Friday, 18 November 2011

A plea to ebook users everywhere (but especially in the UK)

Every person who either reads, writes or publishes in the UK should know this:

  • The UK government has a declared intention of reducing carbon emissions.
  • The publication of paper books in the UK leads to almost a billion tonnes of carbon emissions each year. Newspapers and magazines each produce more than this.
  • Production and sale of an e-book involves just 3% of the carbon emissions produced by a paper version.

E-books make far more sense in today's world. It takes an enormous amount of energy to cut down and transport trees. It takes more energy to produce the paper, transport it, print it and distribute it. We have to use energy to travel to the shop and buy books, magazines and newspapers and then we have to carry them around to read them. When we've finished with them it takes more energy to dispose of them.

If you were a student which would you prefer to carry - six textbooks or a Kindle? If you like to read on holiday how about carrying an entire library with you? You can do that with an e-book reader.

E-books make environmental sense yet:

The government charges the full rate of VAT on the sale of e-books and e-zines but no VAT on paper books, newspapers or magazines. They say VAT is charged on e-books because 'it's a service.' Apparently the work of the printing industry in making and distributing the words of writers is not.

Every author in the world should be kicking up a fuss about this nonsense. It makes e-books in the UK 20% more expensive and holds back the industry. At a time when students need to cut back on their expenses, the government is making it cost them more if they choose to buy e-books.

Perhaps the government needs the extra tax income? Well authors earn more from e-book sales than from paper books; that means they will recoup the lost VAT in more income tax.

Every author should be pressing the UK government to remove the ridiculous tax on e-books. Let's bring down the cost to our readers, save those dwindling fossil fuels and at the same time help ourselves.

What can you do? There's an e-petition which we should be promoting about VAT on e-books. Please -

Do everything possible to get this petition to the 100,000 signatures level - the point at which it MUST be debated in Parliament. Even if you are not a UK author this still affects your UK sales.

We need to draw attention to this!

Petition to request the abolition of VAT on e-books


  1. As of 21 Nov 2011 there are 3,752 signatures
    27 Nov 2011 there are only 3,831 signatures!

  2. As of 9th Jan 2012 there are 4,466 signatures

  3. As of 22nd January there are just 4,540 signatures - Please tell everyone you know about this.



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