“There are libraries where I live, small ones and bigger ones, but given that I live in France, most of the books there are in my native language. The selection of books available in English in the library closest to me consists of, most likely 20 books, tops and these are mostly classics, with a Harry Potter copy thrown in.”
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? Marie
- Blog URL? Drizzle and Hurricane Books
- Twitter handle? @dh_books
- Where do you live? I live in a small town in France 🙂
- 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! We French people are really big on reading and books. Did you know that there is an actual law on the price of books in France? It’s called the Loi Lang and it sets a unique price on all books (Sorry. My bookish studies are showing). The book industry is quite important in my country and with that and growing surrounded by books, from a family of readers, helped me grow into a reader very early on!
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I mostly read young adult books, they are my favorite kind of books and the ones I adore the most and always find myself rooting for. Contemporary remains my favorite genre, as I am a marshmallow, but I also enjoy romances, magical realism, fantasy stories and every now and then, science-fiction. But yeah, mostly YA contemporary and fantasy 🙂
- Have you always been a reader? As far as I can remember, yes. There were books in my crib and I didn’t even know how to read, from what I’ve been told (I’m not kidding).
- 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 am a bad person, because to be completely honest, I haven’t been reading books published in my native language, French, in a little while now. Ever since I became a blogger, I got sucked in all the releases and read almost exclusively in English. Oops.
- 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 are libraries where I live, small ones and bigger ones, but given that I live in France, most of the books there are in my native language. The selection of books available in English in the library closest to me consists of, most likely 20 books, tops and these are mostly classics, with a Harry Potter copy thrown in. Since I mostly read young adult books and in English, I am not getting the books I want from the library, but have to buy them myself or, when I get lucky, receive them from publishers or NetGalley.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) There are small sections dedicated to English books in the biggest bookstores in cities, usually one or two shelves tops. In bigger cities, there are bigger bookstores entirely dedicated to English books: in Paris, there’s Shakespeare & Co with a lot of English books, as well as WHSmith with English books exclusively, too and probably more, but I don’t live in or near Paris at all, so I only visit them when I’m traveling there 🙂
- 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. I used to have what I’d say is an “okay” success rate on NetGalley pre-December 2017. Around that date, NetGalley changed and, where I could have the “request” button on 99% of the books and actually request them, I now have a “Wish for it” button on 99% of the books. My chances and my approval rate has since then lessened and I have never seen a wish getting granted, personally. I still have a few books available with a request button, though, but they represent 1% of the books, approximately. I don’t get a lot of requests approved on NetGalley, maybe 30%? On Edelweiss: I have been using the website for around 3 years now and have been approved for two books. So my success rate is pretty low there, but I don’t really understand Edelweiss either at times, it feels quite obscure to me 🙂
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. I personally am working full time and, having an income gives me a more privileged position compared to others and I do realize that. If I can’t access the books I want in my library or get to a bookstore to browse the books I like (without spending a considerable amount on traveling there), I can manage to buy books online through Amazon or Book Depository when my budget allows me to do so.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? That’s a hard question! I am not certain my knowledge in publishing allows me to talk about how it all goes, but from what I’ve seen, I think I could mention diversity and maybe allow more diverse bloggers to have access to ARCs and books that represent them. I think that is something very, very important and if publishers can do so, make an effort to even grow their database, pay attention to allow more people represented in books to get a chance to see themselves more, I’d say, please, do it. It’s important.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Book buying: I’m mostly using Amazon and Book Depository to buy books. Wordery also exists and ships to a fair amount of countries, from what I’ve gathered even though I haven’t used it.
Book receiving: There are wonderful initiatives such as the #bookishwish one on twitter (that has worked for me a couple of times thanks to incredibly generous people) and sharing your wishlist on social media and your blog sometimes also work out. The generosity of the community really is incredible. There are also a lot of giveaways happening on twitter, if you’re feeling lucky 🙂
ARCs: NetGalley and Edelweiss are lovely websites to obtain ARCs, if you’re lucky, too. To receive ARCs, I can also recommend checking authors’ website and see if they listed their publicity contacts, to reach out to them (do not contact authors directly about ARCs!), or try to reach out to the publishing house. Success rate for international bloggers is not that great, but it depends on the publishers and their means, and sometimes it works out! so don’t give up!
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? No.
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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