Yesterday I got the most amazing good news from Amazon. I could hardly believe my eyes. I am entitled to (wait for it)... $69 million as the result of a legal settlement between Kindle and several major E-book publishers. Thank you Amazon, thank you Kindle, thank you Attorneys General of the U.S. states and territories.
Who knew that buying a bunch of Kindle books could result in such good fortune? And I did buy a bunch. I looked at the archive of my books on Kindle and I must have purchased over 25 books in the last year. And I have to say there were a lot of those books that were real lemons. So in a way this settlement is payback for many hours spent reading highly touted but pretty mediocre best sellers. (Not for me to name names but write me and I'll tell you exactly what titles to avoid.)
I confess I hadn't really paid much attention to the lawsuit when it was going on. All I knew was there were some arrogant publishers who were so greedy they charged whatever they damn wanted for their E-books. Well, Amazon has sure put a stop to that. No more big pay offs to fat publishers and their overpaid authors. (Take that, Patricia Cornwell!)
Of course, there's a lot of grumbling about Amazon and how they are swallowing up the whole publishing business by undercutting publisher prices--which causes publishers to drop authors and authors to have to turn to doing horrible things like getting real jobs or go on welfare. Boo-hoo. Grow up people. Business is business. Amazon knows that better than anyone.
Anyway, after I got over my excitement about my big win, I read the email more carefully. "You do not have to do anything to receive this credit. It will be applied to your account by Amazon.com automatically, and you will receive another email letting you know when it's available."
Wait just a minute. If they think I'm going to spend my settlement on more E-books, they've got another think coming. (I'm not that stupid.)
At the bottom of the email letter was a number to call for more information. I called it. There was a long explanation about the lawsuit and "certain publishers in a conspiracy to fix and raise retail prices of E-Books." And then:
"To hear what you need to do to receive payment press 4." I pressed it. A run-around.
"To hear recently asked questions, press 1." Another run-around.
Finally, I decided to just write the Attorneys General with my own frequently asked questions:
1. Can I please get a partial payment of the $69 million now?
2. I am planning on buying a very large home in England. Can you please send payment directly to them?
3. How will I be taxed on the $69 million? Is it considered capital gains? (I, for one certainly think it's capital. That's a joke.)
4. If I take a partial payment now when can I expect the balance? Can it please be paid in installments over the next five years in order to minimize my tax liability?
5. Can you please keep my name out of the press, as I don't want shysters banging on my door?
6. Re: the Kindle books which I bought (many of which I found disappointing) can I please get credit for those?
I expect a check will be coming any day now. Because if you can't trust an anti-trust lawsuit who can you trust?
Follow Linda Howard Urbach on Twitter: www.twitter.com/BovarysDaughter