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Book Industry Stimulus? 23 Million Customers Poised to Automatically Receive Book Buying Credit from Publishers’ Settlements with DOJ

More than 23 million “consumer accounts” are eligible to receive refunds from the $166 million pool of money put up by the defendant publishers who settled with the DOJ in the Apple e-book price-fixing case, Publishers Weekly reports.

Those refunds may add up to a mini-stimulus package for the book industry, since only 48,124 of those eligible for refunds opted to get a check instead of a credit to their account. That will leave well over 23 million customers with credits they can use to buy print or digital books.

Citing as a source Rust Consulting, the firm retained to administer the settlement fund, PW reports that, “23,073,840 customers of Amazon, Apple, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google, and Sony have been directly notified via e-mail or by postcard that they are eligible to participate in the settlement.”

A second round of refunds will depend on the outcome of a trial to determine monetary damages Apple must pay, which is scheduled for May 2014.