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Book VAT cut expected to boost sales

THE CULTURE Ministry expects that cutting the value-added tax on books and textbooks will lead to wider choice and higher quality books.

It proposes to cut the VAT by nine percentage points to 10 percent as of the start of 2008, the SITA newswire wrote.

The ministry is not ruling out the possibility that some publishers will also decrease the prices of books. The Culture Ministry already discussed this issue with the Finance Ministry, which plans to draft an amendment to change the VAT on books.

The Robert Fico government pledged to decrease VAT on some products and services, including books, during its four-year term.

Slovakia introduced the 19-percent flat VAT rate valid for all products and services in 2004. Only Denmark has a higher VAT on books, at 25 percent. Bookkeepers claim that the high VAT on books led to lower book sales.

The number of books published in Slovakia has doubled since the 1990s. While about 4,500 books were released 10 years ago, in 2006 it was 9,400, the ČTK newswire wrote.

The president of the Association of Publishers and Bookkeepers of Slovakia, Alexius Aust, welcomes the idea of lower VAT on books. He said the number of published books has been stagnating in last few years.

"The annual turnover is about Sk1.7 billion (€50.4 million)," Aust told ČTK.

Fiction sales have been stagnating, while the number of printed copies has been decreasing. Sales of scientific, expert and children's literature have been steady.

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