Reading Around the Globe: Gel in the Philippines

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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? Hey y’all! I’m Gel!
  2. Blog URL? You can find me atย https://whimsywanders.com
  3. Twitter handle? @whimsy_wanders
  4. Where do you live? I live in a city a couple of hours away from Manila, Philippines.
  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! I have always been a reader but when I was growing up I think the only person around me who reads is my aunt. I just enjoyed stories as a child and since we don’t have fiction books in our house before, I would just read the short stories in my textbooks. When the Scholastic Book Fair arrived at my school when I was in 5th grade I thought I was in paradise and I discovered great middle grade books through that event.I don’t think there was a reading culture when I was a kid but I saw it rapidly growing in the last five years because of the popularity of Young Adult books and their movie adaptations.
  6. What kinds of books do you enjoy reading?ย I love reading Historical Fiction and when I’m in the mood, fluffy YA Contemporaries!
  7. Have you always been a reader? Yes!
  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! I would like to read more books published in my country but if my memory serves me right I think I have only read This Is How It Starts by Dawn Lanuza which is a collection of poems. I will definitely keep an eye out on locally published books now especially #romanceclass titles which are romance books.
  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? There is one city library and I have not visited it. There’s a library in another city which is like 45 minutes away that has some Young Adult titles but I have not experienced borrowing books from them.
  10. How prevalent are English published books where you live in bookstores? (For example, books printed by HarperCollins.) There are a lot of English published books in the nearest bookstore but new releases are not available until after a few months.
  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? Okay I use both. There are a lot of titles in NetGalley that I wanted to request but location restrictions don’t allow. Edelweiss seemed to approve me more.
  12. Do you experience hurdles or barriers to access for the kinds of books that you read? Please explain if so. Definitely. Last February I bought a book at The Book Depository and I still haven’t received it now. Privileged bloggers are quick to recommend TBD but actually we Filipino readers have experienced waiting for more than a month for a book to arrive or to not have it arrive at all. I just wish our postal service would improve.
  13. If you could make one change to the publishing landscape, what would you do?

    I hope international bloggers would get more access to ARCs may they be physical or digital. It sucks to be turned down for an eARC just because of our location and also not to be able to purchase the finished copy because of shipping fees and the inconsistency of our postal service.

  14. Help other international bloggers out… What resources do you use to obtain the books that you want to read? Back in college, my bookish friends and I borrowed books from one another. So I suggest finding your bookish tribe and don’t be shy to borrow a book (or two!). Just promise them that you will give their books a lovely, temporary home and that you will keep their books safe! Browse any secondhand bookstores! I have found some amazing titles on my local secondhand bookstore. You can also try shopping online at Facebook groups and Instagram. I have found books that are not available in bookstores on online shops. Just be careful because as sad as it is, there are scammers lurking there. Local publishing houses in the Philippines hold some of the biggest annual sales so keep an eye out on them! You can also try NetGalley and Edelweiss, just don’t over request so you won’t be overwhelmed of books you “have” to read and review. I have just discovered Riveted Lit so try that one too. Lastly, don’t be shy to post your #bookishwish on Twitter! Some bookish fairies may grant that wish!
  15. Do you have any other experiences as a reader around the world that you would like to share?ย I don’t have any other experiences to share but I just want to say that don’t let these restrictions get you down! Maximize whatever you have and try to make the best of it. You can do it!

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!

 

10 Comments

  1. Caitlin @ Caitlin Althea

    March 2, 2019 at 11:23 PM

    Ah, this is such a fun thing youโ€™re doing! Sheโ€™s right about the scammers, though. ๐Ÿ™

  2. WordsAndPeace

    March 3, 2019 at 1:58 PM

    Thanks for this terrific series. I’m still so mad at the stupid international copyright laws for ebooks. You would think that our e-era would allow anyone in the world to have easy access to them, and to eARCs. That should be exactly perfect fr these poor people who can’t even receive a book through postal mail. I feel so privileged to be in the US and have access to all the books I want. And frustrated I can’t even help by shipping a book to this blogger, because who knows if she will receive it?

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 7, 2019 at 11:59 AM

      I totally agree with you, and I sincerely hope that copyright laws get more in line with current technology soon because I think a lot of the disparity could be solved by more widely distributing eARCs… even if they have to be protected PDFs that expire to try and combat pirating.

      If you want to help out, check out my Flapping Pages program! I am trying to encourage US bloggers to pass along their ARCs to marginalized readers, and I am offering to help offset the costs of shipping as an alternative to the arcfortrade stuff. It’s a work in progress, but it’s been successful so far!

  3. Jennifer Pletcher

    March 4, 2019 at 2:07 AM

    The idea of borrowing from each other is a FANTASTIC recommendation. Of COURSE! I should have thought of that sooner. Living abroad makes it so hard to find books – I need to reach out to my American friends.

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      March 7, 2019 at 12:05 PM

      I know, I kind of wish I had more friends IRL that liked to read so we could have a mini book club/library of our own!

  4. TheCaffeinatedReader

    March 5, 2019 at 3:54 AM

    I love that you and your friends traded books around to borrow, that’s a great way to deal with a situation where it’s not always easy to get some books. That’s crazy about TBD though! And a real shame that nothing is done to fix up the postal service, I hope that does improve for you <3

    Thanks for sharing your reading experience with us from the Philippines!

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  7. Luxe @ Mind of Luxe

    April 18, 2019 at 2:15 AM

    I live in the Philippines as well, albeit in the provincial area, and I attest to the fact that the libraries here that have Young/New Adult selections are practically non-existent. This is a sad reality since books here are ridiculously overpriced sometimes (probably due to taxes and other additional fees) and other books aren’t available for our country. For teens like me, this financial and geographical problems when it comes to access in books can drastically affect my blog. Luckily, I have found refuge in Netgalley and, sometimes, Edelweiss since I am more likely to get approved in the former as opposed to the latter. Although there are still some restrictions due to location, it’s still better than nothing, right? Great post! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Kaleena @ Reader Voracious

      April 19, 2019 at 8:41 PM

      I am sorry to hear that you also have a difficult time getting the books you want to read, but I am really glad that you have some success with NetGalley and Edelweiss! I know the systems aren’t perfect, but it’s a small step in the right direction. I really do hope that things can change to be more equitable for readers around the world, though!

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