Germany slashes tax on ebooks while UK lags behind with high VAT rate

Germany has moved to cut back the tax charged on ebooks from 19% to 7% — a fall of 63%. The ebook tax rate is now at the same level of tax charged on print books in Germany.

The new rules came into force on December 18, 2019 and will see the new Value-added Tax (VAT) rate applied to ebooks sold to customers in Germany.

The tax reduction is another boost for the fast-growing German ebook market which is offering great potential for indie authors.

Amazon recently extended its Advertising scheme for KDP authors to cover Germany and it also added a German edition of the weekly Amazon Charts which shows the best-selling books by sales and in terms of how much the books are read.

Indie authors came out well in the initial German Amazon Charts with self-publishing thriller writer Catherine Shepherd taking the top spot and having another title at No 6 while other indies also featured.

There has been a bit of a Harry Potter takeover, as ever at Christmas, in the German Amazon Charts this week but indies are still making a good showing in the Most Read section.

The ability to advertise their Amazon ebooks in Germany should be a particular boost for indie authors who have become squeezed in the US Amazon Advertising market as competition and ad budgets have increased massively and costs have risen sharply.

There has been a major debate throughout the European Union for several years about the VAT rate on ebooks but the German cut finally shows some widespread movement towards countries aligning ebook tax rates with those charged on print books.

France (5.5%) and Italy (4%) led the push for lower tax rates on ebooks but there remain several outliers with very high ebook tax rates — notably the UK which charges a VAT rate of 20% on ebooks while maintaining a rate of 0% for print books.

Amazon will apply the new German tax automatically on your ebooks but if you want to change the price of your ebooks in Germany then go to your KDP Bookshelf and edit the pricing details under Other Marketplaces.

Amazon Advertising widens out for KDP authors to target UK and Germany

Indie authors and publishers have strong showing on new Amazon Charts for UK and Germany