Discussion: The Eternal Frustration of an International Book Blogger

To All the ARCs I Could Have Gotten If I Wasn’t an International Blogger

So I tweeted this out yesterday, and it’s one of my most popular tweets ever, meaning a lot of people have felt my frustration and can sadly, relate. And while this particular topic has been explored previously, in a lot of different formats and by a lot of different people, I haven’t spoken about it directly on this blog. And this post probably would not have happened if I hadn’t gotten a particularly disappointing email about one of my most anticipated releases. I have written the publisher so many emails about that book and then on a request for an eARC, they said “sure, what postal address can we send the ARC to?”. And I said well, I am an international blogger and I was hoping to at least get an eARC and they were like OH international, sorry, nope. I was super bummed after that.
And, in a more general sense, the fact that I am an international blogger has shaped to some extent my blogging experience. So let’s have a quick chat about that.

I Get It 

The question of ARCs is one that gets mentioned most in this debate, and although it’s not the only problem I want to touch upon, it is the biggest one. And the problem here is that I do get it. Since books are so wonderful and magical, it’s hard to forget that publishing is an industry. It is. It’s a business and money is extremely important. Most publishers won’t go out of their way to spend a large shipping fee to get a book to an international blogger. I do get that.

However. There is a point to make whether or not it’s profitable to send an ARC to a booktuber who won’t even look at it or mention it anywhere instead of sending it to a blogger who begged to have it and will adore it. But that’s just my opinion.

The biggest issue I have with in regard to the exclusion of international bloggers is with eGalleys. That really makes no sense. The whole point of ebooks is their accessibility, so why not take advantage of that?
We all remember the big Netgalley change when most books became unavailable to international bloggers. You can only wish for them. Now, I have yet to get a definitive answer as to why this had to be done. And I have asked so many times. This is something that is specific to Netgalley, which to me feels like poor decision making. This is why I always recommend Edelweiss over it. They sometimes have the same books, and sometimes Edelweiss even has a bigger and a wider selection. Also, side note, if you are confused about using it, fear no more, I have made a crash course guide for you. Which is to this date my most popular post and people come to it every single month since April when it was published. It’s the fourth result on the Google search page. Look at an international blogger go.
So my point is, Netgalley’s decision probably isn’t due to the publishers or the market in general, which begs the question, Netgalley:

why are you the way that you are GIF

And that my dear friends is the first time I used a gif in a post, which shows you how frustrated I get when talking about this. 

And It’s Not Just ARCs

There are just fewer opportunities available for international bloggers. For example, I would have to pay a 30$ shipping fee to review a book box on my blog. And that’s usually more than the box itself. It’s ridiculous. I don’t really have that money to spend. I can’t enter rep searches on Instagram because most of them are US only. I can’t even enter giveaways. Closing doors everywhere.

 life bojack horseman bojack hopeless will arnett GIF

Also, not a lot of books are available to me. I mostly read on my Kindle because that’s the only way I can get to certain books. Most countries’ bookshops don’t have a large selection of books in English, which means I can only get recent releases on my Kindle.

And there’s even more restrictions when you factor in the specific country you’re from. For example, UK bloggers get fewer opportunities than US ones, but it’s nothing when you compare that to other European countries, or Asia for example. You will have fewer and fewer things available to you the further you move from the English speaking countries. Which is a whole new level of sucky.

So those are some of my really rambly thoughts. I will say that it’s 1 am here and I have to study so maybe I needed a bit of a vent. I am gonna leave you with two things:

Those two posts are way more coherent and better written than mine.

I would love for us to chat in the comments! If you are an international blogger, come complain to me in the comments! Share your international blogger wisdom, if you have any, because I don’t. And if you are not an international blogger, just come chat and discuss with me. I would love that, since I am not Netgalley and I love you no matter what country you’re from.


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48 thoughts on “Discussion: The Eternal Frustration of an International Book Blogger

  1. I love this post so much, and you addressed so many important issues we international bloggers face.

    I’ve always wanted to get a subscription box, but paying about 60€ for one?? 😞 & I always hear about INTL bloggers getting rejected when they request ARCs, so I’m really hesitant to even try.

    Anyway, this is such a great post! Thank you so much for writing this. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Lily! I only ever get on off boxes as gifts from people, when I really earn them 😂 The shipping is just too expensive! I have had no luck requesting so far, but I did get an eARC from a publisher once (and it was a really anticipated release)! Thank you so much again, I am so glad you liked the post

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I love this post. I am in the UK but still get arc lists from US publishers and I always say, please can i have an earc, and then don’t get one. I’m not sure if it’s down to territorial rights or something….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh yeah, they are stingy with eARCs too! I definitely think there are some territorial rights at hand, but still, publishers are sooo unappreciative of bloggers in general, and it doubles when you’re international sadly. Thank you so much!


  3. I sometimes wile out about the shipping costs when I want a US book box, so I can only imagine how you just feel!! At least we have loads of U.K. based boxes, with more emerging! …And that sucks, what was the highly anticipated arc you wanted? (DM me if you don’t want to publicly state.) … I don’t get this whole territorial, which countries has sales rights stuff, but I know some publishers are worldwide so it shouldn’t matter for them. Have you looked up @prhinternational on Instagram – they specialise in sending Penguin Randomhouse US titles outside the US & Canada, they might be a good shout for Penguin titles. I know it’s not much but they immediately sprang to mind.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, shipping is unsufferably high for US boxes, but even the UK ones aren’t great for me, shipping wise. It was Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills. Plus, it’s available on Netgalley US, it’s not that big of a release really, and I have not shut up about her books this whole year so it was so frustrating. And I remember Atria sent me an arc of Us Against You through NetGalley US, so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal.

      And thanks for mentioning Penguin, I actually did fill out their blogger form, and I got an email about hosting a giveaway (it was a group email for all international bloggers), but I haven’t heard back about that. Yet. But I think it’s awesome that they even have a program for international readers, I really was so pleasantly surprised when I saw that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hmm, that’s odd that they’d give you access to one but not the other, I rarely use Netgalley these days. If only we read the same books, I’d send all my arcs onto you!!

        If I come across any other international programs, I’ll be sure to let you know! I’m frustrated on your behalf…

        Liked by 1 person

  4. You know I always love your discussions, Marija! And this is a recurring topic unfortunately and every time I get so frustrated. I think it’s easy for other people (well, US-based mostly) to brush off our posts and tweets because they might think it’s only about Not Getting That One ARC I Really Wanted but it’s really about how just not fair it is. As you said, we’re already at such a disadvantage and when I see that random American booktubers get books they won’t even look at, especially when you add on top of that the fact that the publishers don’t even take into consideration that they should prioritize marginalized reviewers when the book has a certain marginalized representation, it just makes me so sad. I feel like publishers only see bloggers as numbers without actually knowing what we do, like, at all. If they spent a couple of weeks in the book community they’d see how much a good blogger and reviewer can influence the opinions of a lot of people regardless of where they’re from, but for some reason they think we have no reach?? or something??? Oof I’m definitely rambling now but you know how it is, it’s just so frustrating.
    Thank you so much for mentioning my post ♥

    Liked by 1 person

    1. THANK YOU SO MUCH! And yeah, the issue of sending arcs to marginalized readers is ALSO a big one and it’s tied to this problem as well. Thank you for mentioning that! And I could not agree more, I think very little thought goes into arc distribution, since I really do believe that even a small book blogger can make at least SOME people pick up a book, while a booktuber never even mentioning an unsolicited arc is just a waste of money really. And you are definitely not rambling, I completely get what you mean and I totally understand the frustration since I really feel it too. That’s one of my favorite post in the book community ever, so of course! 💜

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Definitely agree with what you have pointed out here! I’m an International blogger from Singapore (In Asia) but because majority of people think we’re in China (We’re not) and that English isn’t our main language (Everyone can speak english in the country), I’ve never gotten an physical ARC in my life! I have to heavily depend on Edelweiss and Blog tours to get eARCs which I’m really thankful for!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m really shocked about the eGallery restrictions…it’s online! I had that a few times with NetGalley; I’m from Canada and I’ve had a number of books I wanted to request to only find out I can’t get them…WTF!? I haven’t tried reaching out for ARC’s as of yet, but it’s good to have this at the back of my mind. Great post love! Very informative.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, I really don’t understand that decision, since I can request those same books, by the same publishers on Netgalley, so it can’t be due to territorial rights. I think that since you are in Canada, you might have a good chance (or at least better than most) to get physical ARCs. Thank you so much 💕

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I agree with so much of this. As an American who currently lives abroad, I feel like I have a foot in both worlds, so to speak. I have my American library card still, so I can get ebooks from there WHICH I WILL TELL YOU IS AMAZING. But all the other stuff about shipping and things also applies. Sigh. So many frustrations. Thanks for this wonderful post! It was very well written 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I started a whole landslide with a similar tweet last year, when NetGalley shut us out. I can totally relate -.-

    For me, the nastiest one was when they invited me to participate in a thing where I’d be receiving books, AND… Didn’t bother to check where I live (although it’s frankly obvious – in my social media and even just through my posts or About page). Then they took their offer back. That was AWFUL.

    However, since then I’ve had a few publishers (well, mostly just one xD) who actually sends me books. It’s so refreshing when that happens. But it’s rare. And to be honest, maybe it would happen more often, but I am just too spooked to ask. Because I just don’t want to hear a no. It’s a nasty feeling.

    I’m not sad about NetGalley anymore though. I don’t even really want review copies anymore. I used to always be surprised about bloggers quitting review copies almost completely after a few years of blogging. Now the same is happening to me. It’s almost like it’s a natural progression xD

    I think NetGalley just wants to avoid legal issues. You know how Americans are with that stuff.

    Luckily, there are plenty of international reviews on Instagram. I get tagged in like five every week xD you just have to be friends with the people who know what is going on :DDD hahaha.

    I had a few international problems posts at the start of the year, there was even one geared towards positivity. I don’t know if you read it, but I can send you a link if you want. Don’t want to link drop here because it will probably put me in spam jail xD but I’m pretty sure you’ve probably read it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I feel like most international bloggers end up ranting about this! Ugh that whole thing when they take back the offer after they realise you’re not from the US is THE WORST feeling ever.

      That’s amazing that you actually get books! Yeah, I definitely do go through stages with ARCs where I sometimes want them, and sometimes I am completely over them.

      I am pretty sure I’ve read that post but you can drop me the link just to make sure.

      Thanks for commenting!


  9. I actually work in the international trade side of the publishing industry, so I can give a bit of insight about this. One thing I don’t see talked about very often in this discussion is the issue of foreign rights (and admittedly I doubt this would cross my mind if it didn’t pertain to my job). The reason a lot of publishers don’t want to provide international ARCs is less about shipping costs (though that obviously factors in) and more about foreign rights, which is why you’ll find that a lot of eARCs are unavailable to international bloggers. A U.S. or U.K. based publisher isn’t going to devote time and resources to promoting a book in another publisher’s territory – as a U.S. blogger I wouldn’t have any more luck getting an ARC from Faber & Faber than any other non-British blogger. But the reason international bloggers get screwed over is because it’s much less likely that a local publisher buys rights to the title you want, and that’s where my American privilege comes into the equation; any British title I want will eventually be published in the U.S., full stop. I totally understand the frustration of living somewhere where that isn’t necessarily the case. Some publishers have world rights, meaning they get revenue from worldwide sales, and these are the ones that you’ll still be able to get eARCs for, which is why it’s a sometimes/not all the time situation; in these cases the publishers can make the decision of whether it’s cost effective to promote ARCs in international countries. But when a blogger is outside one of their territories, there’s not much they can do about it.

    I hope I’m not coming off as annoying, just wanted to share the insider knowledge! But I completely understand why the eARC situation must seem rather arbitrary without this kind of perspective.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so so much for commenting, this is very insightful! And I totally get this, but I remain with my Netgalley hate since publishers (all US) grant me review copies on Edelweiss and I can’t request the same books from the same publisher on Netgalley 😁 But thank you so much for letting me know about it not really being about shipping costs – that’s one thing I wouldn’t have guessed.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I really wish I had more insight into the inner workings of Netgalley, that’s one thing I want to try to figure out. It doesn’t really pertain to my job, but I can do independent research, lol.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I am very disappointed with Netgalley, 70% of books are unavailable for International readers, so frustrating. I would love to use Edelweiss but I am NEVER approved despite having a 100% rate. I’ve been approved for 2 books in years of requesting, so I don’t even bother requesting anymore.

    I’ve read a few of these posts on International bloggers and I can totally relate. I’m lucky Australia isn’t as bad and yet we are also still not as lucky as the US.

    Subscription boxes is also very unaffordable for International subscribers. So annoying as I would love to get one monthly, but the value for myself is just not there.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ugh I feel you! I did do a post for requesting on Edelweiss, but that’s the only thing I can help with, I have no idea what their approval standards are :/ and I totally feel your pain, I can never get subscription boxes either 😑


  11. I feel your pain on subscription boxes but less so on the eARCs. I don’t really have many issues getting eARCs for whatever reason… Maybe it is because I’m UK based and the publisher has the UK publishing rights too? Or maybe it’s the books I read? *shrugs* Regardless, I do agree that it sucks. I think a publisher should consider where a blogs following is predominantly from when agreeing/declining requests. If you’re an international blogger with a large US following then surely it is beneficial to grant the ARC?

    On the netgalley vrs edelweiss argument, I side with netgalley. edelweiss is a minefield and rarely approves anything but I’m happy that it at least works for you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh I don’t have an issue getting eARCs either. But a lot of books aren’t even open to request for me on Netgalley. The ones I can request I usually end up getting 🙂 I agree, most people blog in English and so their audience is almost always predominantly US (mine is at least). I think I am the only person that likes Edelweiss haha


  12. There will never be enough posts about international bloggers’ struggles. They keep piling up and there always seem to be something new that puts us in disadvantage. It’s really frustrating, but posts like these help us connect and realize we’re not alone and that we’re still part of the community.

    I’m from Ecuador, still in America, but you’re so right about it being worse the further away from an english-speaking country. Other latin american countries fare a little better, like Mexico, which obviously, is closer to the U.S. I once bought an Owlcrate, just to get it off my chest XD Like $50 in total. That said, some of the publishers have international branches that do take us into account. For example, I had the opportunity to receive an ARC through Penguin International. It was amazing. But the Netgalley news was such a bummer! It literally felt like a door being closed in our faces.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree on everything! And that Owlcrate cost is the same for both of us, so I feel ya. Yes, PRH International has been amazing so far – although I haven’t gotten any physical ARCs, they send Netgalley widgets all the time and it’s so nice to be included for once.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. oh my god! everything you said here was so true! i mean we are equally as passionate as books and deserve a chance to get physical arcs too! (so many exclamation points) Recently i sent an email to a publisher requesting a physical arc of an anticipated release and i *hope* i will get it.

    Liked by 1 person

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