SEVEN STRUGGLES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BOOK BLOGGER

Hello Bookdragons! 💖

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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 💜.

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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*).

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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.

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India (official name: the Republic of India;[19] Hindi: Bhārat Gaṇarājya) is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by area, the second-most populous country, and the most populous democracy in the world. Bounded by the Indian Ocean on the south, the Arabian Sea on the southwest, and the Bay of Bengal on the southeast, it shares land borders with Pakistan to the west;[e] China, Nepal, and Bhutan to the north; and Bangladesh and Myanmar to the east. In the Indian Ocean, India is in the vicinity of Sri Lanka and the Maldives; its Andaman and Nicobar Islands share a maritime border with Thailand and Indonesia(Copied from Wikipedia because it knows more about my country than I do myself.)

Seven Struggles of An International Book Blogger

1. BUYING BOOKS ONLINE

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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! 😭

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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. 🌼

Struggles of an International Book Blogger-Sohinee Reads & REviews

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Signing off,

Sohinee Reads and Reviews

39 thoughts on “SEVEN STRUGGLES OF AN INTERNATIONAL BOOK BLOGGER

  1. Totally relatable. We’re not alone. We’re not alone.❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We are definitely not alone. There’s a whole bunch of amazing bloggers out there 💜. What have you struggled with mostly? 😅

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      1. Wow I never saw this😓. I’ve just begun blogging but i guess I’m going to be struggling with international titles very much on Netgalley.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You’ll get there. Struggle makes it even more worth it 💜. I rarely request titles from Netgallery these days because I kinda skip on Ebooks now 😅

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      3. Thanks❤️. Do you know if edelweiss is int’l friendly?

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  2. Ha I also find some struggle with books. After all the affair is not cheap. I usually use amazon for buying book both print, old book and kindle version. But for large book kindle is not very suitable. Your struggle will reflect on your personality. Go hard win hard. Best wishes.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am never comfortable reading on Kindle or any other devices for which I have to wait for paperbacks to release in India. Only then can I purchase them while the books would have already released in the US or UK. Thanks for stopping by reading my post!

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  3. I can relate to this so much! I wish I could participate in book signings and events but unfortunately it’s not possible. Great post and I loved the tone and writing 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I do struggle with that. Most of my favourite authors rarely ever tour my country let alone my city. I wish J.K. Rowling and V.E. Schwab came down to my city. It would have been amazing! 💜

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  4. Ms. Smartarse Sep 3, 2019 — 1:49 pm

    I also go through most of these issues, and I don’t even have a blog following. Just an Instagram and a GoodReads profile. XD

    1. Buying books online – yeah, telling students about cheap books is annoying, I know. I remember the times I would try to convince my parents to shell out the money for newly released English books. No, I never had any luck…

    2. When it comes to asking for physical copies, I think you’ll have more luck with Indian publishers. From what I’ve seen, even the more famous book bloggers/vloggers only get free physical copies, if they live in the same country as the publisher (preferably in the same city). So, this is not just an international blogger woe.
    Everyone suffers from this aspect. 😉 I believe the rationale behind this, is that ARCs may not always be the versions that get sold, so printing an “intermediate” version is more expensive, than just sending a digital copy.

    3. I suggest you try the British Council’s Library (I see there is one in Kolkata). I seem to recall that the ones in my country offer to ship books to you, if you don’t live near them. Maybe this is a possibility for you too? But you’ll probably need to register in person. And yeah, there’s a fee to be paid… but maybe it’ll be worth it, if you end up getting enough books from them. The British Council is basically how I got access to 99% of the English books during my high school years. Extremely few stores would even consider stocking anything beyond the classics, at the time.

    4. Oooh, I hate when that happens! I remember that one of the last Harry Potter books got published right when I was in the middle of my university entrance exams. Was I pissed that I had to wait!

    So TL;DR: I feel you! And you’re totally right to sulk about things. *hugs*

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  5. I totally relate to this!! I have to go to America to buy books because they cost like $30 for a PAPERBACK here in Barbados. I totally relate to the book signings because no one comes to the Caribbean to do book tours 😭.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Also, books would release early in the US and UK and it would take years for them to release in India. By the time I read the books, they are no longer new releases 😔. Yes! Book signing events really gets to me. None of my favourite authors visits my country 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Interesting post.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Welcome,dear!!🌹🌹🌹🌹

        Liked by 1 person

  7. Being a book blogger residing in the Philippines, most of these are my struggles too! I think, in a way, I’m still lucky to be working in the PH capital (Manila) because I have access to more bookstores, book events, and book fairs than those living in the provinces. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, that’s true! For me, I can still travel to the city and visit bookstores and I still have Amazon which delivers to my address. But for people who live in other provinces, it is way more difficult for them to have access to new releases and ARCs 🙁

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes! Netgalley and Edelweiss are amazing, but sometimes, you just wanna read physical ARCs, you know. 😀 But I’m more than grateful to receive e-ARCS anyway!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Love this post so much🙌🙌 I get migraines while reading on e-readers too🤦🏻‍♀️🤦🏻‍♀️ And most of the big pubs here are nearly not as gracious enough to send out ARCs as their intl counterparts😩 Third world problems..

    Liked by 1 person

    1. IKR! The worst thing is when they say they will send across a few titles but they never arrive on top of that if I do follow up or check in sometime, they would rarely ever reply 😒

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I can understand with alot of these struggles. I live in the United States in the country. Our library is terrible. There’s no book stores in my area, you have to drive over 2hrs to get to one. Theres not a single book festival near my area and no authors tour anywhere close to me. I am lucky and get to receive arcs. I know how hard it is for international bloggers to get them. I wish netgalley was more available world wide

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Tiffany for stopping by. With Netgallery’s new policies, things have become a lot more difficult especially for someone like me who rarely requests from Netgallery. My chances of getting approved are almost 0%. On top of that, reading e-books makes my migraine worse which is why I mostly lean towards physical copies of books. I know it may sound as if I am making it up, but it’s true! It sucks 😭

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  10. I’m sorry to hear about your struggles but I’m glad that you have the clarity of spirit to pinpoint them and discuss them in such an engaging manner! If you are ok with receiving pdf ARC copies you may want to talk to Vegetarian Alcoholic Press or Duck Lake Books!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for letting me know about them and for reading my post! 💜

      Like

  11. Ms. Smartarse Sep 6, 2019 — 12:47 pm

    I tried to post a comment on Monday, but I think it got eaten by WordPress. Granted, it was very long and wordy, so maybe you thought it was spam 😛

    Anyway…. what it all came down to is this:
    1. I hear ya, sister! As an international reviewer myself, I have the same issues with asking for German ARCs. *sniff sniff*
    2. I have never personally requested physical ARCs, but from what I read, it’s cheaper to send digital ones, because often times the published version gets revised based on said reviews. Still if you’re set on getting physical books, you’ll probably have to rely on local publishers.
    3. For new releases of English books, try the British Council’s Library (I see there’s one in Kolkata). I think it’s possible that they’ll let you use the postal service to borrow/return books from them.

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  12. Fellow broke Indian blogger here and I feel you, the struggle is real!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, the struggle is definitely real! But hopefully things will be better for us soon 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  13. DANG. Luck is really out to get you, huh? INTRODUCING, LUCK 2.0: which is basically just a fancy way of me saying that I am sending you all kinds of good luck and vibrations. I hope that things look up for international bloggers soon. You deserve so much more in terms of opportunities!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ah, thank you Jessica! I really needed that Luck in my life!! International bloggers deserve better and hopefully in the near future things will be better. Thank you so much for your words. You brightened my gloomy day! 💕

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  14. Oh, the struggle is too real! Being an international book blogger is sometimes so irritating. Here are some things I struggle with:
    1. Ordering books – Amazon is just horrible for us here in Serbia. I tried ordering a book once, paperback was $17, but with shipping it was around $90! Needless to say, I gave up.
    2. Keeping up with new releases – our publisher don’t publish new releases. If a book is really popular, they might publish it some 5-6 years after it’s released. In general, they publish books only when the movie adaptation is about to come out. No movie – no book. So, its very hard to learn about popular new titles and even harder to find them.
    3. Giveaways and similar events – you said enough about this
    4. Language issues – I’m fluent in English and I speak some other languages as well. Still, it’s a foreign language to me. If I sometimes make some mistake or use an idiom incorrectly, that doesn’t make me a bad blogger. Us international bloggers should be respected for being able to read and write in multiple languages, not judged or criticized.
    Still, blogging is fantastic and totally worth all this struggle 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh my, thank you so much for reading and leaving a comment, Mina!! 😭💜 We share some similar struggles but the struggle makes the journey even more worthy, doesn’t it? Even though we are often the neglected lot, there are still people out there who care that we exist and moreover, I feel that International bloggers play a HUGE part in a book’s promotion otherwise books wouldn’t even be available in multiple countries!!

      One time a publisher told me that since I am not a native English speaker they can’t send me any books to review. There are certainly some issues in the relationship between publishers and international bloggers but hopefully in the future we all will be a great big supportive community 💜💜. We all are in this together and that is what makes the journey special 😊🌸

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      1. OMG, that’s horrible! Luckily, I haven’t come across such publishers. We are an important part of the book community, as much as native English speakers. Still, we know our worth even if some of them don’t 😁
        I think it’s important that international book reviewers stick together and fight for our rights. Fortunately, people noticed that, I see more and more international events and giveaways on Twitter 🤓

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  15. Great post. I really enjoyed it. I feel your struggles. My time zone isn’t the worse, but being on an island as far East as you can go in Canada sucks. We don’t get many authors tour here, or huge book fairs, or anything of that sort.

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  16. Good luck for your exams! I’m sure you will do great. 🙂 Thank you for sharing your experience as an International Book Blogger. Regarding libraries, I also have the same issues. In both my local library (if I can call it a library since it has six shelves filled with dictionaries and regional books) and uni library, there are no new releases nor books that catch my attention. They are all very technical! I already read those for papers/research, so I like to read something different when I’ve free time.

    Happy readings! 😉
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

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  17. Ohh godd samee!!! Kolkata book fair is held everytime during my finals. But I go anyway. Books are more important😤😤

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  18. Ohh goddd samee!!! Kolkata Book Fair is held everytime just days before my exam starts. I still go anyway. Books are more important😤😤

    Like

  19. Super post. Do you have any other ones you can deliver? I love the content. 🙂

    Like

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