What is the tax definition of a book printed in France ?

Verified: March 29, 2019 - Directorate of Legal and Administrative Information (French Prime Minister)

From a tax perspective, a book is defined as a printed set, illustrated or not, published under a title, having as its object the reproduction of a work of the mind of one or more authors for the purpose of teaching, the dissemination of thought and culture.

It must consist of printed, assembled elements having the same object, which cannot be dissociated or sold separately (works including discs, films or slides for example).

The whole must not contain more than a third of the total surface in advertisements and blanks integrated into the text.

Are considered as books, in particular:

  • works on letters, sciences and art;
  • dictionaries and encyclopedias;
  • teaching books and exercise books;
  • directories (of personalities, for example);
  • guides (tourist and cultural) and directories;
  • exhibition catalogs and quotation works (collectors);
  • geographic maps;
  • coloring books.

Do not fall under the definition of the book:

  • almanacs;
  • diaries,
  • product sales catalogs,
  • works to be cut,
  • manual, owner's guide and instructions, etc.

The price of a publication depends on its tax classification or not.

If a product is considered from a tax point of view as a book:/p>

he benefits from the single price system;

it is subject to the reduced rate of VAT set at 5.5% (or 2.1% in Corsica, Guadeloupe, Martinique and Reunion), except publications which, because of their pornographic or violent nature, are prohibited from sale minors, exposure to public view or advertising, and are taxed at the rate of 20%.

ISBN and Legal Deposit


An ISBN (International Standard Book Number) is an international book numbering system. It allows, using its 13-character barcode, to identify a title or the edition of a title published by a specific author or publisher. This number is used by all physical or online bookstores, publishers, distributors and libraries, for the management, stock and processing of their works.

If you want to sell your book, or put a price on it, you must obtain an ISBN number. If your book is not for sale, you will not need an ISBN. If you wish to sell a periodical publication (eg magazine), you will need to obtain an ISSN.

If you already have an ISBN, don't forget to put it on the back of your cover with its barcode, necessary for the sale.


Legal deposit is the obligation for any publisher, printer, producer, importer, to deposit each document that it publishes, prints, produces, or imports in France at the BnF (Bibliothèque National de France). Legal deposit at the BnF is organized to allow the collection and preservation of books, periodicals, cartographic documents, iconographic documents, audio and multimedia documents, software, videograms, websites and printed music. The deposit of these documents makes it possible to constitute a reference collection which can be consulted in the rooms of the Research Library. It also enables the establishment and dissemination of the French National Bibliography.


The completion of printing - also called Colophon - is a compulsory mention. It indicates where the book was printed. Like the legal deposit, it is an obligation to better control the publications of the country.

Like the mention of the legal deposit, the completion of printing appears at the end of the work, even on the last page. In principle the name and address of the printer must be printed. In practice, it is tolerated to simply indicate the country where the book was printed. Example: "Completed printing in France" or "Printed in France"

When placing your order, well before sending your files, it is possible to tell you the printer selected to complete the printing process.