Reading Around the Globe: Esther in the Netherlands

(Last Updated On: August 30, 2019)

“We have a lot of libraries. I come from a small town and moved to another small town and both the towns have great libraries. Youโ€™re able to find a lot of books there, it has 3 floors and also a section for English books.


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? Esther
  2. Blog URL? Bite Into Books
  3. Twitter handle? @BiteIntoBooks
  4. Where do you live? The Netherlands
  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!ย I, myself, am a Teacher. I feel that reading is very important in Primary Schools and thatโ€™s where it starts. My mom used to take us to the library and I see a lot of parents still doing that. A lot of older kids LOVE to read and I do believe The Netherlands is a country that still has a lot of readers, bookclubs, libraries and bookstores.
  6. What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?ย Since Iโ€™m a reviewer, Iโ€™ve read a lot of different genres. I really like a good Thriller or Fantasy book, but I can enjoy every genre that comes my way. What I donโ€™t like is poetry, self-help books and memoirs. I did try, but itโ€™s not for me!
  7. Have you always been a reader?ย Yes. I remember my mom reading aloud for me since I was a little kid. And Iโ€™ve been hoarding from the library since I could read. I remember me borrowing 6 books on my own card and then 6 more books on my sisters card.
  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!ย I do read some books in Dutch, because people give them to me for my birthday. A lot of the Karin Slaughter books are translated so good, that I enjoy them a lot in Dutch. The books that I read aloud in my classroom are in Dutch, so I read quite a lot of Childrenโ€™s Books in Dutch. I prefer English if thatโ€™s the language of the writer, though. It feels more natural.
  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?ย We have a lot of libraries. I come from a small town and moved to another small town and both the towns have great libraries. Youโ€™re able to find a lot of books there, it has 3 floors and also a section for English books. The cool thing is that the libraries work together. So if my library doesnโ€™t have the book, I can request another library to bring it to my town and I can pick the book up the next time I visit.
  10. How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.)ย A lot of people in The Netherlands read in English. We also teach English in school, it starts at Primary School from the age of 7. English is something that a lot of Dutch people speak fluently, so there is a lot of demand for English books.
  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?ย I do request a lot of books from NetGalley. I love to read books before they are published, and you can definitely find some books by great authors there. I have discovered so many little pearls among all the books on NetGalley. I usually get the books I request and Iโ€™m around 80% Feedback Ratio.
  12. Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so.ย I would love to read and review more books for big publishers. I think I havenโ€™t been discovered yet. So right now Iโ€™m trying my best reviewing the books that I get review-requests for and I try to maintain a high standard in my reviews. I also review books that I just want to read and that Iโ€™ve bought myself or got as a gift.
  13. If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do?ย There are SO MANY books out there. Too many books. I feel that itโ€™s one big ocean full of books and some publishers just publish books for the publishing and not because they truly believe itโ€™s a good book. Now the whole ocean is clotted with books and itโ€™s hard to find that one good book by a new author.
  14. Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I get review request through email and through my blog. I request them myself through NetGalley. I have some authors who are always at the top of my list, so I have personal contact with them. I read books through my bookclub; BooksEverAfter. I read books that I buy myself or get as a gift. I do buddyreads with numerous people. So I have a lot of different mediums where I find books to read!
  15. Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share?ย Itโ€™s fun to meet other people and get to know each other, but you have to do something for it! Read other peopleโ€™s blogs, reply on their tweets, comment on their posts and just be open and seek that contact with others! Itโ€™s the most fun thing about blogging: Meeting others with the same passion โ˜บ

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.ย If you are interested in participating please DM me on Twitter.

๐Ÿ’– If you like the work that I do here at Reader Voracious, consider fueling my pumpkin spice latte and black tie addiction by buying me a ko-fi! โ˜•

spacer_wLet’s go on another adventure together!



  1. BookerTalk

    August 31, 2019 at 1:42 AM

    An interesting answer about the sheer number of books in existence. I understand the suggestion that publishing houses produced fewer but better quality. Problem is that I suspect they would then just focus on the big names and the up and coming authors wouldnโ€™t get much of a chance.

    1. Kal

      September 8, 2019 at 2:43 PM

      I agree with your concern, actually. Those big names give publishers the money to “take chances” on newer voices and I think it is important to have the balance. But there are so many books, and not enough time to read them!

  2. Marta

    August 31, 2019 at 11:55 AM

    I’m a bit jealous of your libraries! Here, we have quite a good number but they don’t have a lot of books. In my local library, they have books for Portuguese classes and classics and some really popular books, such as Twilight, The Hunger Games, Divergent … but they were all donated. I can request a book in my local library, but there’s no way they’d be able to afford it, either. And they’re no connect to other libraries )):

  3. BiteIntoBooks (@BiteIntoBooks)

    August 31, 2019 at 1:05 PM

    Thanks so much for posting this. It was so much fun!

    1. Kal

      September 8, 2019 at 2:53 PM

      Of course and thank you so much for taking the time to share your experiences with us!

  4. moonlight & moths

    September 1, 2019 at 6:12 PM

    I enjoyed reading another great perspective! I definitely agree that itโ€™s hard to find amazing new books when so many are published each day. Itโ€™s can honestly be a little overwhelming. Also, Iโ€™m jealous of the three story library.

  5. TheCaffeinatedReader

    September 4, 2019 at 2:12 AM

    How lovely that your libraries have been so great! It is such a fond wish of mine that publishers are able to just ignore country boundaries, but ugh those copyright laws, I could ran about that for hours but I won’t, it was so nice to hear about your experience in the Netherlands as a reader

  6. Jennifer Pletcher

    September 4, 2019 at 10:52 PM

    This is great as always! My husband is considering a job in the Netherlands, so I love seeing what it will be like to read there. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. DB's Guide to the Galaxy

    October 1, 2019 at 12:47 AM

    Hi Esther! It’s great that reading is so important in primary schools! I feel that’s where most of people get their love of reading from – early on. That’s exactly what I do with my sister’s card – use hers as well as mine ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ well sometimes my mom and I argue over who gets more books this time ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I’m glad that your library is a good one!
    There are millions of books in the world, unfortunately, and for some reason I want to read all of them ๐Ÿ˜ญ

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