Reading Around the Globe: Prags in India
“I face a lot of issues when it comes to reading books that I want to. Not all the books I want are published in India. The ones which are, sometimes, release in India months after the US publishing dates. Websites like Book Depository & Wordery did not ship to India till last year (and don’t deliver in most South Asian countries still).“
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? Hello! My name is Pragati.
- Blog URL? I blog at The Inked In Book Blog
- Twitter handle? @inkdin
- Where do you live? I live in Mumbai, India.
- 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! The answer to this will vary all across the country simply owing to the vastness of it. In my personal experience, growing up I never had many friends or relatives who liked to read. Parents prefer if their kids read textbooks instead of storybooks, just like my dad does too. When I was a kid, I used to read short stories, but that was mainly to improve my English because it isn’t my first language. Once my mom deemed that my English was good enough, I didn’t really read much. But then, the Harry Potter movies came out and I watched them. After watching the movies, I really wanted to read them, and so I did. In 2015. Post that, I fell in love with reading and have been reading for the past 4 years.
- What kinds of books do you enjoy reading? I mostly read Fantasy & Romance across all age groups, but also dabble in mystery and thrillers on occasion.
- Have you always been a reader? As stated above, I was a sort of come – and – go reader who only read when it was necessary.
- 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! Sadly, I have not read any books prescribed in any of my native languages (yes, I have more than one, as do most Indians), aside from the prescribed reading we were assigned in school. But, we have some very notable authors like Sir Rabindranath Tagore, Munshi Premchand, R. K. Narayan etc.
- 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 is no library close to where I live. The nearest one is at least an hour and a half away and I haven’t had the opportunity to visit it yet. But, there are a few rent – a – books near my house. They have a decent collection – all major authors in mystery, eg, John Grisham, Dan Brown, Ken Follet etc are available there. They have a sizeable Mills & Boons collection and also a few well loved YA & MG books like The Fault In Our Stars, The Bartimaeus Trilogy, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson etc and a plethora of Indian authors (who write in English). My reading tastes do include such stuff on occasion, but mostly, I am unable to get the books I want from these places.
- How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) Oh, they’re very prevalent! We have imprints of all major publishing houses in India – Harper, Bloomsbury, Hachette, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster etc. We mostly get books from the UK catalogue here.
- 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 of these websites a lot. My success rate on Edelweiss isn’t all that good, I’d say about 20%, even less. Netgalley though, is a separate issue altogether because most of the books by the larger publishing houses are only available under the ‘Wish For It’ category for me and those wishes rarely do get approved. But, of the books that are available for requesting, I have a better success rate than Edelweiss. Maybe around 60%.
- Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. I face a lot of issues when it comes to reading books that I want to. Not all the books I want are published in India. The ones which are, sometimes, release in India months after the US publishing dates. Websites like Book Depository & Wordery did not ship to India till last year (and don’t deliver in most South Asian countries still). However, because of the dollar/rupee exchange rate and other economical factors, purchasing from there is also not feasible all the time. Most books cost an upward of a 1000 bucks, for which I could easily get 2 or 3 books from international authors that have been published in India. Also, as I said above, we don’t have many libraries to facilitate our reading habits, and the ones which are around don’t always cater to our tastes.
- If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do? I would want publishers to recognize the importance of #OwnVoices authors/reviewers/bloggers/booktubers out there. It would be so great if diverse ARCs were sent out to #OwnVoices reviewers even if they don’t have a high number of followers or hits on their websites and channels instead of white reviewers with a larger following.
- Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? I request a lot on Netgalley & Edelweiss. I also participate in blog tours and review tours. I enter a lot of giveaways on social media (there has been a conscious effort to include intl readers in giveaways in the past few months and that is so awesome!). Also, there are always many free books on the Kindle Store.
- Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share? think majority of the issues were covered in the questions above, so I can’t think of anything else to say! But, I look forward to reading posts from more international bloggers! Thank you so much for having me, Kaleena. It was an absolute joy! 😀
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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Let’s go on another adventure together!