A survey from the Federation of European Publishers (FEP) and the International Publishers Association (IPA) has highlighted the international disparities in the taxing of books and e-books.

The report covers 79 countries, and reveals that only 22% of them apply the standard rate of VAT or Goods and Services Tax (GST) to printed books, while 69% apply standard VAT/GST to e-books. The global average VAT/GST rate for printed books is 5.75%, while the average VAT/GST rate for ebooks is 12.25%.

Other findings include:

Denmark applies the highest VAT/GST rate on printed books (25%)
Hungary applies the highest VAT/GST rate on e-books (27%)
Chile is the only Latin American country not to apply zero-rate VAT/GST to printed books
Israel is the only Middle Eastern country to apply standard VAT/GST to printed books
The majority of African countries surveyed (8 out of 13) have zero-rate VAT/GST on printed books

FEP deputy director Enrico Turrin said: "Reduced VAT rates are currently applied by 26 out of 28 member states [of the European Union]. The next logical step is to let Member States apply the same fiscal regime to all types of books."

IPA policy director José Borghino said: "E-books continue to labour under an unwarranted and obsolete discrimination. We call for a zero-rating for both printed books and e-books as the best way to support reading, education and a thriving knowledge economy."

This article has been adapted from a story that appeared in the U.K. publication, BookBrunch.