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 and catch up on previous interviews on the master post.
- What is your name? Suraj Kumar
- Blog URL? https://booksnmyself.wordpress.com
- Twitter handle? @shinysuraj30
- Where do you live? India. Northern part of India, to be a bit specific.
- 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’s very little of reading culture in the part where I live. The people in the southern part of our country are superior to us in this aspect. They have a good reading culture. But there are a few readers here as well. And I’m simply one of those.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I read all the genres except for Science Fiction & Erotica. Fantasy is my least favoured genre, but I’m trying to read more books from that genre now. My all time favourite would be Literary Fiction, Historical Fiction & of course, short stories
- Have you always been a reader? Reading happened to me, when I was in my senior secondary. I enjoyed reading comics as a kid, while traveling, but had little access to them. I entered the world of books when I was frustrated from my academics (Chemistry is what bothered me the most). My text books of English provided a respite to me then. And I started going to library too. It was at the age of 17, then, that I read my first Hardy Boys book. Two years later, I found myself to be reading books regularly. I read Alice in the first year of my college. Having discovered my interest in reading Literature, I abandoned Science and opted for English literature in my College and now I’m pursuing Masters in English Literature, where reading is a crucial part of my course.
- 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 books only in English, which isn’t my native language. About the books that are published here, I would say there is a plethora of them. Publishing a book isn’t a task these days. And to be honest, most of these books aren’t worth it.
- 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 are no libraries in my hometown. My school had a good one, but I hardly went there until the last of my school years. The city where I’m living now has a couple of libraries. Even the one at my university is great. There are all kind of books there. But I seldom go there. I prefer having my own copies.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) These are very relevant. Getting these isn’t a task here because publishers like HarperCollins, Bloomsbury, Hachette, etc have their offices in India. So most of the books published by them are available here.
- 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? No I don’t use these. I read only physical copies.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. There are some barriers. Firstly, most of the international publishers don’t send books over here. Some are willing to send ebooks but I’m not up for those. But I’m in touch with a couple of international publishing houses who send books easily to India.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? Maybe publishers should select reviewers to be sent books to, carefully by assessing the quality of the reviews being written. Most of the times, it’s like having a full database of bloggers to whom books are a sent just like that. Publishers should also see reviews not just as a means of increasing sales of the books, but as something quite crucial to this industry. A review means much more to us than to the publishers.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? For the review copies, I usually get in touch in with the publicity people of the publishing houses. Sometimes they reply, sometimes they don’t. For my own purchases, I always go for online stores. Amazon is my preferred platform.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? Can’t think of anything to share here.
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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