Reading Around the Globe: Alexia in the Philippines
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 here on the series master post.
- What is your name? Alexia
- Blog URL? https://thebookwormdaydreamer.wordpress.com/
- Twitter handle? @alexiacambaling
- Where do you live? Manila, Philippines
- 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! Not exactly. I’m more privileged than the average person so I’m lucky enough to hang out with people who also liked reading growing up. However, a lot of people I know also aren’t exactly big readers. I mostly became a reader because growing up, there isn’t a lot of things I’m interested in.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? Mostly Science Fiction and Fantasy. I also enjoy classics from time to time.
- Have you always been a reader? I’d say so, yes. I’ve always loved 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! Very rarely. We don’t have a huge YA Publishing industry here, but I do read Filipino romance novels from time to time. Unfortunately, I lost interest as I grew older. Mostly romance novels and Wattpad books are popular with regards to fiction.
- 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? Most public libraries are academic or not even well-stocked. The only libraries I have access to are those in my college. It has some fiction books, but not really ones I’m interested in. I only really go there for law books.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) Very prevalent. I’m lucky enough that in my country, a lot of people can speak English so most of the books in bookstores are actually in English. I sometimes do feel sad about this because our publishing industry isn’t as well-developed.
- 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? Haven’t requested from either yet. I do read books from the “Read Now” shelf on NetGalley.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. No. I can thank privilege for that.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? I honestly just want to see myself in books more. I also hope for more Filipino authors to be published and for our local industry to grow.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I read a lot of self-pubbed books and that’s partly because of TBRindr. It pairs up bloggers and authors so you can get books in exchange for reviews. I know some people are wary, but I honestly think the books are mostly good. For public domain works, I also use Project Gutenberg and Standard Ebooks (which has better formatting than PG). There are also free public domain ebooks from the University of Adelaide. For YA, Riveted Lit is awesome and offers free books you can read during a certain month.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? Not much, although I can say that it does get frustrating when it seems like most bookish conversation appears to be Western-centric. Like, I just can’t relate? A lot of people talk about libraries and honestly, I really do envy people with access to well-stocked public libraries. I buy all my books with my own money, and because I rely on my parents, it can get expensive or difficult to get the more expensive ones. That’s why when the piracy debate always comes up, I wish people would be more informative and willing to educate pirates. I personally do know people who download books and not everyone who does that has money, some really are poor or have no way to buy books. Internet is cheaper than books nowadays and a better solution would be educating them or informing them of resources they may not know about.
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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