The chiefs of Europe's publishing houses will meet today (26th June) in Brussels at a round-table discussion on growing the e-book market set to emphasise the need for e-books to be taxed at the same rate as physical books.
Penguin chief executive John Makinson and Hachette commercial director Richard Kitson will join publishers including Riccardo Cavallero of Mondadori, Hedwige Pasquet of Gallimard Jeunesse and Rudiger Salat of Holtzbrink Verlagsgruppe at this morning's discussion, hosted by the Federation of European Publishers and the European Booksellers Federation.
Ahead of the event, the FEP and the EBF have told attendees VAT should be lowered on e-books in order for them to thrive, and that digital books should be possible to read on “any e-book bought on any platform, on any device” to benefit consumers.
“The standard tax rates on e-books are detrimental to growth and the different rates create strong disparities between multinational platforms and local ones," the statement said. It added : "A key element for the growth of the e-book market is the interoperability between reading software and devices and the possibility for consumers to read any e-book bought on any platform on any device . . . The continuation of the rich and diversified European literature reflecting the richness of the multilingual European cultural identity is better served with a strong, diverse and healthy network of book and e-book retailers, able to provide European consumers with books in the format of their choice.
"One should therefore seek to avoid monopolies, or dominant positions especially in digital distribution."
The vice-president of the European Commission, Neelie Kroes, who is in charge of the digital agenda, said: “There are many actions we can take right now to increase consumer choice, so I want to hear from all the interested parties about how we can take these actions quickly and together."
The round table will also discuss how to tackle e-book piracy.