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Amazon to offer refunds on e-books
Amazon to offer refunds on e-books

Amazon has announced it will offer refunds to customers who bought e-books as a result of a partial settlement of a lawsuit against publishers in a price-fixing case.

The e-commerce giant said the precise amounts won't be known until a court finalises the deal but that the refunds will probably range from US30 cents (A29.4 cents) to $US1.32 for certain Kindle books purchased between April 2010 and May 2012.

In notifications to customers over the past few days, Amazon noted that publishers Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster have agreed to the deal in a US government lawsuit alleging a price-fixing conspiracy with Apple.

The settlements create a $US69 million fund for refunds.

"We think these settlements are a big win for customers and look forward to lowering prices on more Kindle books in the future," Amazon said in a message to its customers.

The three publishers reached a settlement in April when the US government launched its case against Apple and other publishing houses "for conspiring to end e-book retailer freedoms to compete on price".

The lawsuit will proceed against Apple along with publishers Macmillan and Penguin Group for what US authorities called a conspiracy to raise prices and limit competition for e-books.

US officials said the scheme was aimed at ending a discounting effort by Amazon, which sold most e-books at $US9.99 until the new pricing plan was forced on the retail giant.

The move almost instantly raised the prices consumers paid for e-books, authorities said.