My client wants visitors to pay for downloadable pdf forms, how easy is that?

My client wants me to design a site and have a page where visitors pay for downloadable pdf forms, how easy is that? Not sure if she just wants paypal or a full credit card payment facility, but I can’t get my head around it. Where does she store the pdfs? How does it work? What stacks are simplest in this case?

I have Yuzool’s Cart stacks but it’s been years since I used them so I’m starting from scratch, not sure if I can use those in this way?

The tricky thing with selling digital downloads is that they are subject to VAT in the EU. You may have heard of something called VAT-MOSS here on these forums or elsewhere.

It basically means that for any type of digital download you sell (whether it is a simple knitting pattern or an entire HD film documentary) you have to add VAT. Depending on where the person buys from governs how much VAT they pay - because VAT amounts vary between countries. And once you have deducted the VAT, you have to register with that country and pay them the tax through their preferred system, after currency conversion.

I know it sounds like I am making this up and talking total rubbish, but I am not! Selling any digital downloads since 1st January 2015 has become a mammoth task if you want to maintain ethics and avoid falling foul of the tax laws. The only way to simplify it is if you know your target customer is outside the EU - then you can continue to have a simple store front. But I have heard Canada and Australia thinking are of implementing something along the same lines as the EU, so this might not work for very long.

If you are still keen to sell digital downloads to EU customers and wider markets, it would probably make more sense to sell through a third party (like Paddle or Fastspring). Yes they will take more of a commission cut, but they will sort all the complicated VAT issues on your behalf. And host the files for you securely. Typically it is a simple case of uploading the file, setting the price / title and copying the checkout code into your website.

I use Paddle and they are brilliant. Since then I think Realmac have started using Paddle to sell RapidWeaver and I know of a few other developers that use it too. They are super-friendly to have a casual chat with, if you need some more help or advice with this. I’ve even video Skyped with them in the past to discuss things.


Will thank you so much for your thorough explanation. In this case the forms are probably only for the local region in the UK as they are training fitness programmes for her clients. So would be stirling only. However I’m not 100% sure that someone abroard wouldnt buy. I’ll pass on your information and let her think about it some more. I’ll also check out Paddle. Thanks again.

Just to add to @willwood’s helpful post, I would recommend his free stack to implement on your website.

It’s also worth mentioning that there is no ‘cart’ as such and each purchase has to be made separately…

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