Is That Discrimination I Smell?

Is that discrimination I smell?

On a Monday night like this one I found out that a book I wanted to read was available on Readers First. I quickly logged into my account and downloaded the excerpt. The book was funny and better than I had expected. So with growing excitement I wrote my initial thoughts and proceeded to the next step only to be stopped on my overexcited tracks.

The book was only open to US and UK participants. I can’t explain the sense of disappointment that washed over me at that moment. I couldn’t believe I had just used my time only to be letdown like that. Maybe I wouldn’t have been chosen and it would’ve sucked, but being denied the chance to take part in the giveaway felt so much worse. I angrily deleted the whole thing and have not accessed my account ever since. So a lot of people might say, I should have checked it out before even trying to request for the book, and they are right.

They are right because for the hundredth time I had entered a giveaway that I assumed would be open to me but it wasn’t. It’s not just on this site though, many sites don’t offer international giveaways. Take Goodreads for instance, the only book giveaways that are open to me right now are three. Three! Just three books, on a site with hundreds of books been offered every day.

Let’s be honest here the books offered were not the most exciting ones. I am not trying to insult anyone here I am just stating the facts. I wouldn’t have picked these books even if they were free on a shelf. Of course the first book that caught my eye though was not available to me. It was only available to people living in the US, UK and Canada and this went on and on for every book I wanted.

Now this has happened many times before and I let it go but I just can’t take it anymore. Why am I been discriminated for living in my country? Because it is discrimination no matter what anyone says.

So this is addressed to publishers and authors throughout the world (because I don’t want to leave out anyone):)

Dear Authors and Publishers,
My name is Andrea. I am many things, but I am also a reader, a reviewer, a blogger and most importantly a book buyer. I live in Kenya, which is in Africa incase you were wondering so I mostly buy my books online because otherwise I could only access your books three years after they have been published.

 I am writing this to you, to bring to your attention an issue that has been happening for a very long time. I am talking about the discrimination against international readers like me. For the longest time we have been discriminated when it comes to book giveaways. Now I know it is your right to choose who gets access to these books but is it fair to exclude us considering we are also book buyers? We may not be a big market on this side of the world but we are still a sizeable number.

Personally I spend a large part of my income buying your books so this exclusion is an insult to me and many other people. I am well aware of the challenges involved. For example the shipping costs incurred are too high and most people don’t have valid addresses which can be used for book deliveries but still, are these challenges valid? I don’t think so. Not in this day and age of e-books anyway.

 I mean nobody is asking for a hardcopy, I know am not. In fact most of my books are e-books. I just want an equal chance to win a book from my favorite author just like everybody else. I hope reading this will make you reconsider and try to make a change. That is all I can wish for right now.


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