The VAT is coming! Buy books!

My self-sim still read paper books, but then again he does not have to physically move every object he owns from house to house every couple years.

Starting July 1st, the ever helpful Norwegian government will start collecting 25% VAT (a form of sales tax) on electronic services from abroad, such as subscriptions to online games. And, notably, e-books.

This is contrasted with one of the rare holes in the Norwegian VAT, for paper books. For some reason the same does not apply to e-books. The most likely reason is that the government does not want to appear anti-cultural by suddenly taxing books, but e-books were so rare when they were first classified as services rather than books, only a few of us bothered, and nobody important to the public. To extend this to e-books from Amazon is just a matter of harmonizing with EU rules, the European Union has already for some time tried to collect tax from America.

It is not a big deal really, those who think this tax is unfair can simply steal every fifth e-book. Buying them is after all a matter of conscience in the first place, since the Pirate Bay has (as I already mentioned) e-books I could not  buy from Amazon, Barnes&Noble or Google Books.  At least when it comes to the kind of books pirates like to read. Probably not so great a selection of the type of books on my Amazon recommendation list: Aristotle for Everybody by Mortimer Adler, On Grace and Free Will by St Augustine, Holiness is Always in Season by Pope Benedict XVI, and a few more of similar beach lecture level.

Now, buying that kind of books seems extremely dignified for someone such as I. These past 12 years have not exactly been an unbroken triumph march of dignity, piety and deep thought, do you think? Still, the books should be within my reach to enjoy, though it may take its sweet time. In fact, that is somewhat the point: The books I buy before the end of June should ideally tide me through until the US$ has devalued by another 25%, which will likely take several months, if not the whole year.  It may go faster if Congress and the White House cannot agree on the debt ceiling and the government stops paying its bills in September. I certainly don’t think it beyond them.

Since some of these books are likely to be a bit above my pray grade, they may require two or more readings, which should also help make them last. Most likely they are also slow going. But again, that is not necessarily a bad thing. It is not like he who dies with the most books wins. Probably not.