January 9, 2015

Closing my ebook store

I have decided to stop selling my ebook The Writer’s iPad from my own store. The ebook’s still available from other retailers though, so it’s not discontinued or anything.

The reason for this change are the new VAT rules when selling services, including digital goods, to other EU countries. They’re basically great, because they lets us sell within EU on equal terms.

Before, you had to add the VAT of the seller’s country (25% on an ebook in Sweden). Now, you add the VAT for the buyer’s country (often less than 25% as it is in Sweden). This means that we can all compete on equal terms, as retailers. It also means that customers won’t be able to pay less by avoiding high VAT countries, since they’ll get their home country’s VAT. And finally, it also means that big corporations won’t be able to hide out in low VAT countries, despite mostly selling to other countries, thus making their offer – or their profit – better.

I think the new VAT rules are a good thing, but it comes at a price. The changes means that you’ll have to upgrade your store to add the correct VAT. This isn’t such a big deal, but then there’s the administrative duties surrounding this. You need to keep records, per country, for ten years (seven years for everything else in Sweden), and you need to be able to respond to other countries tax authority enquiries if they want something from your records, electronically.

All in all, this is too much work, too costly, and too much of a bother for me to maintain my own store. So from now on, I’ll just use retailers such as Amazon and iBooks for my ebooks. In the end, this whole thing plays into their hands, because smaller retailers all face these problems, and not all will be able to do the necessary changes. That’s the flipside of the whole EU VAT thing. There’s always a flipside.


In other news, if you bought The Writer’s iPad from me, you’ll still get the second edition for free, as promised. Also, work on the second edition is underway, but there’s a lot left to do, so it’ll be a while longer.

Thoughts? Let @tdh know on Twitter, or find me elsewhere. There is also a newsletter.