Kindle Tax

I don’t have much spare time to indulge in picking up a book, so when I do have the occasional few minutes what I need is quick and easy access to books on demand.

The 21st century solution to my needs is an eBook reader. It would allow me to keep all my books in one place and I won’t have weighty tomes cluttering up the bookshelves. I suppose there’s also a minuscule environmental benefit too 🙂

I’m sold on the obvious benefits, so what about the cost of the books?

Now call me old fashioned (I dare you!), but I did expect eBooks to cost less than the manufactured print equivalents. So a quick look at the most popular eBook seller – Amazon – had me confused.

Why are the electronic versions sometimes more expensive than their tree-killing counterparts?

For purchases made within the European Union, this is partly due to the addition of Value Added Tax (VAT).

Conventional print books have historically been treated as an exceptional item and attract a zero rate of VAT in the UK. An eBook however is classified as the “supply of the digitised content of books over the internet or an electronic network” and standard rates of VAT apply.

This is an unexpected reality, but maybe not a showstopper for me. At least I’ll be contributing to the UK economy right?

Unfortunately that’s a false assumption.

Amazon claims to deliver Kindle purchases from Luxembourg and according to the Kindle License Agreement: “The laws of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, without regard to principles of conflict of laws, will govern this Agreement and any dispute of any sort that might arise between you and Amazon.

The standard rate of VAT in Luxembourg is 15% and this is the sales tax included in the price of Kindle eBooks.

Every time you purchase a Kindle eBook from Amazon.co.uk you unwittingly contribute 15% of the purchase price to the Luxembourg economy.

I’d better put up some more shelves.

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