Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Back in the flow and into 2015

A belated Happy New Year to all and best wishes for a fruitful 2015.

We had a very quiet Christmas and New Year but I am shocked to discover how long it is since my last post. I have not been idle however - it is simply that there have been pressing matters on the marketing and administration front. Plus a bad back!!

Final tweaks for The Long Leg of Italy came to light as being urgent. I am eagerly awaiting the proof copy and looking forward to publication later this month. It will also be available at the same time in ePub and *pdf formats as well as multiple formats from the Smashwords store - our US distributor of ePub. You can pre-order on the AppleiBookstroe, B&N Nook and Kobo.

This is the third in the Just Us Two travel series and, as usual, various disasters awaited us as we travelled the length of Italy over the years. You can read more about it here. It is much bigger than the others with twenty colour photos and a raft of live links for more information.

A new title means much updating of marketing materials on the web and social media sites. (Flyers and brochures were done some time ago.) I have had fun doing this.

Your signed copy.

There is more on each title on my 'Your signed copy' page. I still have a few copies of the first edition of Just US Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery with an original award seal @£7.50 incl. p+p UK. contact me if out of the UK. I can send a signed copy of any title with dedication. e-mail me:
I can also arrange to have an order( mixed or otherwise) to be delivered straight to your location. Contact

To Vat or not to VAT.That is the eBook question.

My last post was about the new EU rules on VAT for digital products. I fully understand why it has come about as it has. My long-held conviction though is that eBooks should be Zero rated or a very low rate at the very least. A book is a book, is a book. My distributor/printer lists eBooks as a 'Glassbook'. When you think about it, it makes sense. You are reading words which are behind glass. 

(Our understanding is that VAT in the EU is now charged on country of customer - not supplier and includes such things as knitting patterns, screenplays, music, films, eBooks, training programmes etc where there is no human interaction.) 
The powers that be have created a monster. I have read that some small enterprises will cease trading due to the administrative nightmare. 

At least prices in the UK will be on a level playing field from different aggregators based in different parts of the world as they will all have to include 20% in the list price for UK customers. Thankfully we don't sell downloads from our websites and are able to leave the real headaches of handling the differing VAT rates of twenty-nine countries within the EU to the various digital distributors.

As we have looked at figures over the last few weeks, we have rationalised them and one or two titles have actually come down in price. All are very good value at a sensible price:
  • Just Us Two travel books due to the wealth of cultural and geographic information, rich colour photos, and live web links.
  • Lifelong Learning Personal Effectiveness Guides due to the depth of learning within the covers of each book. They are a training package in themselves which would cost far more if attending a training course or learning programme. They are also enriched with colour images to illustrate points, and live web links.
  • All of which have to be completely re-formatted to strict submission guidelines for each format/distributor. Skills level needed is unquantifiable.
Where can you get a user-friendly, non-threatening, quality training course for under £3.00GBP?  And the travel books have detailed routes, photographs , are packed full of cultural history, fun, and a birds-eye view of the country. More information here.

Rosalie xx

Friday, 19 December 2014

Changes in EU VAT rules for Digital Purchases in Europe includes eBooks.

A big stick. A tax on knowledge, growth, and development through reading. A potential barrier for the reluctant reader.

I simply must put pen to paper on this one!

Currently, VAT on eBooks is charged at the rate applicable in the supplier's location.
I have long been frustrated that in the the UK, VAT rules on eBooks supplied from the UK, are at the same standard rate as everything else [20%] while the same book as a print book is Zero rated. This created a difference in the price of different formats - Kindle, Adobe *pdf, ePub - depending from where the eBook was supplied for sale and download and how the e-retailer applied the VAT.

I had understood that recent EU talks were looking at a possible across the board figure of around 5%.
Evidently, I was mistaken. I am certainly disappointed!

New EU rules announced recently mean that from January 1st. VAT will be  charged at the rate of the country of purchase (consumer), NOT the country of sale (supplier), i.e.,where digital product is sold or downloaded from . This means that ALL UK customers will pay the UK rate of VAT.


Current arrangements.

Our Amazon Kindle eBooks sell worldwide. In Europe, which includes the UK store, Amazon add the 3% Luxembourg VAT to the ex VAT price. This is minimal but does make it hard to set a selling price as other countries/outlets have different arrangements.

Our Adobe*pdf eBooks distributed and sold from Gardners in the UK, attract the 20% VAT which makes the selling price (the price that you the reader pays) much higher than other formats. It is though transparent; it is easy to set the ex VAt and VAT inclusive price.
Our Adobe*pdf eBooks are also distributed to e-retailers worldwide by Ingram (US).

Why have  a *pdf version you may ask? 
1) Well it can be read easily on a PC with Adobe Digital Editions. 
2) For the more technical Lifelong Learning Personal and Professional Development Guides, it actually gives a better read as the formatting does not change. All sections and layout is exactly like the print book.
3) Not everyone has a tablet or similar.
4) It is distributed to e-retailers e.g. Foyles, 'txtrKobo Books, Welsh Books Council - gWales-Welsh Books Council, libraries and more.

**Kobo and 'txtr have both the ePub and Adobe*pdf formats available as:

Our ePub eBooks are distributed by Smashwords in the US to e-retailers Apple iBooks, Barnes & Noble, Kobo (and partners such as BookaBookshop in Oswestry UK), OverDrive, Flipkart, Oyster, Scribd, 'txtr, Baker & Taylor's Blio and Axis360 (libraries!) and more. To date the VAT issue has been very small. However the changes will bring all formats more into line.

Kobo and 'txtr have both the ePub and Adobe*pdf formats.
Copyright Smashwords
Smashwords also offer via their own store our titles in multiple formats (epub. mobi. pdf. rtf. lrf. pdb. htm.) for those with a PC, Kindle (yes, you can download straight from Smashwords to your Kindle),tablet, iPad,Android,etc. You can read a sample online.

Implications of new rules.

From January 1st, VAT will be due for downloads in the UK at 20% regardless of where the seller is based. And this is not restricted to eBooks. It applies to other digital products sold in Europe.

From my point of view this will standardise the selling price across the board with Kindle, kobo, iBookstore etc. being more comparable to Adobe *pdf.(Currency conversion rates permitting.) It does however, mean that Amazon will have to apply a much higher tax than the current 3%. To make matters worse, different EU countries have different VAT rates! 

Where the ePub downloads from the UK currently may have no VAT or have a small amount, they will have to have a whopping 20%. Not just a small amount to swallow - more something to choke on!

So the bottom line is that the price you see at checkout in the UK and Europe may in some cases change from January 1st 2015 as all eBook formats are brought into line to satisfy the VAT man. 
This is not a publisher or author increase. It simply goes to the VAT Man.

Yes, a big stick!

How to beat these new rules.

Quite simply, take advantage of current offers and download before January 1st as far as possible. Hopefully, e-retailers will make some discounts to offset this punitive tax on reading. Let us be clear. It is the reading that is important - and eBooks are a good way to get reluctant readers interested - not the format or way in which the reading is enjoyed.

Visit our bookstore at either our website Discover-Rosalie or from this Blog-Rosalie's Chatter.
Download your format of choice direct from 


Sunday, 30 November 2014

When the Rain in Spain was a Tornado

With bad weather promised for southern Spain, no-one expected the force of nature it experienced.
The Canary Islands (on the BBC World weather) were completely covered and I feel sorry for those who had expected wall-to-wall sunshine.

Malaga on mainland Spain last week, a little bird told me, was under three feet of water at one point. It also had heavy hailstones bouncing down the streets.

West of Malaga, there was an orange alert. By all accounts, Torremolinos (near Fuengirola) was hit by a tornado which left a trail of destruction behind it.

East of Malaga, the sea was ferocious as it battered the beaches, bringing with it sugar cane sticks which apparently had been washed down the once-dry river beds to the sea.

As the storm blew itself out, sunshine returned to bathe everything in its warm glow.

We have visited Spain a few times now, and Nerja in particular is a wonderful, unspoilt area. Backed by mountains it turns its face to the sea to provide a tranquil scene.

 More in ORANGES: A Journey in paperback or multiple eBook formats.

Rosalie xx

Friday, 21 November 2014

Flavours of Granada

Blending the old with the new.

With the Sierra Nevada dominating it, Granada stands proud and timeless in what is now the Province of Granada in Andalucia, southern Spain. Approaching from the south you are treated to a backdrop of the snow-capped (if you are lucky) mountains as you travel through the newer and more modern part of the city.

We have visited Granada more than once as part of our recent frequent visits to Nerja on the coast. This period of rejuvenation in the warm sunshine and sea breezes of the Mediterranean Sea have helped us to re-focus in the hurly burly of life.

On our first visit to Granada, we were fortunate enough to be able to see something of the city as well as the Alhambra Palace and Generalife Gardens. Now, the booking system in place means that you have a timed slot for the Alhambra Palace which could make it difficult to do everything in one day.(Saga now offer the Alhambra as an optional tour and the representatives, who live in the hotel, organise the trip around the time-slot.)
Everything in one day? We have visited four times now and still not seen everything. 

As you walk into the centre of the city along the wide tree-lined boulevard, where old mingles with the new, you will find a wonderful modern department store called El Corte Ingles which has always proved to be a good meeting place as well as a good place to part with a few Euros. A little further along is the historic centre with the Cathedral and Royal Chapel where King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella are buried.

Meander along and, rounding a corner, you happen on a collection of ancient, narrow streets huddled together to form a bazaar type of market The golden, mellow stone is welcoming. The collection of shops, and goods on display hanging from every available space, take you back in time. 

Round another corner and you come to streets where the buildings rise high into the sky - the balconies giving a taste of how life was lived in times gone by,

Venture into the main thoroughfare and on one intersection, with traffic zooming around, is a huge monument depicting Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus as she hands him the letters of authority to go out and discover the New World. This, you must understand, was in the fifteenth century.

Along the riverside are tree-lined walks and seats to rest your weary legs.  There is so much to see and  Granada is very easy to explore but it is hard to get a flavour in a few short hours. The answer is the very new City Tour Train.

Granada City Tour Train.

This is a greatly updated version of the 'Little  Train' which you see in so many tourist spots. It has been built specially for Granada and the narrow streets of the old quarter - the Albaycin. If you have already visited the Alhambra Palace, you will have a different perspective as you trundle along the wooded hillside paths with the fantastic views over the city. With about eleven stops and a hop on-hop off system it is a fantastic way to get around the city. Follow the link above to read more about this fantastic city.

Read more on Granada and other parts of Andalucia in ORANGES: A Journey which, although a fiction story,is based on real settings. 

Rosalie xx

Monday, 20 October 2014

Blinking in the sunshine.

A change of focus as I go out in the world. 

The last few weeks have seen me diverting from my usual activities as I abandoned the comfort of my comfy chair and well-organised desk in what I call 'my cubby-hole.  I went over the county border out into the community to deliver a series of workshops to young entrepreneurs - or as I called them - the tycoons of tomorrow.

I am impressed with the support which Flintshire, through various initiatives, are providing for those who have dreams and want to start their own business. I take my hat off to all of them.

The Flintshire Enterprise Club /Dragon's Den Cymru offers support and engagement to people of all ages. The two groups which I met over three weeks were all at different stages of development in their fledgling businesses.

The purpose of the workshops was to guide them on how to deliver an effective talk or presentation.

I have to say, that I personally learned a lot. The two groups were diverse with the second group hoping to present their business to the forthcoming Dragon's Den Cymru.

I was also impressed that the Community Centre which I visited had a link with the school which adjoins the building. The IT suite was brilliant with the computers being linked into wide screens. (I first came across this collaboration when I started to visit my local gym and pool where nearby schools have full use of the pool and activity facilities.)

I try to inspire others to push back their boundaries but I have to say that these young people - of varying ages and abilities - inspired me. All I can say is 'thank you'. It was good to get back 'to the coal face' so to speak.

Rosalie xx

Read my article on LinkenIn