From Publishing Perspectives:
Czech book industry representatives say they hope that after a challenging 2022, the introduction of a zero-percent value-added tax rate (VAT) on books could provide much-needed support to the country’s publishers and booksellers.
During 2022, the country’s book sales dropped to about 8.4 billion koruna (US$359.5 million), down around 3 percent year-over-year. That worrying data was released in the latest market report by the Prague-based Czech Booksellers’ and Publishers’ Association (SČKN).
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Local publishing houses expect that this year’s tax cut on books could improve the situation in their market.
In a message on its home page, the association says, “On January 1, 2024, the approved adjustment of VAT on books came into effect. As of this date, books are exempt from VAT. To put it simply, the VAT rate for books is reduced from 10 percent to zero percent.
“We believe that this enlightened step by legislators—we’re finally at the forefront this time in Europe—will ultimately lead to an increase in the quality of reading in the Czech Republic, the development of Czech book culture, and accessibility for readers.
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Grada’s position, Sviták says, is that digital sales have the potential to serve as a pillar of the publisher’s growth in the coming years.
“We’re committed to continuously improving Bookport,” he says, “our online subscription service for unlimited reading, both in terms of book selection and user experience. We plan to continue improving our digital content offerings and digital services for customers, as well as raising the efficiency of our internal processes through digitization. We’re exploring for ways to expand our product range to include a broader portfolio.”
In addition to this, Sviták says he’s researching the potential of using artificial intelligence in its activities, while remaining “cautious about the negative impact of AI on the book market and copyrights.”
Asked about the potential impact of the reduced VAT rate on book sales in Czechia, Sviták says he expects the tax cut “will help us get back on track for growth and help stabilize the Czech book market as a whole. We can continue to publish a wide spectrum of books from fiction that people enjoy, along with personal-development content, and professional books for specific smaller target groups.
“Certainly, this move will positively influence both the Czech book market and Grada Publishing. It will benefit Czech readers and enrich the cultural landscape. Without this, there’d likely be a significant decline in the number and diversity of published books across the book market, especially in non-mainstream titles that often contribute greatly to societal diversity and enrichment.”
Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives