“We’re more of a sport town. But if I think about South Africa as a whole, there’s a lot of focus on South African authors – mostly in the children’s genre and in the general fiction/non-fiction genre. Which I think is great, that we do need that type of writing, but I would like more.”
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? DB
- Where do you blog? DB’s Guide to the Galaxy
- Twitter handle? @guidetogalaxy13
- Where do you live? South Africa (about an hour’s drive from Cape Town).
- 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! In my town, not really. We’re more of a sport town. But if I think about South Africa as a whole, there’s a lot of focus on South African authors – mostly in the children’s genre and in the general fiction/non-fiction genre. Which I think is great, that we do need that type of writing, but I would like more.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I mostly read young adult fiction, but I love a really good fantasy novel, the more world-building and magic aspects you can throw into it the better. Sci-fi has always been one of my other favourites to read.
- Have you always been a reader? Yes. Ever since I can remember. If not books, then signs, instructions and ingredients on the back of products, anything that required reading.
- 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! My native language is English, but I’m close to Afrikaans (having grown up in an Afrikaans town and having Afrikaans friends), though I rarely read Afrikaans books – as it takes me a long time to read it. Most of the books published in Afrikaans are either a famous South African author (Deon Meyer or Antjie Krog, etc) or a non-fiction novel.
- 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 am lucky to have a library in my town. Unfortunately it is small, and since I’m busy most of the time and can’t really walk the distance all the time – I don’t really see what’s in there and only pick books up now and then. But I’m vowing to go in more and try to loan more books (from other libraries and such).
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) I think it depends on what you’re looking for. With South Africa’s books, a lot of it is either published firstly in Afrikaans and then translated into English (as is with Deon Meyer). Some are first published in English and then Afrikaans.
- 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 use both Netgalley and Edelweiss. It’s a 50/50, 60/40 split (I guess) between being approved and not being approved. I normally request books I know I’d get approved for, or I read books from the Download/Read Now – as you do get good reads from there now and then.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Most of the hyped books I hear about and do have an interest in reading are available at the bookstores – if not the one in my town, then in another one; or we could order it. But then again that always costs money, which means I’ll either have to wait for it to be available at my library (or try to order it), or I’ll just not read it.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? Remember that there are more countries than the ones that you send the usual arcs to. Find the smaller and diverse bloggers and give the arcs to them.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Netgalley and Edelweiss, for the most part. I also use A Novel Take PR, which is a promotional and marketing company (for books). Now and then I’ll use the library and even sometimes (I need to get back into this), I’m a beta reader so I’ll receive books from the author. I also use book sale sites which allow me to see some books that are free on Kindle!
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? It’s good to learn another language and then read in that language. Somehow, and I don’t know how or why, but the story sounds different in the other language. Or you pick up different things in another language.
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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