After countless hours of legal battle, Macmillan has finally agreed upon a settlement that appeased Judge Denise Cote and the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that alleged five of the Big Six publishers conspired with Apple to fix the prices on ebooks sold through online retailers. While the other defendants have settled as well, Macmillan’s originally proposed settlement is actually now about $6million higher.
Some of the additional costs to the publisher will include legal fees for the plaintiffs in the amount of over $2million, investigation fees of over $3million, and more. A large portion of the settlement will go to refund the consumers for artificially over-inflated ebook costs, payouts which should begin some time this summer.
Macmillan still denies any wrongdoing in the case, which has left critics speculating as to why a company of that size would be willing to settle for this sum. The settlement will also finalize any penalty to the company, and could be a far better deal than what the penalty could cost if the publisher opted to continue the investigation and court proceedings.
Throughout this lengthy process, individuals have weighed in on what this will mean for publishing as a whole. Many have proposed that the settlements the publishers in the case have had to pay out–much of which will again be in the form of compensation to the actual ebook buyers–will be so detrimental that the publishers will have to reduce their operations and not take risks on debut authors until their losses are recovered. On the other hand, others have taken the view that this will finally be the push that brings smaller publishing houses and independent publishers into the forefront; as authors are turned away by some of the Big Six publishers, they may see other publishing opportunities as their keys to book success.