a) Smashwords. Oh, I love Smashwords. They built a handy-dandy little pricing tool. You click the button, asking them to raise your ebooks' prices to cover the new VAT, and they take care of everything. Couldn't be easier.
b) Except for Barnes & Noble and All Romance eBooks, both of which add the taxes in at checkout. No need even to log in; it's all handled for you.
c) Kobo is very easy to change. Just log into your account, click on your titles, go to the pricing page (step four of four), click on the red button beside the EUR's listing to turn on independent pricing, and add 20% to the price already being charged. Do this for each title, and you're done.
d) Oh, and Amazon. Well, they're sort of easy. Here's where the situation started getting sticky. More on this in a minute.
e) There's one in every crowd, and this time it's Apple. I had to dig through their FAQs to find anything on the VAT subject, and can't say I was all that happy to learn that Apple's prices are customer-facing, meaning they're not going to do anything to assist authors and other content providers.
So authors, if you sell through Apple directly (rather than through a middleman such as Smashwords), well, you've got a choice. You can either leave your prices as they are and cover the 20% VAT hike through your own proceeds — no, I wouldn't do it, either — or you can go in and raise your prices by 20% in each country of the Eurozone, for each book.
Yeah. Swell fun, that. Especially if you've got more than a few books. And especially if you try to price-match your books with Amazon and Apple. Here's the twist on Amazon: when you let Amazon set the price for your non-U.S. sales, they set the price ONCE. They don't shift the price to correspond with those aforementioned fluctuations in the foreign exchange rates. Apple does.
That's why your 99¢ ebooks (in the U.S.) might range anywhere from 0,71€ to 1,02€ on the Deutschland Amazon website. At the same time. At one point, we had a book at 0,72€, another at 0,90€, and another at 1,02€ … and all the books were 99¢ in the U.S.
And that's why you sometimes get snarky emails from Amazon, saying your book's got a lower price on Apple and Amazon's not happy about that. When you published, you priced the ebook at the same amount on both websites. Time passed. Exchange rates fluctuated. Apple shifted prices to follow. Amazon didn't.
***STOP THE PRESSES!*** A few days ago we brought this situation to Amazon's attention. Checking just now on our ebooks in Germany (as a proxy for all the Eurozone) showed that Amazon has smoothed things out, and now all our 99¢ ebooks are 1,02€. So for now, at least, that part of the problem's been solved for us. (I was about to go into the Amazon dashboard and set ebook prices manually. Whew for not having to bother, at least for right now.)
So with every other sales site under control, what can we do about Apple? There's only one thing to do, and that's to set the prices manually.
- Log into iTunes Producer on your Mac.
- Bring up each ebook in turn.
- Go to the Rights & Pricing screen.
- Click on Add Territory.
- Select the first Eurozone nation. (In alphabetical order: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and Spain.)
- Raise your ebook's price manually. We chose to keep prices the same across all websites where we had the choice — Kobo, Amazon, and Apple. (If/when Amazon's prices don't change to match the fluctuation, hey, the option for direct price control is there, as well.)
- You might have just found this out the hard way, but use commas on Euro pricing rather than decimals. Yep, it matters.
- Be sure to bump up the Price Tier as well.
- Do this for EACH of the countries listed above. Try not to scream with frustration.
Note that I tried doing this through iTunes Connect > click on ebook > Rights and Pricing > Edit Rights and Pricing > raise ebook's price in Euro countries. But my web browser kept freezing right around Ireland, so I settled on the above procedure, instead.
So that's our Dingbat solution to the Eurozone VAT hike. Authors and publishers, how are you handling this situation?
We're in contact with Amazon's customer service department, asking whether or not Kindle prices fluctuate with the foreign exchange rates. It's looking more and more as if we'll need to manually control prices on Amazon as well as on Apple, to prevent price matching wars between them.