* Posts by iucounu

2 posts • joined 31 Oct 2011

Ebooks must stay fat with VAT, blame the EU, MPs told


Everyone seems to think...

...that removing the physical costs of production and distribution means there's a huge pot of cash being saved by us, the publishers. Everyone wants a slice: the authors and agents want better royalties, and the customers and retailers want lower prices.

In actuality, most of the cost of making a book is already spent by the time you even get to production. You're spending the money on advances, staff costs, freelance costs, permissions, etc etc. So when the files get forked off to print or epub conversion, despite the fact that the latter is largely gravy, you're still hoping that you're going to make a single figure profit margin, and that is for a Big Six publisher.

On ebooks we're paying double or triple to the author than we would on a printed book - say, 25% of receipts - the retailer's taking a big discount or commission, and the govt. is taking their VAT (which is usually less than 20% in fact, due to some arcane wrinkle that's too boring for me to actually take the time to understand.)

I agree that ebooks should be a little cheaper than print, because you're not getting the same kind of property rights as you have over print, and you're also talking about a less hand-crafted, less aesthetically-pleasing object. But please don't make assumptions about the economics of publishing if you've never actually read a publishing P&L statement.

Steve Jobs' last words: 'OH WOW. OH WOW. OH WOW.'


Stay classy, guys.

It's impressive stuff, taking the piss out of someone's last words, and laughing at the grief of his relatives. Nice work, everyone.

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