“I would like to see more books by international authors. I just finished reading a book translated from Spanish by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (I’m a huge fan of his books). I wonder if language is also a barrier, we need more books translated into more languages so we can read them.”
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? Jen
- Where do you blog? Bookworm Jen Blog
- Twitter handle? @Jen_wales
- Where do you live? Wales
- 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! Yes, I’d say so. There are libraries and bookshops, the libraries host book clubs. There’s also charity book fares and the local charity shops sell books too.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I like to read a lot of different books. I love classics. And other than that I probably read more literary/general/contemporary fiction than anything. It’s easier to say what books I like that what kind of book. I love horror but I’m fussy. I like a few fantasy writers but not all. My reading interests have broadened over time I used to only read horror and supernatural books but now I just love a good story.
- Have you always been a reader? Yes, literally always. I remember loving books from when I was very young.
- 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! Although I’m Welsh I don’t speak Welsh or read it sadly. I have read books published locally too but not much really and I’d like to read more. I need to look for more books by Welsh writers. There is a publisher who has offices in the county I live in, it’s called Seren publishing and I plan to buy and read books from their catalogue.
- 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 moved recently and there is a library a very short walk away but I haven’t been there yet. I’ve been trying to catch up on my other books first. I think it’s small but the library I used to go to is only a half hours walk which isn’t too bad. I used to go to the library frequently, when I was younger I visited every Saturday but then I started work and that meant working weekends. I stopped going the last year or so because every time I went to order a book it was always missing, lost or stolen so I got fed-up and just started buying books. It’s hit and miss, some days I’ll find a few books (usually when you only want one!) other days they’ll be nothing to suit. I did visit the library in town once but their fiction section was probably the same or even less to the library I used to go to. I hope to start using it again, I have so many books at home that often puts me off but use it or lose it I guess.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) They are the main books in bookstores in Wales.
- 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 Netgalley, I signed up for Edelweiss but didn’t get around to figuring it out. I usually get the books I request but there are times I don’t. That might be due to the volume of requests they get or that maybe other bloggers have better stats than me? I’m really not sure how it works.
📝 Related Post: Edelweiss 101 (A note from Kal)
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. No I don’t think I do.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? I would like to see more variety of books published rather than the next ‘Hunger Games’ I think the market gets saturated by the same type of book and I don’t want to read the next of something (at least not always). It could just be the way they advertise the book but it gets boring. I know publishers are out to make money but there are so many writers out there (I know at least one) who deserve to be published but for whatever reason they are not taking chances on new writers. I know they’re out to make money so they plug what sells but what about publishing books that are unique? Or amazing writers? I think the independent publishers have more unique books. So really it’s just the mainstream probably.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I find out about books from people on twitter, a book forum I visit readitswapit, other blogs and GoodReads. I will buy books from various places and would love to read books by people from other countries.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I would like to see more books by international authors. I just finished reading a book translated from Spanish by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (I’m a huge fan of his books). I wonder if language is also a barrier, we need more books translated into more languages so we can read them. I love reading about people who live in different places and have different experiences to me. Answering these questions has made me think if there’s anything booksellers can do? Have a section for international books. Encourage a ‘read around the world’ challenge, not just books set in a country but by the people living in that country. I don’t usually notice where the author is from I just notice if it’s a book I will enjoy but this has got me thinking. I don’t really know much about how accessible books are for people in different countries or even how easy it is for people in different countries to get their books sold in other countries. I’d like to know and I’ll be reading other people’s responses to learn more.
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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