German Buch News: Germans Buying More English-language Books; Reduced VAT for Books Challenged

In German Buch News by Siobhan O'Leary

By Siobhan O’Leary

Berlin Verlag, and its British parent company Bloomsbury, have distributed Bloomsbury’s English-language titles in Germany, Austria and Switzerland since 2005. The books are distributed via Berlin Verlag’s distributor Prolit. This week, Prolit will also begin distributing the popular science titles of Bloomsbury’s subsidiary A&C Black. As reported in Buchreport, part of the reason for this expansion is the news that Berlin Verlag has seen a 30% growth in the sales of English-language originals in Germany in the past year, with books such as Khaled Hosseini’s A Thousand Splendid Suns and The Kite Runner selling nearly as many copies in English as they did in German translation.

A study released by the German finance ministry calls into question the reduced VAT charged on books in Germany. While most products and services are subject to a 19% VAT, books are charged only a rate of 7%. The study, which contained a 4.8 billion Euro savings plan, recommended abolishing the reduced VAT on books and all publications, though there continues to be strong opposition from the industry, says Buchreport.

About the Author

Siobhan O'Leary

Siobhan O’Leary is a literary agent, translator and writer based in Berlin. She previously worked in the Foreign Rights department of the Crown Publishing Group (Random House) and at the publishing consulting firm Market Partners International.