December Newsletter 279

RNIB partners with publishing company

The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has partnered with publishing company Hachette UK to make all of its books available via the charity’s Bookshare platform.

The free service provides access to an online library of digital resources that can be read electronically or adapted to suit the reading needs of the user, including people who are blind, partially-sighted or have dyslexia.

As a result of the partnership, over 33,000 titles from the publisher are now available in accessible formats.

Publishers Association urges political parties to commit to axing ‘unfair’ reading tax

Trade bodies, including the Publishers Association (PA), have sent a letter to the political parties ahead of the release of their election manifestos calling for them to commit to removing “unfair and illogical” VAT on digital publications.

The letter is endorsed by supporters of the campaign to “Axe the Reading Tax”, who in addition to the PA include the Royal National Institute of Blind People, National Literacy Trust, Society of Authors, the Association of Authors Agents, Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society, Listening Books and BookTrust.

The letter follows the EU council’s decision in October last year to allow – but not force – member states to give digital publications the same VAT-free status as printed books. Countries including Ireland, France, Hungary, Italy, Malta, Belgium and Portugal have already taken advantage of the removal of this “EU barrier” and the letter’s signatories urged the new UK Government do the same.