The European Parliamentary Research Service (EPRS) just wasted a lot of people’s time. The EPRS has published a new briefing document on the state of the ebook market in Europe, but unfortunately they did not bother to get their facts straight before the report was released.
This 12-page PDF summarized the current laws, piracy, taxes, relative market share, and other issues about ebooks in Europe. I can’t vouch for all of the report (it links to a lot of seriously doubtful news stories, and has other errors), but it does bring to light certain details like the fact that the underdeveloped ebook markets in Europe are still seeing brisk sales of English-language ebooks.
This seems to be especially true for the central and eastern European (CEE) region where English as a second language is increasingly popular. Even though this development is currently difficult to quantify, British export statistics reveal that English books account for 10% to 15% of the local market in Slovenia, around 6% in Latvia, Lithuania, and Croatia, and 3% to 5% in all other CEE countries. Data from research also indicates that in 2013, 70% of the 100 top-selling titles in the Slovene I-Bookstore were in English. In contrast, English titles accounted for only 1% of the top 100 titles in Germany, 2% in France, and 3% in Italy.
The section on VAT is especially worth reading. It touches on the ebook tax situation on a global level, telling us for example that Peru charges the its standard VAT on ebooks, while Brazil does not. (Of course, that section is also incomplete; it neglects to identify the US as not having a VAT.)
You might want to skip the section on Google Books, however. There are numerous factual errors, including the not entirely accurate claim that Google Books is the same thing as the HaithiTrust (a related but separate digitization project).
In fact, the whole report should be taken with a grain of salt, but if you like you can find more in the PDF.
image by Matt Hammond