Research from BU's digital reading project is being used to support a new campaign calling for an end to VAT on all digital publications. Mary Bish, one of the storytellers from a workshop undertaken in Bournemouth, has had her story featured as part of the national campaign. Axe The Reading Tax has the backing of more than 100 MPs, 42 leading publishers and authors Stephen Fry and Joanne Harris, as well as several reading charities. The campaign started last year but has recently had a resurgence of interest thanks to an online petition featuring Mary, press coverage and a question in the House of Commons. With a new Chancellor in place, the hope is that what many see as an unfair tax on reading will be finally removed, following countries like Iceland, France and Italy who have already done so.
The tax covers all sorts of digital publications, including non-fiction, textbooks and research journals so has a direct impact on students. However, its biggest impact is on those individuals like Mary who struggle to read traditional printed material and are dependent on digital devices and the various accessibility features they have built in to them. You can find out more about the campaign and the petition featuring Mary here