eBook Changes and 50% Discount

2015 started off with a fair amount of upheaval over here. A new batch of EU VAT rules (over here VAT means sales tax, troosers means pants, collywobbles is a three legged dog and peaky blinders are the things horses wear on their eyes) came into effect for digital products. And governments didn’t bother telling anyone smaller than a giant megacorp (I, like most single person businesses, found out via social media near the end of December).

Long story short: before VAT was charged at the selling country rate. I’m in the UK and comfortably below the threshold so never had to charge any. The new law means I have to charge VAT at different rates in every EU country I sell in, collect location information on every one and keep it for 10 years. Which is way more of an admin burden than I can manage.

So my How to Play Ukulele ebooks were off sale in January while I found a new seller and had the site rejiggered. And, unfortunately, the ebooks are still unavailable in EU countries other than the UK until I can find a good alternative.

But it’s not all bad news. I’ve moved sales onto Gumroad. They’re a great service and there are some big advantages of using them. No more PayPal and more mobile friendly downloads.

50% Discount & Price Drops

I’ve sold a few ebooks via Gumroad already and it’s gone very smoothly. But since the system is still bedding in if you buy before Sunday 8th February you can get 50% off any of the ebooks using this code:

UPDATE: Sorry, this offer has expired.

If you do have any problems ordering just shoot me an email at ukulelehunt@gmail.com

Also, there’s a new ebook multipack: the Soloing Multipack which contains How to Play Blues Ukulele and How to Play Slide Ukulele. Usually it’ll be $19 for the pair but I’m starting it at $17 (the price of the blues ebook alone). So with the discount code you can get both for $8.50.

I’ve also dropped the price of How to Play Classical Ukulele from $9 to $7.

The Good Stuff

No More PayPal

PayPal is very useful. But sometimes it can be a right pain in the arse (most notably a long-running inability for PayPal UK to get along with Amex). I’ve heard from a few people who have trouble with it or just don’t want to use it. And I completely sympathise with that opinion.

Gumroad just uses credit/debit cards. It’s all handled by Gumroad who are super safe payments and fully compliant. I never get to see any of your credit card info. So you don’t have to worry about me using your card to fund my plans to launch a line of ukulele-themed perfumes.

More Mobile-Friendly Downloads

I launched my first ebooks back in November 2007. Back then there was no iPad, no Android and the internet was in black and white. Nowadays many people are using the ebooks on their mobile devices. And Gumroad makes it much easier to do that than the old seller did.

Now you’ll be able to download all the PDFs and tabs straight to a mobile device and open it in your favourite ebook reader (e.g. iBooks, Kindle).

The only files you won’t be able to download to your mobile device (without an app that can handle zip files) are any audio examples accompanying the ebooks. Those you’ll still need to download to a computer and transfer if needs be.

The Bad Stuff

No Sales to EU outside the UK

Because of the VAT rules I’ve had to exclude buyers from EU countries other than the UK. But I am looking into ways of making them available in the near future.

View Comments


  1. mcp February 5th, 2015 3:55 pm

    “Because of the VAT rules I’ve had to exclude buyers from EU countries other than the UK. But I am looking into ways of making them available in the near future.”

    Let me guess – these new rules are meant to provide a boost for small businesses?

    I suppose we cannot point out that if people use VPN software they can appear to be in the middle of Trafalgar Square? I was going to do that when I just ordered the pack. But my conscience got the better of me so I got onto a plane and flew to the UK to make the purchase.

    Totally worth it.

  2. tbone February 5th, 2015 4:16 pm


  3. Woodshed February 5th, 2015 4:38 pm

    mcp: The rules were meant to stop Amazon from setting up in Luxembourg to avoid higher VAT rates. But the new rules are driving a whole lot of independent authors to Amazon. I’m pretty sure the politicians don’t care either way about small businesses.

    tbone: Woohoo!

  4. AlistairC February 5th, 2015 5:58 pm

    Does that mean if you move to Luxembourg we won’t be able to buy your e books in the UK?

  5. John February 6th, 2015 8:19 am

    What about asking for “donations” from charitable customers in the EU? Is that legal in overburocratized Brussels?
    Of course, to do that research would require lawyers specialized in EU legal code and would require a waiver in the tens of thousands.
    Smarter to just shut out continental Europeans. Jeez!

  6. John February 6th, 2015 8:21 am

    @mcp: Why should we have the guilty conscience? Shouldn’t it be the Eurocrats who commute between Strassburg and Brussels for some unknown reason?
    It doesn’t take a genius to understand why people don’t vote.

  7. Woodshed February 6th, 2015 2:22 pm

    AlistairC: I think I can keep the business registered in the UK and move to Luxembourg. No plans to move there though!

    John: I don’t have the team of lawyers and accountants necessary to pull of anything like that and get away with it.

  8. Dave February 7th, 2015 1:17 pm

    got my Blues and Slide for $8.50, awesome sauce

  9. Woodshed February 7th, 2015 5:48 pm

    Dave: Thanks! Glad you like it.

  10. karl March 2nd, 2015 3:06 pm


    [add you favorite smiley here]

  11. Woodshed March 5th, 2015 8:31 am

    karl: As soon as I find a way to extract the scent of the inside of a ukulele!

Got something to say?