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? Anthea from Proud Book Reviews
- Blog URL? http://proudbookreviews.com
- Twitter handle? @proudbookreview
- Where do you live? 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! I’ve found that during the kids and teens years there are a number of readers (the vast majority of books in our bookstores are kids or teen books, like I mean 70+ percent of the store) but once people get to the end of high school it’s like POOF! No one reads anymore. Most people in their adult years, from what I’ve seen, read anywhere from 0-5 books a year on average.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I like a range off books. But the genre I’ve loved since my teens years are high and low fantasy. Once I got to my early 20s I was introduced to romance, so that has inevitably been a large staple of my reading for last 6-7 years. And in mid-2018 I was introduced to the suspense/thriller genre by way of an author request (I really think you should check out A Gavazzoni’s Hidden Motives trilogy) and absolutely loved it! So I now bounce between these genres.
- Have you always been a reader? Yes. I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t a reader. But I was always unusual in my group of friends.
- 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! Unfortunately I don’t speak any other languages, so I can only read books written in English. But I actually don’t read too many books written by Australian authors. As a teenager and young adult every Australian author I came across kind of bored me. Or it felt like a direct rip off of an older story or a movie or something. Now that I’m a bit older I’ve found some that I’ve liked, and some that weren’t so great. However, I’ve usually found these authors by accident on my Kindle through sales rather than actually looking for Aussie authors.
- 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? I stopped going to libraries once I got my Kindle when I was 19 (I’m 28 now). I found that they just didn’t have the range I needed, the books were often graffitied and I just couldn’t get in during their open hours around my work schedule. Given that I can get samples on my Kindle and get a feel for whether I want to spend the money to get the full book or not. So libraries just stopped being useful for me. And I’ve noticed over the past 20 years that money just isn’t being spent on keeping our libraries up to date, adding new books etc which is a shame.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) We don’t really get a good range. More like the “hottest” books of right now. Like at the moment (just before Christmas 2018) the main books I’ve seen in the local bookstores are the two Fantastic Beasts novels, Matthew Reily’s latest novel, Michelle Obama’s novel and a few others like this.
- 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’ve gotten a few books from NetGalley as part of working with Rach Random Resources but otherwise no I haven’t. But I’d planned on checking out what was available on NetGalley in the new year since I only just discovered that you could actually request books without being part of a tour.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Yes. I know people probably think that being in Australia we have the same access as the US and the UK. But WE DO NOT! I will agree that we are lucky in that we do have access to books a lot easier than many other countries. But the level of access we have is still vastly different to the US and UK. For example, when Sherrilyn Kenyon’s latest book “Stygian” came out in September the release date for the US and I believe the UK was Sept 4th. Meanwhile, all the way over here in forgotten about Australia, I had to wait another almost 3 weeks before I could even have it shipped to me by Amazon. While actual stores had wait another week or so. And some books take months to eventually make it to our stores. If at all. There are so many books I can only get online because none of our bookstores actually stock them.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do?
I would try and find a way for books to be released on the same day worldwide. And to keep it affordable. Which I believe the ebook industry is helping with. But those damn copyright laws make it difficult to release things at the same time. Which means books get spoiled for me before I even get a chance to read them thanks to Twitter and Facebook posts.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I use BookBub quite a bit. Every day I get an email with a bunch of books it think’s I’d like that are for sale or free. I started using this because I just couldn’t afford to buy new books but really wanted new books. And I gotta say. It’s been AMAZING! There have even been a few series where I’ve willingly paid for the next books in the series because I enjoyed them so much. And it’s introduced me to so many new authors.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I have found that people look at me weirdly on public transport when I read on my Kindle to and from work. And I gotta say, no one seems like understand why I like spending my time reading rather than socialising or being out drinking with people my own age. I also find shipping costs really annoying and hard to justify buying a book. When you spend $20 on the book and then get told it’ll be another $30+ to get the book shipped to you it’s hard to justify the spending.
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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