European law requires that VAT be added to book purchases.
We are based in Canada, with no physical presence in the EU, but the EU has decided that all merchants need to charge VAT to EU customers. We have registered to charge and remit VAT under the VAT MOSS program.
If you are in Europe and you are trying to buy a Leanpub book, you should see VAT added to the book's price on the book web page.
We try to correctly detect the country you are in based on your IP address, so that we can show the price including VAT on the web page for the book. However, sometimes this doesn't work. For example, if you are using a VPN, we can get fooled. Other times, the country lookup can be slow, and you can see the price change, initially showing a pre-VAT price, and then showing a price with VAT included.
However, when you go to complete your purchase, we ask you for the country you are in, and we ensure that VAT is correctly applied.
The application of VAT is based on 3 things:
#1. Country of residence declared on the checkout form.
#2. Country detected by IP address.
#3. Country associated with the address attached to the payment method.
Two of these three pieces of information must match in order to complete the transaction. The VAT rate which is used is based on the country which matched.
We show the VAT charged on the purchase receipt.
Now, if you are purchasing for a business which has a VAT number, you can provide your VAT number in our purchase form, so that your purchase is exempt from VAT.
These rules are complex, and we're doing our best to comply with them under the VAT MOSS system which was set up for foreign merchants. (We are based in Canada, and we are complying with EU law under the VAT MOSS system.)
If you are a Leanpub author based in Europe and you (or your accountant) would like more information about Leanpub and VAT, please see this article http://help.leanpub.com/en/articles/917414-i-have-a-business-and-my-accountant-says-that-i-need-to-collect-and-remit-vat-on-my-ebook-sales. You can also go here http://help.leanpub.com/en/articles/480624-business-information-about-leanpub for our business info like our incorporation number, VAT number, GST number, address, etc.