Saturday, 1 October 2011

A Stupid Tax on E-Books

by Matt Lynn

E-Books are the best thing that have happened to writers since…well, probably the invention of instant coffee. Sure, there is a lot of nervousness among publishers and bookshop owners and that is understandable. But for writers, they can only be good news. At the flick of a switch, you have a global market. Far more of the money generated goes to the writer. And it opens up markers for all sorts of new kinds of work.

There is one glaring injustice, however. E-books carry VAT, whereas printed books are tax-free. 

That is just short-sighted greed on the part of the Treasury. A petition has been started up on the government’s website calling for its abolition. As it rightly points out, e-books are far more environmentally-friendly than the old, paper sort. No trees get cut down. No vans drive them around the country. A book is a book, regardless of the form of delivery. It is crazy to discriminate in favour of one kind through the tax system.

I’d add another point. I bet e-books can be a huge industry for the UK. We have great writers, English is the world’s language, and we have the editors and entrepreneurs who can seize the market. And yet the Government is taxing e-books unfairly – which almost certainly means the industry won’t develop as fast as it otherwise would. Bonkers.

I’ve already signed the petition, but there are only 2,500 so far. So click on the link and add your name today. 

1 comment:

  1. Nice post, Matt. Signing the petition now. One less home grown industry the Govt should be taxing.