With all the ARC and Marie Kondo drama, I’ve been thinking a lot about how I get my hands on all the books I have read. Some people have enormous libraries, others barely have any books at home — and those are both perfectly valid ways of living our book obsession! So I stopped to think how did I get all these books I have read? How did I get so lucky to have the chance to read so many awesome books??? Hence today’s post…
Books are one of my biggest passions. I love reading, I love boosting books online, I love talking to people face-to-face about books, and I love being surrounded by these amazing physical objects. If you’re here reading this book today, you’re probably just like me. I mean, books can be the best friends we’re afforded! They’ll never abandon you nor will they let you feel lonely again! Just crack open a book and delve into the story — all your problems start to go away!!
But we all know that books can be expensive. Like, ridiculously expensive. And it’s not just hardbacks that have a hefty price attached to them — even paperbacks and ebooks (!!!!! how??????) can cost upwards of ten dollars. Ten bucks might not seem a lot to you, but to me and to a lot of readers out there (especially young readers!), it is a lottttt.
On top of that, living in a country that’s not the United States or the United Kingdom can make your life as a reader a little difficult. At least as a reader of the books you see being boosted left and right in the bookish community! Translations sometimes take years to appear on the market, books in English can be very expensive, and the publishing industry might not be the best in terms of activity and sales! And believe me, these are all issues that I can very strongly feel here in Portugal…
Kaleena is doing a really awesome and informative feature on her blog that showcases international readers’ experiences in a variety of countries. If you’d like to read more about how international readers experience their love for books, please check them out!
So how have I managed to read hundreds of books over the past few years? Since I don’t bathe in money (unfortunately, I know…), I make do with what I have!
So, in this post, I’ll be telling you about all the ways I get my hands on those precious books I read. I’d love to know how you get your books and if your experience as an international book blogger is anything like mine!
🌿 libraries are cool™
The first place I go to when I’m broke but hungry for some books is my local library. They’re honestly such cool places and I’d love love love love love to volunteer at one in the near future. Where else can you get a card (that’s free in a lot of places!) and unlimited access to hundreds (or thousands, if you’re lucky!) of books???
My city has a lot of libraries, but they’re all very hard for me to get to since I don’t drive and public transportation here kind of sucks. BUT NONETHELESS! Whenever I can get to one, I usually leave with the maximum amount of books allowed: five.
I use the libraries in my city to get a) graphic novels, b) young adult books, c) books I’ve heard about because of all the hype but I’m not sure if I’ll love. (I’ll get to why I request these books specifically in a bit).
Even if you don’t live near a library, you should check out if they have an online ebook program! Unfortunately, libraries here in Portugal (or at least in Lisbon) have not started a program like this, but I’d love it if they would! Since my boyfriend’s family lives in the United States, they let me borrow some books from the library through their OverDrive access, through their local library. I’m incredibly lucky to have this super kind opportunity. It’s let me read so many awesome new releases already! ☺️
🌿 trying my luck with arcs!
I know being an international blogger is not easy when you want to request ARCs. When you go on NetGalley, if you don’t live in an Anglophone country, chances are a lot of titles you really want to read have that annoying “Wish for it!” button. From what I’ve gathered, this is usually because the publisher does not own the rights to sell that book in your region/country. Which can be pretty annoying, but what can you do!!!
Nonetheless, don’t give up! I’ve been using NetGalley for over two years now (more actively in the past few months) and I’ve been pretty lucky. I only request books I really want to read and boost on my blog, and so my score doesn’t go down too much. I’ve even been granted maybe three wishes in total by publishers!
NetGalley is always the second place I go to when a) I want to desperately read a book that isn’t out yet; or b) I am too broke to buy a book at that moment. Of course, I would love it if I could buy every single ARC that comes out, but I do try to buy the ones I have loved the most.
Not only is it a good way to support authors you love by spreading the word about their work, but you also get to read some awesome free books. Hey, that’s not bad at all!
🌿 physical bookstores!
I love the whole experience of going to the bookstore to buy new books. Seeing so many stories right in front of you is so thrilling
and tempting!!! Which book will you pick? Are you paying attention to the spines and the covers? What about opening the book up and reading the first chapter to see if you’re into the writing style or not?
Physical bookstores rock and I love hanging out there. Whenever I have time to kill and I can’t go home, I head straight to a bookstore. I usually visit large chains way more often than I do small, independent stores — but this may change in the future! I just really can’t help myself around so much choice and such good prices!
The physical bookstores in my country, fortunately, have a decent English-books section. And I’ve found that the prices of those books are just a liiiiittle over the price you’d see on online retailers. So it’s a win-win — I get to experience my ~in-person~ book-buying dreams AND save some money!
🌿 ordering books online
The cheapest way to get books in your physical collection is definitely by buying them online — at least for me! When I can’t find a physical copy of a book I really want at the library or at the bookstores in my area, I go online and just order myself a copy. It’s not my favorite way of getting books (mainly because the postal service takes weeeeeeks to get them delivered to me) but also because I’m paranoid the package will get lost on the way (which is what I’m doing right now, as I wait for a batch of books for university…)
While I know of a lot of sites selling second-hand books for super cheap online, the shipping fees are through the roof. So, I only use Book Depository. The prices are relatively low, they have great customer service, and I trust that they’ll replace an order if it gets lost in the mail (which has happened…)
The only con of getting my books online is, honestly, having to wait such a long time to finally get them in your hands. That moment when I hear the doorbell or see the postal service notice informing me that my books are ready to be picked up are such a release of energy!!!
🌿 make friends with other bookish people!
I’ll admit that I only ever rarely make friends with bookish people. And those people may or may not be my mom and grandmother who own a lot of books… Which is great because, by extension, I OWN A LOT OF BOOKS TOO!
Having friends who love to read is honestly the best. If they’re willing to lend you their books, what are you waiting for??? I hope that when I read my adult years and move into a bookish career path I will make more bookish friends. But the kind of bookish friend who LOVES sharing their books (just like I do!). Fingers crossed 🤞🏻
How do you get your hands on a copy of your next read? If you’re an international blogger, do you think that has an effect on how you read?