Welcome to Reading Around the Globe, a new series here on Reader Voracious Blog geared at fostering a culture of understanding in the bookish community about access to books in various countries around the world. Each post in the series highlights a full interview with one international reader. You can read more about this series here on the series master post.
- What is your name? Hullo! My name is Rain, a bookdragon and an international blogger.
- Blog URL? bookdragonism
- Twitter handle? @rainfallsdown44
- Where do you live? I live in a little town in a not-so-big country which is the Philippines.
- Do you find that there is a culture of reading where you live? If not, tell us a bit how you came to be one! I can’t actually say there is a certain reading culture here. I became a reader because my mom exposed me to books ever since I was a kid. My mom is a bookdragon as well and I think she wanted us to love books as much as she loves them.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I love YA Fantasy most of all but I’m also fond of murder mysteries/thrillers because of the blood and murder content in them.
- Have you always been a reader?I can say yes to this question. As I have said, my mom exposed me to reading ever since I was a kid so I’ve always loved books more than anything.
- Do you also read books published in your native language/published locally to you? If so, tell us a bit about what kinds of books are published in your country! I read local books before through an online site called Wattpad but I stopped reading on that site a couple of years ago. Most of the books I read there were of the romance and fantasy genre.
- Are there libraries where you live? If so, what kinds of books can you find there? Are you able to get the books that you want? There is no public library in my town but my school has a library but the books there are outdated and I’m not able to get all the books I want to read there.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) Ah there are lots of English titles in my country’s bookstores. You see, Filipinos are well-versed in English as we study it since pre-school. English is our second language and so it isn’t unusual to find a lot of published English books in bookstores.
- Do you use NetGalley or Edelweiss to request electronic galleys for review? If so, what kind of success rate would you estimate for you personally? I use both NetGalley and Edelweiss but I have a higher approval rate in NG. I can’t say I’m successful at requesting since I’ve only been approved once by Edelweiss (though I have been approved for almost all my requested titles on NG) out of about 20 books. In my defense, I’ve only been blogging for two months and I have almost no experience in requesting books. I’m hoping that my success rate will increase as my own blog progresses.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Yes I do. I don’t have a bookstore in my town and that’s a hurdle in itself. I need to travel for more than an hour to get to the nearest bookstore and buy the books I want. I also shop online but I always have a problem with shipping as my package takes too long to appear on my doorstep plus the shipping fee is really expensive. I know there are sites such as Book Depository that give free shipping but the books are still expensive there when I convert US Dollars to Philippine Pesos (our currency).
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? I think publishers need to give international bloggers more chances to acquire physical ARCs. I know it’s expensive but international bloggers and readers give a huge help in promoting books. Publishers should change and reach out more to their international promoters. Even requesting in NetGalley is difficult because of territorial restrictions and whatnot. They should find a way to solve these problems.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Buying secondhand books helps since they’re not so expensive. Borrowing books from friends is free too. Sites like RivetedLit features books and even lets you read complete books on their site. Netgalley and Edelweiss really help because getting ARCs is a way to get free books.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I just want to say that as an international reader and blogger, I can say that my life is far from easy. Money isn’t the only problem. I actually think accessibility is the biggest problem. It’s important for others to know these experiences so that they can appreciate and support international readers and bloggers. It’s also time to find solutions so that we can legally access to books easier.
Please note that all experiences reflected in the interviews are personal and are not meant to generalize what reading access is like in each country. If you are interested in participating please DM me on Twitter.