Potential Spanish e-book VAT cut welcomed

Potential Spanish e-book VAT cut welcomed

The Spanish socialists pledge to reduce e-book VAT (IVA) to 4% has been welcomed by the director of the Spanish e-book platform Libranda.

The announcement came from Alfredo Rubalcaba, who is the socialists’ candidate to become prime minister in the upcoming Spanish elections next month. Libranda’s Arantza Larrauri said: "This is one of the biggest problems facing the expansion of the e-book market in Spain.”

To date, e-books have been treated as if they are a service, and therefore attracted IVA at the rate of 18%, while paper books have been pegged at 4%. “It has been fiscal discrimination,” she said. 

Libranda was created by the three leading Spanish publishers (Grupo Planeta, Random House Mondadori and Santillana) in order to provide the biggest selection of e-books in Spanish and Catalan. The potential market includes 500 million Hispanic speakers in the USA and Latin America. “People there complained that books were very expensive and would arrive late, or not at all; but now there are no frontiers,” she told The Bookseller.

Libranda has found the bestsellers are the same in e-books as in paper, with Ken Follett leading the Anglo-Saxon list, while Eduardo Mendoza has been the top Hispanic choice.

With the opening of Amazon.es in September and the impending arrival of the Kindle, many have predicted a looming battle between Libranda and Amazon, but Larrauri dismissed this. She said: “I think there is confusion about this, because we do not sell direct to the public and so Amazon is not a competitor. We want our books to be available in a lot of shops, and Amazon is a very important shop where we want to be present. Kindle is going to sell for sure because it is reasonably priced and it has a very strong business behind it.”