Hi everyone! I’m Sofi, from the blog A Book. A Thought. I hope everyone is having the best of days, before I start I want to thank Aliénor for the opportunity to share our thoughts and experiences as international bloggers (Aliénor : you’re very welcome!!), it’s really important to have a place where we can express ourselves so that you all are more aware of how we have to deal with things.
First of all I’m from Argentina, I live more precisely in the province of Entre Rios, a province that is very close to the capital. Obviously I’m a Spanish speaker, so you’ll probably wonder why my blog is almost entirely in English, well this is because I’ve always read in English and I honestly thought it would be fun to have a blog in this language, not only has it been amazing to reach more people in the world, but I’ve learned a lot of the language as well. Having said that, I’m here to tell you about my experience as an international blogger so let’s start!
Where do you buy books?
Most of my books come from Book Depository, a website that I simply love and believe that like me, it surely helps many of you, not only because its shipping is totally free, but also because of its incredible prices and great variety. In fact, if you haven’t tried it yet because you have doubts, I recommend it a lot.
Can you find English books in your country?
A big NO, there are no possibilities for me to get a book in English where I live, the ones that are, are all in Spanish. Anyway this doesn’t bother me, I understand that in a place where only speaks in Spanish, that is the language in which the books are, it makes sense to me lol. It would be amazing to find books in other languages though, it would be something very interesting for me but it is not something I really expect to be honest. The only books that have some fragments in English are those specially made to learn or practice the language but apart from that there is nothing else.
What is your situation regarding online sales?
As I said before, Book Depository is my lifesaver, it’s the only website I use for my books. I would love to use Amazon, but the problem is the shipping costs and this added to the price of the book will always cost more than Book Depository. To get an idea, the Dollar used to be 10 Argentine pesos and today with all the political changes in my country this has also changed and the dollar has gone up, leaving 1 dollar at 20 Argentine pesos, it’s really a lot of money. Sometimes I can see how the books are super cheap on Amazon, and I think “OMG I would love to live in the US and have free shipping”, I mean, YES, who would not want that type of benefit? But unfortunately it would be very expensive to buy several books and send them to Argentina. I know of websites like Wordery and Better World Books but I’ve never tried them before, I understand that they are websites that also have free or very cheap shipping to most countries in the world.
Do you have access to a public library?
Well, yes, I have access to a public library but there are only textbooks for research or the school, you know? I have seen some public libraries from other parts of the world and I can see how some are divided by sections such as YA or Poetry, that kind of thing. Here there is no such thing, we don’t have variety to choose, even less the types of books that I usually read that are most YA, there’s nothing like that around here
Do you get arcs? eBooks? physical arcs?
Well, I think this is the most discussed topic among the community, the truth is that getting an ARC as an international blogger is the hardest thing to do. Personally I consider myself fortunate to have been able to get incredible ARCs via Netgalley, which of course are exclusively eBooks. I used to think that Netgalley was the best site ever, because of its support to all bloggers around the world, but now, as international bloggers we are no longer allowed to request most of the books, but we can only wish for them. This change in the website has made many people feel very angry and offended, including myself. Recently Netgalley managers have come out to clarify this, saying that some publishers no longer wanted to work with international bloggers, and I wonder, what has changed? I really don’t know, I still feel that it’s an injustice, we don’t even wait for a physical ARC, you know? As an International I’ve always considered myself very responsible when writing my reviews, always with a lot of respect whether I liked them or not, this way I’ve managed to get very requested books on this website before, so it’s difficult for me to understand why this sudden exclusion. Anyway, this is a complex issue and I don’t want to expand too much about it, I just think that things should be more egalitarian in this sense, at the end of the day all our works are valuable.
I’ve been lucky enough to receive some physical ARCs, not many of them, I can count them with one hand. Some of them were sent by Argentinean publishers and others have been sent so kindly by the author himself, which I appreciate very much. I know that shipping is expensive, which is why it’s something valuable for me.
Have you ever been to a book event?
Here in my country there is something called “La Feria del Libro” (“The Book Fair”), where many authors attend to, even international ones, and there’s a wide variety of books and prices. It’s only done once a year, and I’ve attended to a couple of times, it’s not in my province so I have to travel so it can be expensive to go there. I’m lucky enough to live quite close, but I think of the people who want to attend and live in more remote provinces, for them it’s probably more difficult. Removing this I have never attended any other event since they aren’t common in my country.
What is the hardest for you to deal with in the book community?
Oh that’s a hard question to answer, I know there are many things that I can’t do and many things that I can’t access to, but even so, I’ve gotten used to working with what I have at my disposal and I think it could be worse, right? Being part of the community is something really amazing, I have known lovely people being part of it and I have read incredible books that otherwise wouldn’t have even come to know, I also feel that I’ve learned a lot being part of this world and couldn’t be more grateful for that.
Removing this and answering the question, I really don’t know. I would like something like “Books for Trade” to exist, but in a global way, I know that the problem will always be the shipping cost, so being honest I understand, there is also the same limitation regarding Giveaways. Beyond this and how difficult it’s to get ARCs, as I mentioned before, I think that one of the most difficult things to be part of the community being an international blogger is to make yourself noticed, it’s simply to make yourself a place in this world and prove that your word has as much value as anyone else’s, and that’s why I think that all of us always have to work a little harder on everything to really get a place.
Do you talk about your favorite books with your friends IRL?
Yes, luckily I can do this, my best friend is also a reader so this allows us to talk freely about the things we’re reading and that kind of thing, we read books of very different genres, which is great at some point because it makes be more fun to discuss about them.
If I’m super excited when I also talk about them with my boyfriend, he doesn’t read anything lol (I’m working on it), but still he listens to me talk nonstop about the books that I love and I love him for that. Sometimes I’m like, “OMG, you remember that book I was talking about, where they had powers and the main character had white hair?” and he’s like “YES! I remember you told me that she can make people see things that are not really there” and I think “OMG, he’s really listening to me” LOL, is really adorable. (Aliénor : YES IT IS!♥)
Have your favorite books been translated into your first language?
Yes, I think that most of the books that I’ve read and are my favorites are translated into Spanish. Luckily many books are translated into this language so that’s great!
In what languages do you read books?
I read most of my books in English, first because English books are much cheaper than the books here so it suits me to buy them in this language, on the other hand, it’s a language that I love, I listen to music in English, I watch movies and series in English, I think it was something that made sense to also read my books in English, right? This has allowed me to learn many words and to extend my vocabulary in this language which is great and was one of my main goals when I just started. I remember that I didn’t understand much at the beginning and I was like “what does this mean?” and I had to stop reading and look for the word, it was something exhausting and slow to be honest but once you get used to it, it becomes something that you can do fluently.