Check Your Inbox: Amazon Might Have Just Handed You a Wad of Cash

Future Tense
The Citizen's Guide to the Future
March 25 2014 2:09 PM

Check Your Inbox: Amazon Might Have Just Handed You a Wad of Cash

Customers who bought Kindle books from certain publishers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012 are getting cash in their digital pockets.

Screencap from Amazon.

When you receive emails saying you've won or received money, you should assume they're scams. People don't give money away for no reason. Except for this week! If you received an email about an Amazon credit being applied to your account because of an antitrust settlement, go ahead and get excited, because for once it's not a malicious hacker out to trick you. It's real money!

In 2012 state attorneys general led a class action lawsuit against the five largest book publishers in the U.S. for e-book price-fixing. In a related case, they sued Apple for conspiring with the publishers. And though Apple is still contesting its involvement in court, the publishers (Hachette, HarperCollins, Simon & Schuster, Macmillan, and Penguin) settled with regulators. Now Amazon is beginning to distribute the settlement. The company prominently notes, though, that "Amazon is not a party to these lawsuits." Meaning Amazon itself wasn't sued.


If you bought a Kindle book from any of the five publishers between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012, the credit will appear in your life automatically today, and will be eligible toward new book purchases (physical or Kindle) on Amazon from any publisher. You don't have to do anything to apply for or claim the credit. And if you're afraid you missed the email, you can check your credit balance here.

Your credit is calculated based on how many relevant Kindle books you bought within the date range and whether those were New York Times best-sellers or not. (You'll get slightly more per Kindle book if you are a resident of Minnesota, because the attorney general of Minnesota filed her own suit; there is more detailed information about the settlement provided by the coalition of attorneys general that brought the suit.)

One Slate staffer woke up to $19.96 in her inbox this morning. It's not exactly a Publishers Clearing House–sized check, but it's way better than a phishing scam.

Future Tense is a partnership of SlateNew America, and Arizona State University.

Lily Hay Newman is lead blogger for Future Tense.


Justice Ginsburg’s Crucial Dissent in the Texas Voter ID Case

The Jarring Experience of Watching White Americans Speak Frankly About Race

How Facebook’s New Feature Could Come in Handy During a Disaster

The Most Ingenious Teaching Device Ever Invented

Sprawl, Decadence, and Environmental Ruin in Nevada

View From Chicago

You Should Be Able to Sell Your Kidney

Or at least trade it for something.

Space: The Next Generation

An All-Female Mission to Mars

As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.

America’s Fears of Immigration, Terrorism, and Ebola Are Combining Into a Supercluster of Anxiety

The Legal Loophole That Allows Microsoft to Seize Assets and Shut Down Companies

  News & Politics
Oct. 19 2014 1:05 PM Dawn Patrol Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s critically important 5 a.m. wake-up call on voting rights.
Business Insider
Oct. 19 2014 11:40 AM Pot-Infused Halloween Candy Is a Worry in Colorado
Oct. 17 2014 5:26 PM Judge Begrudgingly Strikes Down Wyoming’s Gay Marriage Ban
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 17 2014 4:23 PM A Former FBI Agent On Why It’s So Hard to Prosecute Gamergate Trolls
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Oct. 17 2014 1:33 PM What Happened at Slate This Week?  Senior editor David Haglund shares what intrigued him at the magazine. 
Oct. 19 2014 4:33 PM Building Family Relationships in and out of Juvenile Detention Centers
Future Tense
Oct. 17 2014 6:05 PM There Is No Better Use For Drones Than Star Wars Reenactments
  Health & Science
Space: The Next Generation
Oct. 19 2014 11:45 PM An All-Female Mission to Mars As a NASA guinea pig, I verified that women would be cheaper to launch than men.
Sports Nut
Oct. 16 2014 2:03 PM Oh What a Relief It Is How the rise of the bullpen has changed baseball.