IPA attacks 'technophobic' e-book VAT

IPA attacks 'technophobic' e-book VAT

The International Publishers Association (IPA) has called on Europe to end "discrimination" on e-book VAT rates, calling the current situation "technophobic, backward and unfair".

A new study from the IPA shows that the majority of European states apply full standard VAT rates to their e-books, while applying discounted rates to physical books. The anomaly stems from EU law which stipulates that booksellers are required to charge the full rate for e-books.

France and Luxembourg have recently bucked the trend by reducing e-book rates to 5.5% and 3% respectively, leading the European Commission initiating court proceedings against them.

IPA secretary general Jens Bammel said: "the current European approach is a mess. It's inconsistent, technophobic, backward and unfair, and it stands in the way of digital migration. With major markets like Brazil and Mexico making e-books exempt from VAT, Europe is in danger of getting left behind. We need consistent treatment for all book formats, and the most logical way to achieve this is by reducing VAT on e-books."

UK booksellers have previously called for the e-book VAT to be scrapped, to help provide a level playing field for retailers who are in the UK. Companies such as Amazon, Kobo and Nook which are based in Luxembourg all benefit from the lowered rate.