In relation to the VAT rate charged on the purchase of e-books, this matter has been raised with the Department of Finance and I am advised that the VAT rating of goods and services is subject to the requirements of EU VAT law with which Irish VAT law must comply. The general position is that school books are zero-rated. The zero rate applies to printed books. All digitised publications are treated as the supply of a service liable at the standard rate of VAT. The EU position is that digital information services are not the direct equivalent of traditional printed products, including books. Even where the content is similar, the additional functionality (e.g. search facilities, hyperlinks, archives, etc) associated with electronic content produces a fundamentally different product.