Ireland announced it is finally doing away with the VAT that has so far been applicable to e-books and audiobooks so far, independent.ie reported. This marks a significant development for avid readers who have long grappled with the burden of higher prices on e-books compared to their printed counterparts brought about by the imposition of higher taxes.
Minister McGrath addressed this concern, stating, “An issue which has been raised regularly with me is the VAT treatment of audiobooks and ebooks. e-Books are currently subject to a VAT rate of 9pc unlike printed books, which are zero-rated. Audiobooks are not currently included in the VAT zero rating. Therefore, I have decided to zero-rate these items from the first of January 2024.”
This decision not only levels the playing field for readers but also extends its impact to libraries across Ireland. Irish libraries have been facing an e-book crisis characterized by exorbitant costs, challenging licensing agreements, disappearing titles, and instances of price gouging. As has earlier been revealed in a post on IrishExaminer, the Library Association of Ireland has raised concerns about the “huge and unsustainable” costs affecting both public and college libraries.
As has been in most parts of the world, the pandemic saw a surge in the demand for e-books and audiobooks as libraries transitioned their services to the online realm. Now, with the elimination of taxes on these digital literary formats, content consumption, in all its forms, is poised for a more equitable future. This move not only aligns with the evolving landscape of literature consumption but also reflects a commitment to making knowledge accessible to all.
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