Tuesday, February 02, 2010

BPN 1420 eBook becomes political item

At last, the issue of Value Added Tax on eBooks is taken serious. Throughout Europe there is a difference between the VAT on printed books and eBooks. The printed books have the low tariff and buyers pay the high tariff for eBooks. Recently in Spain the discussion was started up; now Dutch EU parliamentarians Sophie in 't Veld and Marietje Schaake request the EC to take action, as is clear from their written questions.

On 16 December Spain’s culture ministry announced plans to slash VAT on electronic books to the same low level as traditional paper editions. In a statement the ministry said to lower the tax from 16 percent to 4 percent on the electronic devices. The move was initiated by the publishing industry.

Now also the Dutch EU parliamentarians thinks it unexplainable that for a printed version in The Netherlands 6 percent VAT has to be paid, while for an electronic book 19 percent. This also defeats the EU objective to promote innovation and sustainability. The move would also stimulate the European eBook industry and subsequently the hardware industry such as iRex Technologies, Bookeen and Plastic Logic.

Besides the VAT the fixed book price is also being discussed for electronic books. The Dutch ministry of Culuture is reviewing the fixed book price law, which has been in effect for 5 years now. In the review a fixed price will be considered for eBooks. Presently the price of eBooks can be set by the publisher. So far eBooks have been cheaper 20 procent cheaper than printed books. A working party of the Dutch booksellers association with members as Bol.com has already recommended to the association to have a fixed price for ebooks.

Blog Posting Number: 1420

Tags: ebook, eReader

No comments: