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? Hey y’all! I’m Gel!
- Blog URL? You can find me at https://whimsywanders.com
- Twitter handle? @whimsy_wanders
- Where do you live? I live in a city a couple of hours away from Manila, 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 have always been a reader but when I was growing up I think the only person around me who reads is my aunt. I just enjoyed stories as a child and since we don’t have fiction books in our house before, I would just read the short stories in my textbooks. When the Scholastic Book Fair arrived at my school when I was in 5th grade I thought I was in paradise and I discovered great middle grade books through that event.I don’t think there was a reading culture when I was a kid but I saw it rapidly growing in the last five years because of the popularity of Young Adult books and their movie adaptations.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I love reading Historical Fiction and when I’m in the mood, fluffy YA Contemporaries!
- Have you always been a reader? Yes!
- 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 would like to read more books published in my country but if my memory serves me right I think I have only read This Is How It Starts by Dawn Lanuza which is a collection of poems. I will definitely keep an eye out on locally published books now especially #romanceclass titles which are romance books.
- 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 one city library and I have not visited it. There’s a library in another city which is like 45 minutes away that has some Young Adult titles but I have not experienced borrowing books from them.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) There are a lot of English published books in the nearest bookstore but new releases are not available until after a few months.
- 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? Okay I use both. There are a lot of titles in NetGalley that I wanted to request but location restrictions don’t allow. Edelweiss seemed to approve me more.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Definitely. Last February I bought a book at The Book Depository and I still haven’t received it now. Privileged bloggers are quick to recommend TBD but actually we Filipino readers have experienced waiting for more than a month for a book to arrive or to not have it arrive at all. I just wish our postal service would improve.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do?
I hope international bloggers would get more access to ARCs may they be physical or digital. It sucks to be turned down for an eARC just because of our location and also not to be able to purchase the finished copy because of shipping fees and the inconsistency of our postal service.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Back in college, my bookish friends and I borrowed books from one another. So I suggest finding your bookish tribe and don’t be shy to borrow a book (or two!). Just promise them that you will give their books a lovely, temporary home and that you will keep their books safe! Browse any secondhand bookstores! I have found some amazing titles on my local secondhand bookstore. You can also try shopping online at Facebook groups and Instagram. I have found books that are not available in bookstores on online shops. Just be careful because as sad as it is, there are scammers lurking there. Local publishing houses in the Philippines hold some of the biggest annual sales so keep an eye out on them! You can also try NetGalley and Edelweiss, just don’t over request so you won’t be overwhelmed of books you “have” to read and review. I have just discovered Riveted Lit so try that one too. Lastly, don’t be shy to post your #bookishwish on Twitter! Some bookish fairies may grant that wish!
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I don’t have any other experiences to share but I just want to say that don’t let these restrictions get you down! Maximize whatever you have and try to make the best of it. You can do it!
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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