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Today a petition for lowered VAT for digital books was published. It is signed by 270 authors, publishers, actors and others interested persons. This petition marks the start of a campaign launched by the Swedish Publishers’ Association (Svenska Förläggareföreningen) that sets a goal to increase the awareness of Swedish book consumers and politicians about this issue. It also addresses the politicians in Brussels.

In Sweden, printed books enjoy lower VAT of 6 per cent, but digital books (downloadable or streamed) are taxed at the rate of 25 per cent. The EU laws and regulations define which products and services can have reduced VAT in member countries.

– The fact that the most modern book format is taxed 19 per cent higher than any other book format influences the retail price and prevents the digital format becoming established on the Swedish book market. It is very important that books are available on the platforms that are accessible to children and young people to a great extent. The reduced VAT for all books regardless of the format is an important moment in the broadening of reading. This is an issue for democracy, – says Kristina Ahlinder, the chair person of the Swedish Publishers Association.

The campaign seeks to make an impact on Swedish politicians whose position is important in revising Swedish laws and influencing the EU so that common laws are also changed. The main aim is to have the same reduced VAT (6 per cent in Sweden) for all books regardless of the format.

The campaign website http://www.forlaggare.se/bokvalet allows anyone to join and demand the lowering of VAT for digital books, to read the petition and to get information about the VAT issue, digitisation of books and simple instruments for all who want to engage in this movement. There you also can find an audio recording with the talks of some of the most respected authors and actors.

More information on www.forlaggare.se/bokvalet
And through contacting
Karin Sandberg, Svenska Förläggareföreningen, karin.sandberg@forlaggare.se, +46-70-193 79 45.
Translated from the SFF Nyhetsbrev by Elena Maceviciute