Reading Around the Globe: Anthea in Australia

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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.

  1. What is your name? Anthea from Proud Book Reviews
  2. Blog URL? http://proudbookreviews.com
  3. Twitter handle? @proudbookreview
  4. Where do you live? Australia
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. 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.
  12. 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.
  13. 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.

  14. 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.
  15. 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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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

23 thoughts on “Reading Around the Globe: Anthea in Australia

    1. Thank you for stopping by, Nicole, and I am glad you like the series! I know Australia does have a few publishing houses there, which from the standpoint of arcs and publishing rights does probably make a difference compared to other international audiences (especially with author tours since the pub has a presence, even if it’s limited to one or two big cities); however, being a landlocked island definitely affects shipping prices! I was surprised to read about the condition of libraries the most, I think.

      Like

  1. Wowww, didn’t know that Australia’s libraries were like this! Could it be different across the cities? Which city do you live in, Anthea?

    Also, I came across a YA debut novel by an Aussie author called Four Dead Queens by Astrid Scholte. It sounds promising.

    Another thing, you might find BookDepository useful as their shipping is free. Even if their books cost a few bucks more, the total cost is still cheaper than the exorbitant shipping costs you’ve mentioned!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’ve lived in two different cities and visited libraries across 3. As a kid and a teen they were great. But it’s like the libraries stop stocking fiction once you reach the adult years. All they stock is self-help books, text books etc and the tiny section they have for adult fiction is out of date and covered in graffiti.

      I tried like 6 different libraries when I moved back to my home city over the course of like 6 months and it was just worse and worse. So unreliable. Some people just never returned the books they borrowed so I gave up. I didn’t have the time to keep checking in and hoping people would grow up and return the books.

      Yes, in the last 2 years I’ve found more sites (booko.com.au is AMAZING! It compares the book and delivery prices from lots of distributors and ranks them from cheapest to most expensive for you) that I can look at so that keeps the shipping prices down luckily!

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Wow! You mean the library INTERIOR is graffitied…or the books??

        I can’t believe I’m saying this but the library we have here in Guangzhou, China seems better! The irony is unreal!

        What about book groups? Like, book swapping ones. Do you have those there?

        Booko sounds awesome! I’ve always wanted a site like that!! Mighty convenienttttt. Also, have you heard of Riveted Lit? They belong to Simon&Schuster and always feature a couple of their books for free to read online.

        P.S. What kindle do you own? Do you have any opinion on the entry level one cuz I’m looking to get it.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. 😟😟😟 I am so sad to read that the books are so abused in the library system, that is a damn shame! Do your libraries participate with Overdrive/Libby? I don’t know if it is a US thing, but I am able to check out eBooks and audiobooks from my library, and they get auto-returned (and can’t be written in!). It’s free, so maybe that could be an alternative for you?

        Booko.com.au sounds AWESOME, I would love to have access to something like that!

        Like

      3. The actual books are graffitied in. E-readers have only really become a thing in like the last 3-4 years and it’s been like 6 years since I tried libraries so they might have stuff for eBooks now.

        And I honestly don’t know enough about how our libraries work to know what programs they can and can’t participate in.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Unless the person goes back they can’t issue a fine. There’s laws against what you can and can’t send debt collectors after and the police wouldn’t give a shit about a few books compared to people’s lives

        Liked by 1 person

  2. wow, I have always heard that Australia was the best country for the level of education, so I’m totally shocked about the status of its libraries. Plus, there are so many amazing Australian authors, from classics like Patrick White to popular contemporary Kate Morton, that it’s really hard to believe. So sad

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great interview! I am among the US folks that would have figured that Australia could obtain books just like we could in the states. So that was a surprising fact to learn. It is a shame that her library has books that are not well cared for, so it would turn people off from borrowing. I can understand that if you can’t get what you want, or the books aren’t well cared for, it would be hard for me to want to go to a library as well.

    thanks for sharing her thoughts! I love these posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Shame that there’s such a small range at the library for adults but it’s great that you have a kindle so you can bypass the library and get access to much more! Also I hope you love utilizing NetGalley, it’s been awesome for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this series! Thanks for helping us to learn about how being a reader works around the globe.

    I’m absolutely shocked at the state of the libraries in Australia! I would’ve expected a lot better, so that makes me really sad. Good for Anthea for reading in public! One more person to help show the world that reading is the thing to do. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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