I have been wanting to write a blog post like this one for a little while. Given the on and off conversations going on in the book blogging community and over on twitter about blogging, access to books, piracy, libraries and other miscellanous things, I just wanted to take a moment and shout out loud about international book bloggers.
Before getting into this, an important disclaimer about me: I am an international book blogger, I am living in France, yet I know that myself am in a position of privilege. I am working-full time and I have an income, though my budget when it comes to books isn’t great depending on the month (and my love for travelling). I also know that I got lucky enough in the past eight months to get in touch with some publishers and receive some ARCs and books early on and I am so grateful for that. If this obviously makes me an international book blogger that might struggle a little less than others, this blog post is dear and close to my heart. If you are an international book blogger and can think of other ways life would be made better for you, please please share it in comments so I can complete this extensive list and make it a resource for everyone.
It’s not a secret that blogging about books, especially young adult books, is an American-centric kind of system. The YA-books market is massive in this continent, compared to other countries, even in the UK. There was a thread on twitter that, well, despite searching again for hours, I couldn’t find again. But well, this just said exactly it: the young adult book market is veeeeeeeery American.
International book bloggers have their shares of struggles. I, and many other incredible book bloggers, have already mentioned these in blog posts, over on twitter, sharing them on instagram, and shouted about it on countless basis. Yet, there is something that people sometimes, just. don’t. get. No matter how much we scream about this.
💭 Why don’t you get the book at a library?
BECAUSE THERE IS NO LIBRARY to get my books from. Personally, I have small libraries all around, but with a very small selection of the kind of books I am reading. Some people don’t HAVE libraries AT ALL in the world. Having a library to get your book from is a chance and an incredible PRIVILEGE. Please don’t throw “libraries” around and tell anyone, everyone to get the book at the library, assuming that they can.
💭 Why don’t you buy the book in a bookshop?
Same answer, THERE ARE NO BOOKSHOPS. I know, sometimes we just don’t have bookshops, or/and we don’t have the young adult books we want there. I am lucky enough to live in France, where bookshops have sometimes a decent, even great selection of books. BUT books are more expensive, because of the shipping fees. Also to be completely honest, closest bookshop with the books I want is 100 km away.
💭 Why don’t you order online?
It is true that there are incredible websites offering a wide, infinite selection of books. Yet, Book Depository or Wordery do NOT ship everywhere. Amazon sometimes has shipping fees for some countries that are just as expensive as the book itself.
💭 What about ARCs and e-ARCs?
Book bloggers are in the extremely privileged position to be able to get books early on, review copies. ARCs are physical review copies = hello shipping costs = publishers sometimes won’t, because shipping a book can be REALLY expensive overseas.
e-ARCs are digital review copies, so hello, why not? Because, for me and most international book bloggers, there are so many titles on NetGalley that ends up on “Wish for it”. I can’t even request them. Wish for them. It’s basically wishing I will find signed books on my doorstep and tickets to BookCon in my mail. I never saw a wish come true so far. What about Edelweiss then? Some people are lucky there, I am not. E-ARCs are, just like ARCs, a sort of lottery, for most book bloggers, but even more for international ones.
So, all of that being said, I wanted to get to the heart of this blog post and what really, really matters, being:
💞 How can you support international book bloggers?
Book bloggers and this community is amazing and I have incredible friends from all around the world, I love them all regardless of where they come from, obviously. Given the complications international book bloggers are facing, though, I am obviously going to talk about them and tell some great steps we could take.
🎁 Host international giveaways
Whether they are book swag giveaways, books, pre-order giveaways, bookish boxes giveaways… if you can, think about making it international. So many book bloggers would be so grateful for that. I completely understand the shipping costs that can come from sending a book far, far away. If you can, though, think about using Book Depository, Wordery or for once, if you are able to cover the costs for one international giveaway yourself to send to the whole world, do it.
📚 #booksfortrade, #arcsfortrade, #bookishwish
I’m not going to talk a long time on this topic, I’m just going to link to Vicky’s blog post, where she wonderfully talked about this topic. Give it a read!
Recently, another wonderful hashtag has made an appearance over on twitter, #bookishwish. Bookish Wish is a way for book bloggers and readers to wish for the books they would really love to have, but can’t currently afford.
The book blogging community and readers can send them said books without asking for anything in return (if you want something in return, that’s #booksfortrade) and therefore realize a #bookishwish. The generosity of book bloggers and this community has floored me, honestly, this past week. This also made people host giveaways and made them do their very best to help people, even international ones. Check out the hashtag on twitter, boost people’s wishlist if you can. It costs absolutely nothing and will bring someone’s happiness, for sure.
Also, to find out more about #bookishwish, I’d heavily recommend you to read Shealea’s wonderful post explaining the initiative way more amazingly than I ever could.
🗣 Boost international bloggers’ voices
International book bloggers are doing a tremendous job at… well, just being book bloggers. Boosting author’s voices, raising awareness, boosting authors, even sometimes organizing events and everything else.
I could mention JM @ Books Freak Revelations who hosts incredible PH-based events and does amazing things for this community all around and is such a bright soul. I could talk about Shar & Shanti, some of my favorite bloggers in New Zealand, always writing such mindful conversations. I could talk about Shealea, always such a bright, PH-based book blogger sharing incredible work and recommendations on her blog. I could also mention Marta, an incredible soul from Romania deserving all the love. I can mention Pam, super-inspiring and super-hero writer and book blogger from Ecuador, Aimee’s bright, positive voice and love all around from the Philippines, Kat from Vienna, Austria, because she is my favorite human being in the community. I could go on for DAYS.
🌏 Be mindful of time-zones
I love twitter chats, but I haven’t been able to participate in one in a thousand years. Because of time-zones. Let me break this down to you: there are a lot of book chats happening at 8 P.M EST.
8 P.M E.S.T = 2 A.M C.E.S.T = 8 A.M. GMT+8 = 10 A.M A.E.ST
So… I’m in CEST and I am sleeping at 2 a.m, I’m sorry. GMT +8 is Manila (Philippines)’s timezone and people are going to work/school maybe, in Australia (AEST) people might already be at work or sleeping or something. I’m just taking these time zones as an example. I am aware that no time will ever be okay for every single reader out there, the world is big and we can’t accomodate everyone unfortunately. I am just saying that there is a better way to do this. Like, change things up every now and then, 8 PM EST, then maybe earlier, or later, etc.
I know that there are so many things that, despite trying, we can’t and won’t be able to change, as international book bloggers. We can’t magically hope that NetGalley will suddenly try and grant all of our wishes. We can’t change publishers and their policies, nor can we make everyone rich to host amazing opportunites and giveaways for international bookworms all around the world. We can’t make libraries appear everywhere they are needed.
Yet, there are some things we can do, or at least make the first step to try and do it more. Make a giveaway international when we can afford it. Boost our fellow international book bloggers, just because they deserve it. Try to change twitter chats’ times, every now and then, to make international bloggers be part of the game, too.
There are many things I did not include in this blog post that you can do, in order to support international book bloggers, things that should not be forgotten either. They are not particularily “international”, but they are supportive and THEY MATTTER, way more than you think they do, such as:
- Giving their blog visits, likes, comments, sharing what you appreciated about them, linking back to their posts, sharing them on your social medias…
- Donating to their Ko-Fi account if they have one, buying their bookish merch if they do so…
- And so much more, that I listed in my general blog post on how to support book bloggers.
💻 Other interesting posts to check out, whether you’re an international book blogger or just want to find out more about our issues:
- Lia’s blog post about being an international blogger and having access to books and ARCs.
- Marta’s blog post on NetGalley, Goodreads and International bloggers.
- Shealea’s blog post about reading more books legally, alternatives to piracy and filled with incredible resources for international book bloggers. Read, learn and use them.
- Evellina @ Avalinah’s Books is the creator of a group of international book bloggers, where everyone supports each other and shares tips and tricks. You can ask her to join over on twitter!
- Laura @ Green Tea & Paperbacks wrote a great blog post with resources about ARCs and requesting them as an international reader.
- Michelle @ Book Adventures shares where she gets the books she reads and the resources she can’t use as a South African book blogger.
I really hope this post could be useful to you and that you learned something from it and, most importantly, that this will encourage you in trying to be more inclusive and mindful of international book bloggers, as much as you can within your own means, obviously. Even small things help.
Book bloggers: do you sometimes feel frustrated by the lack of inclusion, if you’re an international blogger? Does this discourage you, sometimes? Would you enjoy being able to participate in, say, twitter chats, if they happened at more decent hours? If you’re from the US, were you aware of all of these struggles?
Do you have other ideas and things that could be done to support international book bloggers more?
What are some of your favorite international book bloggers? Please feel free to share them and give them a shout out in comments!