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back to article JK Rowling's adult novel arrives on ebook full of FAIL

JK Rowling's first novel not to feature young bespectacled wizard Harry Potter was released on Wednesday, following a massive marketing campaign that effectively shrouded The Casual Vacancy in mystery before its debut on bookstore shelves. But it didn't all go according to plan, after the ebook version of the 506-page tome was …

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TRT
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Alert

Noooo!!!

Don't auto-delete my digital first edition which is made all the more rare by the publishers errors!

Mind you, I need a new Kindle after she scribbled her autograph over the screen with a Sharpie(tm).

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Re: Noooo!!!

I realise you're being tongue in cheek but you raise the point that even if the error prone first addition digital copy were indeed to become a rarity it would still be worthless as you'd only paid for a license to read it, you wouldn't actually own anything to sell on.

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Happy

ITunes/iBook edition not affected?

I did not notice anything strange with the ITunes/iBook edition of this book. As I preordered it I should have

received the book right after it was released.

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Holmes

Re: ITunes/iBook edition not affected?

"... were greeted with flaws relating to the ability to adjust margins and font colour and size"

Would it a stretch to conclude they got a physical book instead of digital one and weren't sure how it works?

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Re: ITunes/iBook edition not affected?

Don't joke.. That happened to me once. I had to being it back to the shop, because I couldn't find a charging cable to fit it. Who knew they came pre charged.

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Pint

Tax

""But as some have noted, the steep cost of the ebook shouldn't be blamed on Rowling: It's the taxman's fault in Brussels.""

Which is ironic really as Amazon is not registered in the UK, but in the tax haven in Luxembourg, which means it pays not Corporate tax in Blighty.

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Facepalm

Re: Tax

Corporation tax-dodging does not help with VAT.

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Re: Tax

> Corporation tax-dodging does not help with VAT.

Actually, can't they pay the VAT at Luxembourgish rate?

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Unhappy

Re: Tax

And nobody has noted that even though the eBook does not have a hardcover (or any paper or cardboard of any description), it is priced at the hardcover price until the paperback comes out?

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Re: Tax

or rather the same differential exists. Oh, to be able to edit my posts.

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Re: Tax

> Actually, can't they pay the VAT at Luxembourgish rate?

Not if they're selling in the UK, no.

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jai
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Re: Tax

and 20% on £11.99 is only a couple of quid.

So if it was tax free, they'd be charging us £9.59, which you just know they'd round up to £9.99 anyway.

The lack of a physical product to print, combine into a book and ship to distributors _must_ save the publishing companies more than just 2 quid a book doesn't it?

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Re: Tax

> > Actually, can't they pay the VAT at Luxembourgish rate?

> Not if they're selling in the UK, no.

Yes they can, on digital downloads. Not on physical goods though.

See http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=502578

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Re: Tax

It does, because they pay Luxembourg VAT on ebooks, which is 5% rather than 20% over here.

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WTF?

Re: Tax

It's Luxembourg tax that's paid, not UK. Really annoying if you're a business user as Amazon will neither issue a VAT refund or, more correctly, zero rate the VAT. Apparently, Kindles are not allowed to be used for business use, if you complain, you're breaking the Terms and conditions. They can then delete all your books.

Next time, I'm buying a Kobo.

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Anonymous Coward

@jai

Incorrect. Come on, this couldn't really be an easier percentage.

*£10* + VAT @20% = £12.

The price before VAT *IS* £9.99.

Not "£9.59". You're doing the wrong calculation.

Common sense really, as it's obvious that 9.59x1.2 != 11.99

I suppose you work in computers? I just hope it's not anything to do with money.

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Thumb Down

Re: Tax

The bit on tax is a misdirection. I've just looked at amazon (not because I want to buy the book, just i dislike ebook pricing ripoffs in general);

The Hardcover price is £9; Kindle is £11.99

20% VAT on £9 is £10.80. So the Kindle price is not a tax price, it's a rip off price.

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Boffin

Poppers.

It should be amyl nitrite. The nitrate is something else. Dunno why the Torygraph doesn't know the difference.

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Boffin

Re: Poppers.

Modern practice is always to specify the oxidation state explicitly where a substance can exist in several. So one would write what used to be "nitrate" as "nitrate (V)", and what used to be "nitrite" as "nitrate (III)". So one could quite legitimately write "pentyl nitrate (III)" ("amyl" also being discouraged).

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Coat

Re: Poppers.

It's also been written by "Lazy Journalist Scum", as shown in this 20 year old Lee & Herring clip...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tF2fN4MmMAY

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Re: Poppers.

I've seen poppers labelled as amyl nitrate, alkyl nitrate, amyl nitrite and alkyl nitrite as well as a couple of others I forget (Wikipedia suggests butyl versions). So, perhaps the Torygraph writer took their information from the ingredients list of the product. You can hardly blame someone for that, especially given the tendency of nomenclature to change over the decades.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Poppers.

Useless fact:

Poppers are also the antidote to cyanide poisoning

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Joke

Re: Re: Poppers.

Really? Prove it.

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Coat

Re: Poppers.

It's especially amusing since amyl nitrite apparently leads to "relaxation of involuntary muscles, especially […] the anal sphincter".

Source is Wikipedia, so take your pinch of salt with that piece of totally necessary info.

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Coat

Re: Poppers.

Really? Prove it...

Hey, find us a secret agent and you'll find out.

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@sequester Re: Poppers.

Well, I have a paper textbook that backs that one up too. I believe its use as a sexual stimulant is due to the increased blood flow through [into] sexual organs and the relaxation of the anal sphincter -- hence its use being more prevalent in the gay scene (from what I can gather).

I take it, though, that The Torygraph are referring to the feeling of dizziness and the thumping in the temples it produces as well as the felt increase in heart rate. However, I'd love to think they were, instead, referring to Stephen Fry's description of Dan Brown's canon.

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3% VAT

But Luxembourg are only charging 3% VAT on eBooks - just 35p of the £11.99 price!

Kerching....

Rufus.

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Re: 3% VAT

VAT is what consumers pay - not businesses. As a consumer in the UK we have to pay 20%. The businesses job is to pass this 20% on to the government where bought, so in this case Amazon will be giving that 20% direct to our government. This has nothing to do with Luxembourg.

The VAT on ebooks and not on books issue is annoying though.

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Unhappy

Re: 3% VAT

"The VAT on ebooks and not on books issue is annoying though."

Going by the current state of European economies, which is the more likely to happen to balance the situation

a) Remove VAT on eBooks

b) Put VAT on "real" books.

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Silver badge

Re: 3% VAT

If you buy from a Luxembourg company, you pay Luxembourg VAT, not UK VAT.

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Re: 3% VAT

Nope.

Under EU VAT law, for "Business to Consumer" transactions, and where the deliverable is "not physical" (eg. services, software, or electronic books), the VAT is charged where the vendor is based. In the case of Amazon (and iTunes, and the rest) that's Luxembourg. The VAT on electronic books (and anything else a consumer in the UK downloads from Amazon, iTunes and the rest) goes to Luxembourg, not to the UK.

For "Business to Business" transactions, and where the deliverable is "not physical", the VAT is charged where the purchaser is based. So, as a business purchaser, if you can demonstrate to the vendor of "non physical" items that you are indeed a business and are VAT registered, they should not charge Luxembourg VAT (and you will instead have to account for the VAT on your UK VAT return). However, try telling that to iTunes, Amazon and the rest...

For all transactions where the deliverable is "physical" (eg. a piece of hardware you bought from Amazon), the VAT is charged where the purchaser is based. Which means that, if a consumer buys a physical DVD of a piece of software from Amazon, they pay UK VAT, and if they buy a download of the same piece of software, from the same vendor, they pay Luxembourg VAT.

Oh, and BTW, if you've paid Luxembourg VAT, you can't claim it back on your UK VAT return.

Great, aint it?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: 3% VAT

And the simple solution is to pirate it.

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Anonymous Coward

i'll read it at christmas when the daily fail gives it away free

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Anonymous Coward

SPOILER

All the characters are secretly based on Harry Potter.

Not Harry Potter characters, I mean every character in this new book is just Harry Potter with a different accent. Somebody needs to expose this.

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I wonder

If the flaws were in the inevitable torrented versions.

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Joke

Re: I wonder

No, the publisher just did a Hachette-job on it.

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Facepalm

Re: I wonder

"No, the publisher just did a Hachette-job on it."

Oh dear. Oh dear oh dear oh dear.

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Headmaster

re. "...but ebooks are classified differently because they are subjected to VAT."

No. Ebooks are subject to VAT because they are classified differently. (i.e not zero-rated)

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Unhappy

Another eBook rip-off

Do these people, seriously, want their stuff pirated. An e-book that costs £2 more than the hardback, and it has formatting errors?

eBooks have a lower intrinsic value than paper books because the cannot be loaned, sold on, or even given away, so trying to fleece people without even doing basic quality control is nothing more than profiteering.

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Re: Another eBook rip-off

Agreed. I look at the price of the eBook, then see if anyone is flogging it secondhand. I just got a hardback version of AN Wilson's The Victorians, in 'as new' condition for £2.67 including postage. Kindle edition, £7.31. I love the idea of eBooks, but I'm far too mean to pay these ridiculous prices.

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Re: Another eBook rip-off

Bloody well can with Calibre software!!

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Re: Another eBook rip-off

I've seen some Adobe DRMed digital editions which you are not allowed to read aloud.

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This post has been deleted by its author

The government should either put VAT on books to 20% or zero rate e-books. Having two different rates is silly indeed.

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Adult novel?

Is that "adult" as in "adult entertainment," or as in "for grown ups."

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Adult novel?

"adult" as in the only group of people guaranteed to be able to afford the bloody stupid prices being asked for it.

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This post has been deleted by its author

Re: Adult novel?

Neither, since it's not another "50 Sheds of Grey" homage but nonetheless will draw its readership from the same demographic, i.e. people who are old enough to know better but don't, due to their average reading age being somewhere south of 14.

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Childcatcher

"50 Sheds of Grey"?

Actually that *does* sound rather like the English country version of "50 Shades of Grey"...

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Thumb Down

Re: Adult novel?

"people who are old enough to know better but don't, due to their average reading age being somewhere south of 14."

I think you're being totally unfair and a typical book snob. Anything that gets people who've never read a book since their last english lesson in school reading again is always a good thing. I wonder how many people have (re)-discovered the joy of books, and have since read other stuff, I bet it's quite a few. It doesn't have to be high brow but at least they're reading which is better than not.

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