Hello everyone ! Thanks Alienor for giving me the opportunity to guest post on your amazing blog (you’re welcome!!). My name is Joharis, I’m a 16 year old Panamanian booktuber and today I’ll be sharing my book experience as an international reader here.
Panama is a country that has recently began to bring more English books to the two novel bookstores in the country. More than half of the books that are available in English are NYT Bestsellers which means that I can’t browse through these bookstores and find new reads because they’re all well known titles. The English books section is only a shelf (a long horizontal one ) which makes the choices even more restricted. The prices are the same as U.S book prices which is great if I want to buy books in my local bookstore.
I can thankfully buy books online and afford to pay for the shipping. To receive packages you need to have a PO Box, the PO Box has an address in the U.S. and then it ships the package to an address on Panama and you pay by the pound. Which is why I always try to find free shipping because I would still have to pay shipping here.
There is one main library in the capital of the country that has an entire English book floor where you can get mostly old classic titles, you can’t ask for them to bring a new release book which is sad if you don’t have the money to buy the book. I don’t tend to go to this library because of the distance and transportation.
My online presence has been very short, I began my channel a year ago and my Instagram in January. I don’t have a large or even decent following and that is not ideal when requesting ARCS which I don’t do because of that reason. I used to request ebooks through Netgalley but then they became more picky with international readers and I stopped using the platform.
There’s only one book convention, it is held once a year and it’s a place where they invite Latin authors and a Spanish speaking booktuber. All the publishing houses and bookstores put up a stall and sell their books at the same price found in their bookstores. I don’t tend to go because of time restrictions due to school and the location. The times I’ve gone I only spend around 30 minutes there which means I’m in a hurry to get the books that I’m interested in. Regarding authors I don’t have a favorite one and if I had it would be an English one and they don’t invite English speaking authors.
There aren’t many Panamanian book bloggers and there’s not a lot of conventions where they meet, so I don’t know any bloggers personally. One of the obstacles that I have I that I read only English books because I’ve done so since my reading journey began and I have a Spanish blogging platform where most people can’t read English and a lot of books aren’t translated. I had thought about having an English channel but decided against it after seeing the lack of Spanish booktubers.
I only have one friend IRL that reads English books and I love talking about books with her but she loves romance books and I love fantasy books which means we don’t have books in common so I only have my online platforms to talk about my favorite books. My favorite book, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo is a NYT Bestseller so it was translated to Spanish. However, I have always read books in English because I have loved the language since I was in primary school and have just stick with reading in enough. Because of this I’m not exposed to Spanish books and therefore haven’t found a favorite book in my own language. Hopefully this year I’ll see more books in Spanish…