Hello Bookdragons! 💖
Hope you all enjoyed your weekend and are ready to take on the week! August flew past me so soon and it’s already September which reminds me I need to study for my exams. So. send in all the good luck, cookies and best wishes my way 💜.
Anyways, if you haven’t noticed it by now, I rarely do any discussion posts. I don’t know why but one reason could be that I was living under a rock or more like in a burrow 😂. Up till now I solely focused on review posts and THAT WAS ABOUT IT. But now, things are gonna change (for better or for worse I wonder 🤔)!
In July, I did a post on Eight Reading Habits To Become A Book Ninja and it did so well that I had to come out of my burrow and accept the fact that I can do better as a book blogger! It’s still one of my top posts on my blog and I can’t thank all you amazing people for all the love you showered on that post! 💖 If you haven’t checked it by now, go do it and give me more views!! Just kidding 😛. But I did share some of my secret tips so you might as well check it out (*puppy eyes*).
Did you just see that I got distracted right there? Yeah, that happens with me a lot. Before I keep talking in circles, let me get straight to the point. STRUGGLES. We all struggle with certain aspects of our lives but as an International Book Blogger, keeping aside the life struggles; when it comes to books, THE STRUGGLE IS REAL. In this post I’ll sum up the struggles which I face as an Indian Book Blogger.
1. BUYING BOOKS ONLINE
India does have Amazon and Flipkart from where I buy most of my books. But the problem is that most of the books are unavailable when they are newly released or are way too pricy at that time. Also, shipping charges would be around Rs. 100 to 200. Not all international titles are available either. Now, some people even recommend Book Depository since it has free shipping all over the world but I don’t see how the prices are any cheaper as some Indian book bloggers claim. Even if a book is priced at 7$, it would cost me Rs. 500, which is A LOT OF MONEY for a single book plus they don’t accept any other debit cards other than VISA and Mastercards which I don’t have.
Everyone’s talking about Red, White & Royal Blue these days and I really wanted to read the book but it is priced at Rs. 963 (A LOT OF MONEY) on Amazon. On Book Depository, it’s priced at 14.06$ which equals to Rs. 1,011.53. For a student like me who also has other bills to pay, I can’t afford books which would make a dent in my pocket.
P.S: Book Depository is no way cheap for me. SO STOP TELLING ME THAT ITS CHEAP! 😭
Also, newly released books are no longer “new” by the time they are released in India. I would be reading a book one year later than the people located in the US and UK.
2. REQUESTING REVIEW COPIES/ARCs
India has quite a lot of offices of the international publishing houses as well as local publishers. Some bloggers suggest me that I should request review copies/ARCs from them. Some even told me that I still have some privilege as compared to other Asian bloggers which is partly true but here’s the thing, I haven’t been too lucky when it comes to review copies. I have a lot to talk on this topic so there will be a separate post where I’ll be discussing my experience with Indian-International publishers. For now, let me just keep it short and say that me being a book blogger didn’t matter at all when I approached certain (big) publishers. They were more interested in knowing whether or not I have a bookstagram account which I didn’t at that time, and even now my bookstagram isn’t the best out there. I did land a few review copies, FEW being the word. There goes my luck with physical ARCs.
Some publishers even ask for a particular number of followers for international bloggers which I understand but it doesn’t change the fact that it reduces my chances of receiving ARCs. There are some international publishers who agree to send me review copies but most of them were e-copies and if you didn’t know it, I can’t read e-books. Concentrating on my device for such longer periods of time makes my migraines worse. So e-books are a no no for me. Moreover, I do want physical copies of books (there I go exposing myself, so professional of me! *laughs in books*)
3. LIBRARIES & BOOKSTORES
While there are quite a lot of famous libraries in Kolkata (Calcutta), there aren’t any where I live. Now, going to the main city to visit a library is not really an option for me (not on a regular basis) because they are all 60-80 kilometers away from my home. Even if I do visit which I did, they don’t really keep international titles or newly released books. Books in regional languages are more common than books written in English. While I am not complaining as I do read Bengali books but there’s 98% chance that the book I am looking for won’t be available at the library or a bookstore. Libraries here in Kolkata are mainly aimed at students and professors who use books for reference and studies.
There are quite a lot of bookstores here in my city but again, they are not really cost effective and all of them are mostly located in the main city which again is far from my home. Another thing is they mostly offer classics, translated books popular English books by modern Indian authors. That is not to say that Indian authors aren’t great writers. Ashok K. Banker is my recent favourite. While international titles are definitely available, the bookstores hardly offer newly released books. Mostly, they cater to the mainstream readers who like to read the bestsellers and the all time popular books. Once in a blue moon would I chance upon an imported title (forget about different editions)!
4. BOOK FAIRS
This is an extension of the previous point. Every year book fairs are organised in my city. Speaking of my luck, every year they are organised right around the time when I would have my exams. Now, this is of course not a problem every one faces but it’s such a bummer for me 😕. I did visit the book fair twice in my five years of living in Kolkata but the thing is they would rarely sell any new releases and the times when I visited there weren’t any discounts (which sucked!)
If you are book blogger living in Kolkata, what has been your experience at Kolkata Book Fair?
5. DIFFERENT TIME-ZONES
This is a issue for me since I have a lot of international blogger friends and the time-difference often doesn’t let me have a good conversation with my them. When I would be awake, they would be sleeping and when they would be awake, I would be sleeping 😅. My blog’s audience are mainly US and UK based (which I didn’t know up until August. YEAH, THAT’S ME. Such a great blogger I am 😂) and I usually post around morning when they are all still asleep. So, they get to see my posts the next day which isn’t all that bad but I guess I just want people to see my posts right away 🙈. I have started to adopt a habit of saving drafts and publishing them later but I still need some time to get used to it.
6. BOOK SIGNING EVENTS
Most international authors like to tour the US and UK since their readers are mostly located there. (When I say international, I mean people who aren’t of Indian origin nor do they live in India). Now this might not be an issue for people living in the cities of Delhi and Mumbai because sometimes international authors do tour these cities. But in my five years of living in Kolkata, I haven’t heard of any international authors touring my city.
(If you are J.K. Rowling or V.E. Schwab secretly reading this post, please come down to my city? Please? 🥺)
7. GIVEAWAYS & CONTESTS
My luck never favours me when it comes to giveaways, especially international giveaways. In case of soon-to-be-released or newly–released international titles, most giveaways are UK and US based and all those shiny new books makes me want to shift to the UK and US but my bank account is a constant reminder of how broke I am! 😭
But at The End of The Day…
We Indian book bloggers still have some privileges which we enjoy over other international bloggers and we should be grateful for them. We still have several options, book events, bloggers meet which does let us enjoy our blogging journey.
NOTE: This post was no way meant to be offensive to the non-International book bloggers. These were some of the problems that I face personally and had to get it out there in the world because I don’t really get to talk about these topics in my day to day lives. Sharing it with you bookdragons seemed to be the right choice 💜.
What Lesson Did We Learn From This Blog Post?
That LUCK isn’t fond of me and walks in my opposite direction 😂. But seriously guys, send me some luck. I NEED IT IN MY LIFE 😭.
Jokes aside, even though there are a lot of struggles involved, I do enjoy book blogging and I have to admit that all these struggles make the journey worth it. 🌼