Apple could have to pay nearly $500 million in ebook case

iBooks Bookshelf on iPad

According to a new report, Apple could have to pay half a billion in damages in its ebook pricing case. That amount is based on the settlements the book publishers, named in the case, have already paid.

For those who haven’t been keeping up with the ordeal, federal judge Denise Cote found Apple guilty earlier this month, of colluding with five publishers to fix ebook prices at the launch of its iBookstore…

The publishers named in the case—which includes Hachette, Penguin, Random House, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster—have already settled and paid damages to the states, and in the class action suit.

GigaOM points to a just-released court document showing the amounts:

publisher settlementsThe site also highlights a section of the Clayton Act, which automatically triples antitrust awards. So because Apple refused to admit any wrongdoing, it could be forced to pay 3x what the pubs were liable for.

Of course, for Apple, who has somewhere in the neighborhood of $150 billion in cash, $490.5 million is just a drop in the bucket. But you have to imagine that writing such a check out would still sting a bit.

Unsurprisingly, Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said earlier this month that the company would be appealing the decision. But given the scope of the ruling, experts say the odds of it being reversed are slim.