Remember the stories about how Amazon bases its European e-book operations in Luxembourg to avoid having to pay the huge VAT (Value-Added Tax) surcharges that would come from selling e-books out of England? The Bookseller reports this strategy might also make it “big in Japan”. Or, rather, big outside of Japan.

Japanese company Rakuten, who recently bought Kobo, will be selling Japanese e-books to Japanese customers from Kobo’s servers in Toronto. Because the sales will be considered “exports” to Japan, they will not be charged Japanese consumption taxes (currently set at 5% but planned to rise to 10% or 15% later this year).

Though the article doesn’t mention that any other companies are planning similar moves, I would be rather surprised if Amazon wasn’t at least considering it.

It’s really kind of a weird funhouse mirror reflection of the way that media consumers can currently order physical media to be shipped from overseas, but run up short when we want to purchase UK-only e-books in the US, or vice versa. We can’t buy foreign e-books from overseas, but people overseas can’t order domestic e-books domestically!


The TeleRead community values your civil and thoughtful comments. We use a cache, so expect a delay. Problems? E-mail