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.
An Interview with Para
- What is your name? You can call me Para. Hi!
- Blog URL? https://otherworldsreviews.wordpress.com
- Twitter handle? @paracactus
- Where do you live? I’m from Slovenia.
- 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! When you’re a kid, yes – there’s a reading badge challenge in schools to get kids into reading (read a certain number of books from a list and get an award, though in my school at the time they weren’t badges, and I remember being frustrated with the lists too), I remember something similar focused on parents reading kids book in kindergarten as well, though less…official. But I think that when people grow up, many stop reading altogether – I’m a student and I don’t know many people my age or older who read much, if at all.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I’m mostly into fantasy, mostly adult (I do read YA, just way less) though I also enjoy the occasional sci-fi or historical nonfiction book.
- Have you always been a reader? More or less, yes. I have never been reading as much as now, but I have always loved books.
- 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 don’t anymore. Translation of SFF is years behind – Dune has been translated in November 2018! – and often subpar (I could go on about one translator in particular…), there aren’t many adult SFF books written, and those few I tried have been pretty bad. I might read a nonfiction book in my language though.
- 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, but they’re mostly useless to me, since I prefer SFF and they don’t have large foreign language sections (as for translations and originally Slovenian books…see above). In kids’ sections, genres are also mixed together, which used to frustrate me so much when I was younger. For nonfiction, I might have some luck in my university’s library, but I don’t read that much of it. Interlibrary loan also costs about 8€ (for comparison, I can order a new paperback for about 10€), so even if I could get books I want that way, it’s completely pointless. Ebook lending – no Overdrive access anywhere (probably never getting it…), only a local lending service with an extremely limited selection of translations. I’m lucky that I’m currently in a position where I can afford to buy the books I read.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) There’s a section with foreign books in almost every bookstore – it might not be a big one or an useful one, but it’s there. Though I haven’t had much luck with it lately even in the biggest bookstore, since they mostly stock popular stuff that I have either read or heard of and decided it’s not for me.
- 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 and have had some luck there…but I also got some potentially bad advice about it when I started. It took me much longer to set up Edelweiss because it’s so confusing. I haven’t tried requesting anything at the time of writing, but I have read and reviewed one ARC that was open for anyone to download.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Some, yeah. I’ve explained the library issues above, but kindle sales often don’t work either – especially recently, the amount has gone done to basically nothing. I’ve also been region-locked out of some ebooks completely in the past, though thankfully that seems to be rare. Any physical books I want, I have to order (shipping is 1-2 weeks), and there’s only bookdepository left – I used to use Amazon Marketplace on the UK site a lot too, but in the past two years, the shipping prices have gone up so much that it’s no longer an affordable option. It could be worse, but it could be a lot better too.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? Make ebooks and eARCs more available for people in non-Anglo regions and do away with regional restrictions for them in general. The whole thing with foreign rights is a mess and only hurts the international readers. It often feels like we’re an unimportant afterthought.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Bookdepository has been a godsend for physical books, and if an ebook isn’t on sale on the kindle store, it might be on kobo. Not always, but often enough that it’s worth checking.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? I get really frustrated at how America-centric conversations are, and how rarely people remember we exist and don’t necessarily have the same privileges they do. Both publishers and readers. One thing that especially makes me want to scream is “just go to your local library!” and how often it’s used as a dismissive cure-all in any discussions about piracy, high ebook prices compared to print, or as a reply to those asking where they can get affordable books in their preferred genre. Sometimes it just isn’t an option. And any alternative advice they offer is pretty much always exclusive to America and completely useless as well.
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.
Read More Reading Around the Globe Interviews
Consu @ papereyedgirl
Ellyn @ allonsythornraxxbooks
Greyson @ Use Your Words
Maria @ mariahossainblog
Inge @ Of Wonderland
Wesley @ Outsiders and Misfits
Catherine @ This One is for the Books (Toronto)
Kristina @ Books and Dachsunds (New-Brunswick)
Shania @ Book Princess Reviews (Quebec)
Maria @ bookish4life
Catherine @ Bees and Books
Silje @ inkedbybooks
Clo @ Cuppa Clo
Olly @ Criminolly
Emma @ Mengueis De Livres
Marie @ Drizzle and Hurricane Books
Silvia @ Silvia Reads Books
Veronika @ Reading is Dreaming with Open Eyes
Carolina @ fictionologyst
Petrik @ Novel Notions
Himani @ Books&Sstuff
Nandini @ Unputdownable Books
Prags @ The Inked In Book Blog
Sumedha @ The Wordy Habitat
Suraj @ Books N Myself
Angela @ Books of a Shy Girl
Camilla @ Reader Attic
Devyn Jase @ devynjase.com
Jossie @ thebookdragoncorner
A Restless Traveler
Annemieke @ A Dance With Books
Esther @ Bite into Books
Luci @ Lunar Luci Books
Marco @ Barely a Blogger
Michelle @ Michelle Likes Things
Chinelo @ Booked_Unicorn
Julie @ StrixAlucoBooks
Hamad @ thebookprescription
Nargis @ Literary Nerd’s Musings
Aimee @ Aimee Always
Alexia @ Bookworm Daydreamer
Gel @ Whimsy Wanders
Justine @ bookishwisps
Kate @ Your Tita Kate
Rain @ Bookdragoninsm
Shealea @ Shut Up, Shealea
Marta @ The Book Mermaid
Rita @ Bookish Rita
Dianthaa @ Dianthaa Dabbles
Yani @ Read & Create
Annie @ Sunflower Bookshelf
Taasia @ libraepaintspages
Para @ Other Worlds Reviews
DB @ DB’s Guide to the Galaxy
Elisa @ bookishexpat
United Arab Emirates
Nicka @ Wander with Nicka
Sakhile @ Sakhile Whispers
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 or send me a message on Discord.
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Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea says
This series is really making me check my privilege. Thanks so much for this!💖💖
Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says
Thank you so much for your comment, Caitlin, and I am really glad that you are finding it insightful!
I agree with Caitlin. I have long realized how lucky I am to live in an area with fabulous libraries that are well-stocked and participate in an extensive interlibrary loan program (because I’ve lived in places that weren’t so great in regards to the library), but I feel even luckier reading the challenges that Para and your other participants face. Thanks for helping us keep everything in perspective and opening our eyes.
Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says
Thank you so much for your comment, Stephanie! I am really glad that the series is opening your eyes a bit to how lucky a lot of us are. I definitely have been guilty in the past of assuming that libraries are a thing everywhere and that book access is the same, so I have taken so much for granted. Not anymore!
And my favorite series continues! Of course the answers were all so interesting and really, made you stop and think like they do every week but I have to say sitting here two minutes afterwards I still can’t get over that Dune was just translated in 20188, I’m here like ‘wuuuuu’ I wish translations were really just done more in general, it’s unfair that so many popular books in English aren’t made available to more countries. Great answers from Para and thanks Kal for another amazing post
Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says
*blushes* I am so honored this is your favorite series! I am honestly really shocked about Dune as well, and Para’s interview really has me curious to learn more about how publishing and translation rights in different countries work??? Like, what the heck? Why is it so complicated and hard?!
Great answers from Para!
Phantom Paper says
I would very much like to know more about the reasons behind intl restrictions. Can it be changed? Made better? More inclusive?
I’ve never told ppl to ‘just go to the library’ whenever the topic of piracy comes up. Maybe cuz I know libraries’ stock vary from place to place. However, I still think it’s not valid enough a reason to read pirated books. It’s not the end of the world if you can’t read the latest trending book and I say that as someone who loves reading. My library is better than I expected but it’s nothing compared to ones in the US. Even so, if they don’t have a book I want it’s certainly bumming but there are plenty of other ones that can entertain me. I think as great as reading is we should encourage good behaviour and uphold ethics, maybe even more so. Gosh, I’m getting a little carried away here 😂 This is touching upon a topic that’s been brewing in my mind lately.
Anyway, another insightful piece on reading internationally! I’m almost always surprised whenever someone speaks good English when their 1st language isn’t English and it’s ironic because I AM someone like that, too! 😁
Kaleena @ Reader Voracious says
ME TOO, Safiyya! Honestly Para mentioning it took so long for Dune to be translated has me really interested in learning more about pubishing and translation rights. Because it seems so arbitrary to us all, but I am sure there are reasons? Hopefully they can be changed though because UGH.
Phantom Paper says
Haha 😜 Uhuh! Behind-the-scenes stuff interest me quite a bit! I’d never want to be responsible for translating books, there’s just too much stuff that could get lost and you have to convey the author’s style and all.