Starting in early 2015 the VAT readers will pay will be dependent on the country they live in, rather than the originating country of the online bookstore. This will dramatically increase the amount of money people are spending to read eBooks. Italy and Malta though, are rising to the challenge and preemptively lowering the VAT before 2015.
Italy has lowered the VAT on e-Books from the standard 22% to 4% so it matches the rate imposed on printed books. Meanwhile, Malta has decided to cut its VAT on e-books from 18% to 5%, also so it is in line with print. In both cases the changes come in on 1st January 2015.
Italy and Malta now join Luxembourg and France, as having one of the lowest VAT rates in Europe, which charge 3% and 5% respectively. The United Kingdom on the other hand charges 20% VAT, which is making a number of digital readers angry, because they will have to pay more money for the same books in early 2015.
Michael Kozlowski has written about audiobooks and e-readers for the past twelve years. Newspapers and websites such as the CBC, CNET, Engadget, Huffington Post and the New York Times have picked up his articles. He Lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.