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.

The Kindle Fire, Amazon?s color touchscreen tablet, is flying off the virtual shelves, the company says. Its price tag is $200 — and that’s all many consumers think they need to know.But when I reviewed the Fire a few weeks ago, I wasn’t what you’d call a raving fan. True, it has no camera, microphone, GPS function, Bluetooth, memory-card slot, or built-in calendar or note pad. But the real problem was the responsiveness. As I wrote:“Most problematic, though, the Fire doesn’t have anything like the polish or speed of an iPad. You feel that $200 price tag with every

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