The International Authors Forum agreed at its AGM to release two new position statements, making clear the IAF’s stance on the issue of Public Libraries and Tax on Books.
Whether for pleasure, study or self-improvement it is important that we, as a society, make the practice of reading accessible to all. The retail cost of books is a determinant in this accessibility. Any significant disruption of a publisher’s careful pricing of books could have a severely negative impact on sales. For these reasons the IAF opposes the taxation of books. Reading for pleasure has a very positive effect on a child’s development through life, and lifelong learning opportunities for adults therefore it’s important to ensure people have access to a range of books that meet their needs.
Libraries are cherished by authors as a means to keep their work available to the public, and to appreciate the writing of others. Libraries are very important to the authors’ community, as they provide lasting, easy access to their works while respecting copyright. Governments make cuts to library services and authors remuneration for public lending at the cost of literacy, education, and social mobility, all of which suffer in any area where it is harder to access books.
The IAF opposes taxation on books, newspapers, journals and many important sources of information, be they cultural or educational. We will lend our support to territorial campaigns against this wherever we can. Where a tax on books is introduced, we will warn that government that such taxes could potentially lead to a long term negative effect far greater than the short term budgetary gains that might be achieved.
The position statements can be found below.