Why French E-books Don’t Deserve Lower VAT

In Global Trade Talk by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

In the latest issue of ESPRIT magazine, Pascal Fouche, bibliographer and editor of the three-volume Dictionnaire encyclopedique du livre, discusses the changing definition of the book in the age of digitization, largely in favor of the argument that a lower rate of V.A.T. — 5.5.% in France — not be extended to e-books: “A book is an item, printed on paper, which serves the dissemination of ideas,” he writes, “This fiscal definition was used to establish a reduced V.A.T. rate on books. This is why an advertising brochure with less than 48 pages is not a book –- and so on. But according to this definition, the printing process is constitutive to the book. As a result the digital data which is sold as ‘Ebooks’ does not benefit from the lower rate of V.A.T.”

(Translation and summary via signandsight).

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.