CHICAGO (Legal Newsline) -- Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said Tuesday that Illinois e-book customers will start receiving payments this week from a price-fixing settlement with five book publishers.

Madigan joined 32 other attorneys general in a lawsuit against Penguin Group (USA) Inc., Holtzbrinck Publishers LLC, doing business as Macmillan, Simon & Schuster Inc., HarperCollins Publishers LLC and Hachette Group Inc. after they allegedly conspired with Apple Inc. to drive up the price of e-books beginning in 2010.

The five publishers agreed to pay a total of $166 million. Illinois residents will receive a portion of the settlement worth more than $6.4 million.

"This scheme to fix prices caused consumers to spend millions more on e-books than they otherwise would have paid," Madigan said.

"This settlement will help compensate customers and send a clear signal that we will enforce the antitrust laws to ensure fair competition."

The payments will be sent to 23 million customers of major e-book retailers, including Google, Sony, Apple, Kobo, Barnes & Noble and Amazon.

In July, the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York found Apple liable for violating antitrust laws by conspiring with five book publishers to fix the prices of e-books.

A second trial is scheduled for later this year to determine the amount of damages Apple must pay. Illinois e-book customers may receive additional account credits or checks after that trial.

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