After years of lobbying by the book trade, the Government has now announced the withdrawal of VAT on ebooks from the end of 2020. It never really made sense to many of us in the industry why an ebook should be any different to a printed book with regards to VAT.
We heartily approve of this news. However, the quote… “The government expects the publishing industry, including e-booksellers, to pass on the benefit of this relief to consumers,” in the Budget might not be so easy to implement. In reality, publishers and authors have been taking the hit on VAT as retail prices are generally set to £1.99 / £2.99 / etc, but 20% has gone to the Government. It’s unlikely that you’ll see a reduction of a £3.99 ebook to £3.33. If readers have been happy to pay £3.99 for an ebook, it’s the author and publisher who will reap a greater reward, not the Treasury. In the grand scheme of things, we think that’s fair enough.
Do you agree?