Reading Around the Globe: Esther in the Netherlands
“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. You’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.
- What is your name? Esther
- Blog URL? Bite Into Books
- Twitter handle? @BiteIntoBooks
- Where do you live? The Netherlands
- 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! I, myself, am a Teacher. I feel that reading is very important in Primary Schools and that’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.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? Since I’m a reviewer, I’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 don’t like is poetry, self-help books and memoirs. I did try, but it’s not for me!
- Have you always been a reader? Yes. I remember my mom reading aloud for me since I was a little kid. And I’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.
- 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 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 Children’s Books in Dutch. I prefer English if that’s the language of the writer, though. It feels more natural.
- 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? 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. You’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 doesn’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.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) 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.
- 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 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 I’m around 80% Feedback Ratio.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. I would love to read and review more books for big publishers. I think I haven’t been discovered yet. So right now I’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 I’ve bought myself or got as a gift.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? There are SO MANY books out there. Too many books. I feel that it’s one big ocean full of books and some publishers just publish books for the publishing and not because they truly believe it’s a good book. Now the whole ocean is clotted with books and it’s hard to find that one good book by a new author.
- 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!
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? It’s fun to meet other people and get to know each other, but you have to do something for it! Read other people’s blogs, reply on their tweets, comment on their posts and just be open and seek that contact with others! It’s the most fun thing about blogging: Meeting others with the same passion ☺
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.
💖 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! ☕
Let’s go on another adventure together!