UK ebook buyers and subscribers to newspaper websites and digital magazines should see the cost of reading fall from May 1st after the Government brought forward plans to scrap VAT on digital publications.
Unlike their paper equivalents which are exempt from VAT, digital reading materials are subject to a VAT rate of 20%, making some purchases significantly dearer than their paper equivalents.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak announced plans to axe the reading tax with effect from December 1st in his March budget but says he’s decided to make the change sooner because “millions have been relying more on e-publications to pass time, home school and read the news” during the lockdown.
According to the Publishers Association, publishers have reported an average increase in ebook purchases of about a third while some have seen sales grow by as much as 50%.
Sunak said: “We want to make it as easy as possible for people across the UK to get hold of the books they want whilst they are staying at home and saving lives.
“That is why we have fast tracked plans to scrap VAT on all e-publications, which will make it cheaper for publishers to sell their books, magazines and newspapers.”
Amazon, the largest seller of ebooks in the UK, told SEENIT it was now working to implement the change and lower prices.
A spokesperson for the firm said: “We welcome the government’s decision to remove VAT on ebooks early due to the current situation, which will benefit readers, authors and publishers.
“For titles where Amazon sets the price, we will reduce the prices of books not already on promotion.
“After receiving today’s notification, we are working as fast as possible to lower prices for customers.”