Get some money from Amazon today? Thank the DOJ.

The package you may get from Amazon today probably won't be a box, but it may be just as welcome. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

Book-loving customers may find a little extra something in their accounts on Tuesday: some money, thanks to the Department of Justice.

Amazon sent out a string of e-mails to qualifying customers Tuesday letting them know that their e-book accounts are getting a little fatter now, part of the spoils from the DOJ's e-book price-fixing case against Apple and five major book publishers. ( chief executive Jeffrey Bezos is the owner of The Washington Post.)

Apple is still fighting the case, in which it's accused of working with the publishers to raise prices for e-books. But all of the publishers settled out of court -- while denying wrongdoing -- which is why readers are starting to see some money now.

To be eligible for a credit, you must have bought a book published by Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin or Macmillan between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. You will not get a credit if you returned the book, Amazon notes in its FAQ on the credits. Other e-book sellers, such as Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google and Sony, are also set to return money, but Amazon is moving first.

Chances are you won't be getting too much back -- the rate is $3.17 per any title that made it onto the New York Times bestsellers list, and 73 cents for other titles from the five publishers in question.

It's hard to say how many e-book customers will receive a payment, since those eligible may have bought books from multiple places. The settlement applies to residents of 32 states. The total payout is expected to be $166 million.




Hayley Tsukayama covers consumer technology for The Washington Post.



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