E-books in the EU: taxation controversy

How should e-books be taxed when compared to print books? Should their different distribution models be reflected in their taxation? Or should such print books and e-books be treated equally? This question was recently explored in detail by a New York Times article here.

For most European countries, the full VAT value (up to 25% taxation) is levied on e-books. Due to an industry lobby, print books are taxed at a fraction of that rate. The biggest gap is in Britain and Ireland, where e-books are taxed at 20 percent, whereas the print books are not taxed at all.

Already on Nov. 17 of this year, the European Parliament declared a nonbinding resolution that recommended reducing taxes on e-books. Several countries are considering action, and at least one has committed to change. On Jan. 1, France plans to lower its taxation on e-books to 5.5%.

Blog commentaries on the NYTimes piece are just beginning. A first example is this: Dennis Johnson, a publisher and author, comments here on general European disinterest in e-books.


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