Hello everyone! I’m Alyssa, a book blogger from Hong Kong, and I adore Asian YA fantasy. (If you do too, I have a giveaway for you … keep reading!)
So what’s the bookish view like from this tiny peninsula that is most certainly not in Japan? Well, I’m very lucky that Book Depository ships here, and I have stable Internet access so I can connect with the online book community.
But here are some bookish perks I hate missing out on!
1. Missing out on giveaways and ARCs
Ah, how many times have I dashed to join a giveaway, only to discover it’s US only. International giveaways aren’t always possible, of course, but it does sting when the coolest giveaways never seem to include me! Like if I expected a delicious crab and instead a jellyfish pops out to literally sting me. Ouch!
Advanced reader copies, or ARCs, are distributed to bloggers so they can review a book ahead of time. Physical copies hardly ever reach bloggers outside US/Can, UK, and Australia which I totally understand. But more recently, even major eARC distribution sites are limiting their scope and excluding international bloggers.
ARCs aren’t a part of my blogging at all, so the exclusion doesn’t hurt me as much as other bloggers. But I wonder if I might review ARCs more often if I had easy access to them!
2. Not getting preorder swag
I absolutely adore preorder swag. Since I’ve never had the chance to go to book events, practically my entire collection of swag comes from preorder campaigns.
So when. Like if that jellyfish from before came back to ambush me! *brandishes trident* Interestingly, the bigger preorder campaigns run by publishers are less likely to include international readers probably due to legal reasons. I understand that, but …
… I am super petty. I never preorder books if they run a non-international preorder campaign. Sorry? Normally the disappointment of missing out on the swag gives me indecision and I … forget?
3. No local book events
Hardly anyone reads English YA in Hong Kong. If any author ever comes here to hold an event, I’m pretty sure I’ve been attacked by that jellyfish again and am suffering hallucinations. Thank goodness for Twitter, or I’d never be able to interact with authors of my favourite books!
It’s also a shame that bookstores here never hold events for English YA. I love to see the beautiful set-ups and the booksellers’ enthusiasm . The biggest bookstore event I’ve been to? Lining up for my Deathly Hallows preorder, and that was years ago.
4. No offline bookish community
I know a net total of ONE PERSON in real life who reads the same genres as me. Twitter chats are fun and all, but it would be such a dream to sit down with my bookish friends for lunch, or to a book event, or to a book event that serves lunch (which must immediately become A Thing if it isn’t already!)
Don’t get me wrong, I still love being in the online book world! But I wish I could meet all my blogger friends in real life, too. Besides, then we could give each other books and swag without postage fees.
What can we do to support the international blogging scene?
Buy books from local stores, if you can! Ask booksellers and librarians about certain titles at the very least, they’ll know there’s interest. Maybe local publishers will sell more of your preferred languages and genres once they realize that!
It might be a longer wait and a slightly higher price, I know. I’m guilty of succumbing to the convenience of online ordering, and I totally understand if that’s the only viable option for you. But giving support to the local bookish scene could help it develop and make your blogging life more exciting, in the long run.
Speaking of excitement! I’m currently running an international giveaway for a hardcover copy of Reflection by Elizabeth Lim, about the story of Mulan facing down the underworld … join the giveaway right here!