Many readers were concerned that when the VAT increased on e-Books all over Europe they have to have to pay more. This was not the case as retailers and publishers have helped cushion increase in price, so little has changed.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble and Kobo all based their European headquarters in Luxembourg where the VAT was only 3%. This allowed these companies to sell digital books all over the continent at reduced prices. The VAT structure changed on January 1st 2015 where the amount of tax people pay is now defendant on the country they live in.
The Bookseller conducted a survey of 168 e-books taken across-genres and from frontlist, mid-list and backlist and ranging from large to independent publishers (including those on agency), Amazon-published and self-published authors has found little change in prices from 23rd December to 2nd January and from 2nd to 5th January. The price stability suggests retailers, perhaps in conjunction with publishers, have worked together to cushion the extra tax costs.
Of the 17 traditionally published e-books available on Amazon.co.uk only two went up in price – You Are Here by Chris Hadfield (Macmillan), which rose from £6.29 to £6.64 and The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan (Vintage), which rose from £5.99 to £6.29. Among the smaller publishers, of the 12 titles recorded, just two rose in price; The Gods of Olympus: A History (Profile) and The Swimmer by Joakim Zander (Head of Zeus).
Readers can now rest assured that the e-book prices have not increased by 20% and e-Books basically cost the same amount as before, and in some cases have only risen slightly.
Michael Kozlowski is the Editor in Chief of Good e-Reader. He has been writing about audiobooks and e-readers for the past ten years. His articles have been picked up by major and local news sources and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times.