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Latvian Publishers Association Demands a Cut in the VAT Rate on Book

15 August 2019

From Publishing Perspectives:

The Latvian Publishers’ Association has called on the country’s government to cut the VAT on books to 5 percent, restoring the rate to what it was prior to 2008–when the tax skyrocketed to 21 percent.

Founded in 1993, the association has some 35 publishers responsible for about two-thirds of the titles published in Latvia, and close to 75 percent of the industry’s annual revenues. Over the past years, the association has engaged in a number of initiatives to promote Latvian authors in various foreign markets. In 2018, Latvia joined Lithuania and Estonia in a three-way Market Focus program at the London Book Fair.

. . . .

Renāte Punka, the association’s chair, says that the impact of the 2009 spike in VAT has been crippling. Originally put into place at 5 percent in 2004 in alignment with European Union guidelines, it was raised to a staggering 23 percent on January 1, 2009, before being reduced only to 21 percent and later to 12 percent.

The country’s book sales and the number of new titles published each year have never returned to their pre-crisis levels, Punka says.

. . . .

“The discussions about the VAT have been on the agenda of Latvian publishers since the end of 2008,” Punka says, “when, at the height of the economic crisis, the Latvian government–among other drastic measures to stabilize the situation that were implemented over a fortnight–canceled the reduced VAT on books, and the VAT rate rose from 5 percent to that 21-percent point.

“During the next eight months, the book market almost crashed,” Punka tells Publishing Perspectives. “We have raised the question about the possibility to reduce the VAT on books, including ebooks, which are taxed at a full rate of 21 percent at the moment.”

Link to the rest at Publishing Perspectives

Non-US

3 Comments to “Latvian Publishers Association Demands a Cut in the VAT Rate on Book”

  1. The Latvian Publishers’ Association . . . has some 35 publishers responsible for about two-thirds of the titles published in Latvia, and close to 75 percent of the industry’s annual revenues.

    The current population of Latvia is 1,908,683 as of Thursday, August 15, 2019, based on the latest United Nations estimates.

    I am gobsmacked to learn that there are 35+ publishers in all of Latvia! The city I where I live is home to more people than Latvia, and we don’t have 35 publishers including the newspapers and the free weeklies. Latvians must be the most voracious readers on the planet.

    Or perhaps something is rotten in the state of Denmark — er, Latvia — and disinformation habits formed in days of Pravda are still current.

    • Micropresses.
      You’re spoiled by the hyperconcentration of the BPHs.
      Before the multinationals gobbled them up there were thousands in NYC and Boston alone.

      Consider that the randy Penguin runs 250 imprints and each one used to be a standalone publisher at one time or another.

      Even with the BPHs grabbing every imprint out there, there were well over 10,000 in tbe US round the turn of the century. Or about one per 30,000 people.

      (Old link: http://answers.google.com/answers/threadview?id=14107)

      If anything, Latvia is on the short side. Which is believable, given the decades of Soviet suppression and russification.

  2. This is a perfect example of what happens when burdonsome taxes are put into place. Politicians and other advocates of high taxes like to pretend, contrary to all evidence, that taxes have no consequences. Clearly they do.

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