Ellen Harvey is a freelance writer and editor who covers the latest technologies and strategies reshaping the publishing landscape. She previously served as the Senior Editor at Publishing Executive and Book Business.

It's a popular stance among publishers that they and their industry are a gentle sprinkle of special snowflakes and that their software (i.e. ebooks) should be taxed at a lower VAT rate than other software (i.e. websites or any other kind of digital file).

The problem is that defining all digital media as services is exactly what a technology-neutral regulation looks like. All digital content has the same VAT. Nobody has clearly outlined how you can define ebooks as special without discriminating against other digital media


Rakuten-owned Kobo has launched its new high-resolution display ebook reader, the Glo HD. The device will be hitting shelves starting May 1 in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand; May 22 in France, and June 1 in the UK, Italy, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain at $129.99 (roughly Rs. 8,000).

The Kobo Glo HD e-reader features a 6-inch (1448x1072) display, the highlight of which is a 300ppi pixel density, the same as its closest competitor, the Kindle Voyage - which also features Carta E-Ink technology.

In an unprecedented move, the Culture Ministers of France, Germany, Italy and Poland have jointly called on the European Commission to modify the European Union's law to ensure that ebooks and paper books carry the same value-added tax (VAT) rate.

The latest initiative follows a recent ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) which states that ebooks are not equal to paper books, and as such the same VAT rate should not apply.

Amazon released its monthly KDP Select report yesterday, and the news was unsurprising.

The report revealed that last month Amazon was paying indie publishers and authors  an average of $1.41 each time an ebook was loaned from Kindle Unlimited and the Kindle Owner's Lending Library. The loans were funded out of a pool of some $8 million, and with a little math and the back of an envelope we reach an estimated 5.67 million loans for February.

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