BANGKOK, 24 May 2019 (NNT) - Although a survey conducted by the National Statistical Office in 2018 found that Thai people spend up to 66 minutes per day reading, a decline from 80 minutes a day in 2015, the current length of time is not equivalent to that in more developed countries. The government thinks that using a tax measure to encourage the buying of books will support the economics of the book industry and encourage Thai people to love reading.
Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Kreau-Ngam chaired a recent meeting of the committee on promoting a reading culture to create a learning society in Thailand. The government’s first initiative for the promotion of reading, was made under the tax measure to help agriculture, the community and human capital during the period December 15, 2018, - January 16, 2019. It was very well received by the people, especially the private sector that operates printing and e-book businesses. Information from the Publishers and Booksellers Association of Thailand points out that the measure has increased revenue from selling books and publications in chain bookstores, independent bookstores and publishers over the past three years (2015-2017) by 33.3 percent, from the normal sales figure in December of about 670 million baht to 873.19 million baht. The average sales volume of print media saw a sharp increase in just one month. It was also found that the general public wants the tax measure to be extended to continuously facilitate the purchase of books.
The second tax measure for the promotion of reading will be part of tax measures supporting the economy in mid-2019 under the Ministry of Finance. It was approved by the Cabinet on April 30, 2019. The measures consist of a tax initiative for the promotion of tourism throughout Thailand; a tax measure stimulating the purchase of education and sports products; a tax measure promoting reading etc. The tax measure for the promotion of reading allows income earners who are liable for personal income tax, excluding ordinary partnership or a group of non-juristic persons who buy all types of books and ebooks, to deduct such spending of not more than 15,000 baht from personal income for the 2019 tax year from January 1 to December 31, 2019. The maximum spending of 15,000 baht on books and eBooks, also includes the spending on books and publications under the shopping tax-break campaign from January 1st-16th, 2019 (first measure).