other states won’t be allowed to take their own claims to court, something Minnesota
Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson didn’t agree with.

“On principal, it was not something that we were willing to do. It was something that was troubling to us,” said Ben Wogsland, a spokesperson for the Minnesota Attorney General.

He said that Swanson won’t let government stand in the way of individuals and decided not to be part of the settlement.

“If an individual has a concern or belief that they were wronged by the practices of these companies, they can file a claim in court and pursue their own case,” he said.

Wogsland said that the state is still doing its own investigation. It might have potential claims against the publishers that settled. They are Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins Publishers and Simon & Schuster.

These publishers say what they did was legal. The settlement does not acknowledge wrongdoing.

CBS Corporation, which owns WCCO Television, owns Simon & Schuster.

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