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UK ebooks VAT 20%->0% 1st May 2020
#1  pdurrant 04-30-2020, 12:28 PM
Thanks to Kieran Seymour for the heads-up.

The UK Government has announced that the UK rate of VAT on ebooks will drop from 20% to 0% as from tomorrow, 1st May 2020. It had been going to change on 1st December 2020.

Here's the news on the government website

"The objective of this measure is to support literacy and reading in all its forms. Following the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the need for people to stay at home, the government has decided to bring forward the implementation date to 1 May 2020 to reduce the cost of access to online publications during these challenging times when many people are confined to their homes and schools are closed."
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#2  pdurrant 04-30-2020, 12:51 PM
I've just had a quick chat with Amazon customer service. If Amazon had advance notice of this change, they haven't had time to brief CS agents. I suspect that they didn't know about this any earlier than today.

I hope they do this as "16% off all Kindle books and magazines" and not "20% more money going to authors"
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#3  pdurrant 04-30-2020, 01:05 PM
I am delighted by the news. Especially as I was about to buy a new subscription to a magazine, and this should drop the cost from £29.95 to around £24.96!
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#4  JSWolf 04-30-2020, 03:07 PM
I'm interested to see if this really takes effect. I'm expecting £7.99 eBooks to be down to £6.66.
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#5  pdurrant 05-01-2020, 02:45 AM
There's nothing on the Amazon web site yet, but there is an article at The Guardian where the significant line is

"For titles where Amazon sets the price, we will reduce the prices of books not already on promotion"

So the daily/monthly deals will remain at £0.99/£1.99. Any books where the publisher sets the price will only change price if the publisher changes the price.

I'm not sure that we'll see many changes.
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#6  stumped 05-01-2020, 03:33 AM
well colour me cynical but of course its not really happening. not yet anyway
I bookmarked some top books yesterday evening at amazon uk
checking now , 7 hours after the VAT change, the prices are all exactly the same
usually with this cop -out
"This price was set by the publisher."
yesterday £3.99 today £3.99

someone's benefiting and it aint the customer
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#7  pdurrant 05-01-2020, 03:44 AM
For most commercially published books, it'll be the publisher benefiting, although the details depend on the contract.
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#8  stumped 05-01-2020, 03:48 AM
also, all the 99 pence deals are still 99 pence.
and I don't buy into any theory that amazon will need time to manually change prices
there will be a line of globally applicable code somewhere with vat rate = 20, which has to be changed to zero. not a mammoth task

i did not think to note some kobo store book prices for before and after checks, maybe someone else has ?
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#9  pdurrant 05-01-2020, 03:50 AM
Quote stumped
also, all the 99 pence deals are still 99 pence.
and I don't buy into any theory that amazon will need time to manually change prices
there will be a line of globally applicable code somewhere with vat rate = 20, which has to be changed to zero. not a mammoth task
Amazon told the Guardian that

(a) Prices that are set by the publisher won't change
(b) Promotional prices won't change

So I don't expect to see many reductions at all. I'm still hoping that the magazine subscription I've got my eye on will be reduced.
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#10  stumped 05-01-2020, 04:45 AM
Quote pdurrant
Amazon told the Guardian that

(a) Prices that are set by the publisher won't change
(b) Promotional prices won't change

So I don't expect to see many reductions at all. I'm still hoping that the magazine subscription I've got my eye on will be reduced.
so what the UK govt has actually achieved is two things
1. a reduction in tax revenue which could have been used to help fund NHS and other priorities
2. publishers get richer overnight



I hope the smarter media pay attention and do follow ups
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