Welcome to Reading Around the Globe, a 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? Ellyn
- Blog URL? https://allonsythornraxxbooks.wordpress.com/
- Twitter handle? @allonsythornrax
- Where do you live? Brisbane, Australia
- 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! There isn’t really a reading culture in Australia, that I can think of. There are bookstores everywhere, especially second hand if you know where to look for them. There are also some great book clubs and groups around that you can join, as well as an amazing library system that we are so privileged to have! But, honestly, I don’t think reading is a big part of the culture, at least in Brisbane. Books are massively expensive to buy new, with a lot of paperbacks being roughly $30+ each. And. It’s. So. Harsh. My wallet is crying Y’all. So, reading is a big part of who I am but it isn’t really prevalent where I live.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I really love reading harsh and soul-sucking contemporaries like The Female of The Species or Bad Romance. I also love historical Fiction (Stalking Jack The Ripper) and I love reading comics, my favourites being Spider-Verse, I Hate Fairyland, Nova & Amazing X-Men.
- Have you always been a reader? Yeah, I’ve been reading for as long as I can remember! I was always being read to as a child and as soon as I could read by myself, I was doing so!
- 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! Yes, I do! Some of my favourite books I’ve ever read were published by Aussie authors, one of them was even set across the road from where I live (SUCH a rare occurrence!). Some of my favourite Australian reads are Henry Hoey Hobson, The Golden Door & The Lost Flowers of Alice Hart.
- 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? Yes! I am lucky enough to have a couple of libraries in my area! I love my library and I visit and collect a bunch of new books there at least every week. I also find that it’s a great place for me to go whenever I need to study. Admittedly, they don’t always have all the books I want to read, but you can recommend that they purchase certain books so it’s not really a big deal.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) I live in Aus, so English published books are pretty much everywhere. As for books published from other counties or in different languages – they are a lot harder to find and you would be better off ordering them online.
- 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 do use Netgalley but, of course, it is a lot harder for me to get accepted for arcs because I don’t live in America. There are a few Australian publishers on Netgalley so usually, I just request books from them. I don’t use Edelweiss though, because I’ve heard it’s very hard to use.
Personally, I have a pretty mild success rate because I rarely request books on Netgalley anymore. Honestly, I just find it much easier to email the publishers personally and ask for a review copy. It’s a lot more daunting than pressing “Request” on Netgalley but I think it’s worth it. It limits what I can request but, it’s just a lot easier to have a quick yes or no answer from a publisher and I find it comforting actually talking to the company rather than a random bot (because that’s who they are in my head lol) having my email and Kindle link.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. I don’t really and I don’t know that I ever really have. I have always heavily relied on my local library so even if I haven’t been in a “buying mood” or haven’t had the money to go to the store for a book, I have just picked up a new read from there.
I will say though, as I’ve gotten older and my reading tastes have changed, I’ve found that I’ve started to buy online more often than not. Usually, if I plan on buying a book I will just get it from Bookdepository or request it from a publisher because often Dymocks or QBD will just have the YA staples like The Hunger Games or City of Bones. So, in order to find other reads like Girl Made of Stars, The Mermaid or Wild Beauty I have to order from online sites.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? In Australia, I would just make book publishers more accessible in different cities and regions, for example, I would kill for a publishing company in Brisbane. I plan on going into the publishing company so, I’ll probably have to leave Brisbane to move to Sydney or Melbourne in order to get a job in the industry which is a bit of a bummer.
Though, a less selfish change to make in Australia, would just be to straight up make buying books cheaper for people to buy – no matter where they live.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Online I buy from Bookdepository – they’re always having sales and there’s free shipping.
(I wrote a blog post a couple of months ago recommending cheaper places to buy books if that helps. You can find it here).
In-store I usually go to Dymocks if I have a Gift Card. But, only if I’m buying a gift for someone or I have a Gift card because Dymocks is hella expensive. If you live in Brisbane (Or Aus in general) I recommend looking out for Book Swaps in your local shopping centres and just going to $7 book stores and second-hand shops, they’re really great for older reads and even some newer ones!
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I am definitely privileged in that it is pretty easy for me to access books, but in that, I am still an International reader. Being an international reader means, generally, that we are at a disadvantage compared to some other readers. We have less access to books than in the US, talking to publishers can be difficult depending on which city/region/country you live in & sites like Goodreads or Netgalley can easily limit what you can have access to. There is a lot less available for International readers, on the market. I know I am much more privileged than other International readers because I can still contact publishers and request a review copy when I can’t actively get the book from other sources and I am so grateful for that. This is a discussion that needs to continue and I really hope that more readers around the Globe will get more access to books in the future.
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.
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