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E-book junkie? Amazon may have some money for you

The e-tailer posts an FAQ about a credit that could come to you as a result of legal settlements between three publishers and the Justice Department. Not everyone's eligible though.

If you've been a regular buyer of Kindle e-books for the last couple of years, Amazon has what might turn out to be a little good news for you.

The company has posted an FAQ about a credit that may become due to certain e-book buyers as a result of antitrust settlements reached in April between the Justice Department and the publishers Hachette, Harper Collins, and Simon & Schuster. (Amazon was not a party to the lawsuit in question, which involved allegations of price fixing between these publishers, two others, and Apple.)

If the settlement deals are approved by the court, the publishers will provide the money for the credit, which will automatically appear in the Amazon accounts of eligible customers and will be good for use on Kindle books or printed books. Eligible customers can also request a check in the amount of the credit.

Amazon says it will send an e-mail to eligible customers if the settlements are approved.

So how much money do customers stand to make, and who, exactly, will be eligible? Amazon says the credit could range from 30 cents to $1.32 per eligible Kindle book purchased. The e-book must have been published by Hachette, Harper Collins, Simon & Schuster, Penguin, or Macmillan, the FAQ says (and these publishers have many imprints -- see below), and it must have been purchased between April 1, 2010 and May 21, 2012. If you bought an eligible e-book from Amazon during that period, you'll get the credit, with the following exclusions: people who returned the books or were refunded their money don't qualify, and residents of Minnesota are excluded from the settlements.

If you consumed a lot of e-books, then, you could potentially make enough to indulge your desire to consume a few more.

If you think you may be eligible, check out the FAQ, which answers such questions as "I think I'm entitled to a credit but I didn't get an email. How do I check?" and "What if I bought a qualifying e-book from another retailer?" Amazon is also referring people to for more information (among other things you'll find there is more info on the amount of the credit -- see question No. 11, "How much will my payment be?" here -- and a list of eligible imprints, including Atheneum Books, Back Bay Books, Dutton, Ecco, and many, many more: PDF).

Note: Simon & Schuster is owned by CBS, which publishes CNET.