PA condemns 'unfair' tax on audiobooks as fourth #LoveAudio campaign rolled out

PA condemns 'unfair' tax on audiobooks as fourth #LoveAudio campaign rolled out

The Publishers Association is ramping up its campaign for "unfair" VAT to be zero-rated on audiobooks as it launches its fourth #LoveAudio campaign this week.

The week-long digital campaign celebrating the format runs from Monday to Friday (21st–25th September) to raise the profile of audiobook publishing among the publishing industry, early career professionals and jobseekers.

Although VAT was removed from e-books and journals earlier this year following the Axe the Reading Tax campaign, it still applies to audiobooks. Stephen Lotinga, chief executive of the Publishers Association, called it "unfair that those who need or prefer to read audiobooks must pay VAT while print books and e-books are not subject to this tax". He added: "We at the Publishers Association continue to push for the zero-rating of audiobook VAT.”

Statistics from the Publishers Association Yearbook 2019, released in July, showed that consumer audiobook downloads sales income was up 39% to £97m in 2019, confirming audiobooks' status as the fastest-growing format in trade publishing. Of audiobooks' success story, Lotinga said: “It’s fantastic to see such strong growth for audiobooks over the past few years. Particularly exciting is that audiobooks appear to be reaching new readers, meaning more people are enjoying the benefits of books."

This week, activity for #LoveAudio 2020 will involve publishers, partners and the Publishers Association taking to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram to promote audiobooks. Downloadable assets are available in the form of a "Love Audio Toolkit" on the PA's website and the PA is launching a list of "Best New Voices in audiobook publishing" which will showcase the best new talent in audio narration.

During the week, the Publishers Association will also be hosting an "Ask Me Anything" Q&A session on social media, in which audio publishers will answer questions about the audiobook sector.

Dominic Gribben, audio publisher at Hachette UK and chair of the Publishers Association's audio publishers group, said: “It’s been another phenomenal year for audiobooks with publishers and producers across the industry doing some very exciting things despite challenging circumstances. #LoveAudio is such a great way to celebrate everyone’s hard work, and to help demystify audiobooks for seasoned publishing professionals and newcomers alike.”