Not All Books Merit State Support, Says Ligi ({{commentsTotal}})

Source: Photo: Postimees/Scanpix

Weighing in on the debate over lowering the VAT rate for e-books, Finance Minister Jürgen Ligi said that not all books merit the reduced VAT they enjoy.

“I wouldn't believe anyone who says that the majority of printed books justify state help, which is what the lower VAT level does, whether the book is on cooking, astrology, a crime novel or plain nonsense,” Ligi told Postimees today.

He said that the lost VAT revenue from many of those books could be better used in boosting culture, adding that he does not support cutting VAT on e-books to 9 percent as it should not be the aim of the government to kill the printed books culture.

The Ministry of Culture recently said it supports lowering VAT on e-books from 20 to 9 percent, the level charged for printed works, but an EU VAT directive recognizes e-books as a electronic service, which cannot be a tax exception.

Currently e-books account for only 1 percent of the nation's book sales.