Thanks to new VAT laws that came into force in the E.U. on 1 January 2015, it will no longer be feasible for me to continue to self-publish in a digital format. These well-meaning laws were supposed to stop big businesses evading tax, but their effect on microbusinesses like mine, which earn next to nothing at the best of times, will be catastrophic, increasing paperwork, accounts and complicated arithmetic (never my strong point) to a degree where the meagre returns just won’t be worth the time, effort and expense.

I can’t even begin to explain the new laws, but try reading this, which summarises them more elegantly than I ever could. Suffice to say, I would be required to deal with 75 different tax rates across 28 different markets.

To this end, I shall be removing my digital books from amazon’s online shops at some point during this coming week. If, as I hope, you enjoy my writing and would like to read more of it, you have just a couple of days to download examples of it. If a million of you download one of my books, this will naturally encourage me to think again about shutting down. But of course I’m not expecting this to happen, and I don’t get that many visitors on this blog anyway.

My self-published books in print will still be available – for the time being anyway, since new laws are afoot that will extend the chaos to non-digital goods in the very near future – as well as those books of mine that have been published in the traditional way, by traditional publishing houses.

I am currently trying to finish another novel, The Coming Thing, but this business is so demoralising that I’m starting to wonder if it’s even worth continuing with it, or indeed with anything else. In fact, I’m starting to wonder if my professional writing career, such as it has been, is over. I wish I’d trained to be a dentist, or a plumber.

Anyhow, if you want to download one of my ebooks, you should probably do it right now.

Here’s my author page.



18 thoughts on “STOP PRESS

  1. That’s sad if you feel you’ve wasted your time with writing. I’m sure you’ve brought entertainment to many through your words. If you enjoy writing then that is what you should do it for. Good luck with the million downloads 🙂 x

    • Thanks! I think I need to step back and see what’s happening. For example, will all the different amazons be making payments to me separately, in which case I will need to send them all separate VAT involces? And how will the new laws affect payments from other companies, for example, if I write a blog for a British newspaper? Does that count as digital, in which case I shall have to start charging VAT everywhere else? I’m very confused.

      • There’s no change at Amazon at all. Except that books will cost different amounts to the customers depending on where they live. The accounting and payments process is exactly the same now as it was last month. Same at Smashwords (and presumably D2D and other aggregators). The only changes are if you were/are selling *direct* to customers from your website.

  2. As I understand it, albeit imperfrectly, writing a piece for a paper would be a Business to Business transaction, (B2B) and remains essentially unchanged.

    But the best thing might be just to throw the whole thing into the lap of your accountant and let them sort it out, it’s what they get paid for.

  3. If you sell through Amazon they will take care of all this VAT nonsense for you and you don’t need to do anything. If you sell direct through your website, that’s when you need to worry about it. Legislation that was supposed to make Amazon play fair has had the effect of forcing self-pubbed authors to sell through Amazon. It’s all a mess, and they’ve explained it all very poorly. Good luck to you!

  4. Thank you, thank you everybody – your advice and encouragement hugely appreciated.

    Sucks that everyone now has to sign up to amazon, though – effectively making them even bigger than they were already. So much for small independents, huh?

    • My accountant in France tells me I would have to generate proforma invoices to Amazon, even if I don’t send them! Not VAT ones though – so whatever you’ve been doing up to now re Amazon, just keep doing that

  5. Hi Anne – if you’re selling through Amazon, then Amazon is the seller and will handle ALL VAT issues for you. You don’t need to do anything … they will continue to send you reports and payments of what they owe you as today … so it’s basically no change for you! Which is good.

  6. Why are you stopping? If you publish via Amazon they do all the VAT for you? There is no reason for you to stop selling via Amazon

  7. Pingback: “Jennifer Aniston And the Curse of Friends” : The Cultural Gutter

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