Although I haven’t purchased anymore of the Fairyloot box boxes since my first one in April, which I received as a birthday gift from my partner, I keep a frequent eye on their social media to see what each monthly theme is. For the past few months, I haven’t seen any that interested me but last week they announced their November box on Instagram – Battles and Galaxies. I was really, really over the moon because I feel that Fairyloot, and other book boxes, tend to focus on fantasy and I have been eagerly waiting for a science fiction themed book box!
Reading through the information about the box got me even more excited for it as there are so many cool features. According to their website, there will be 7 items in the box all inspired by sci-fi books like Illuminae, Red Rising, and The Lunar Chronicles, and the book is described as a bit like How to Train Your Dragon but in space and with talking ships instead of dragons. Holy frak, Yes Please!
I skimmed over the last few bits of the post which just specified that the US/Canadian subscribers would be getting a copy of the book with a signed bookplate, and the UK would be getting a copy of the book with sprayed edges, and thought nothing more of it. I was just really excited to be getting a cool science fiction theme! Yay!
However, glancing through the comments just to see if others were excited too, I came across a torrent of angry comments from US/Canadian subscribers and it’s something that I wanted to discuss with you all today because it really took me a back.
I personally don’t care that much about editions of books. There are covers that I prefer over others, for example The Bear and the Nightingale, and there are some copies that I would have loved to have gotten sprayed edges for, like the stunning Children of Blood and Bone sprayed edges edition, but if I don’t get these things then I’m not overly fussed? In the case of The Bear and the Nightingale, the cover I prefer is a US cover that isn’t available over here as far as I’m aware and that sucks a bit but to me, it’s much more about the book that matters rather than what’s on the outside that counts.
But I know that there are many of you who do care about the editions/copies/covers of your books, especially those of you who are hardback fiends! And that’s completely fine. I love seeing people sharing pictures of their bookshelves where they have clearly lovingly curated a collection of hardback books that look stunning together.
From looking through the comments, I began to build a picture of why people were upset and this mainly had to do with the fact that the US/Canadian subscribers wouldn’t be getting a sprayed edges book. At the time, I hadn’t thought anything of this US/UK division because I know that, due to publishing laws in each place, there are times when different copies of the book have to be given out. It’s not a fault of Fairyloot’s, but its an annoying aspect of these regional specific laws.
I guess the thing that shocked me the most is how vocal people became about their frustration, with some commenters going as far to say that because of this they will be cancelling their subscription with Fairyloot and others demanding an explanation from Fairyloot. This is just my personal observations but I felt that some of this really stemmed from (predominantly) American entitlement?
As someone who lives in the UK there are so many times when we don’t get access to the same things as those in the US, and it is even worse for international readers outside of the UK. If we take Netgalley as an example to illustrate the point I’m trying to make, on the US version of Netgalley there are currently 256 YA titles currently available for request including some of the biggest books being spoken about in the book blogging community at the moment such as Emergency Contact, The Everlasting Rose, and Summer Bird Blue. On the UK version, there are 96 YA titles currently available to request. Of course, there is some crossover in what’s available but in general we have to wait months (sometimes between 6 months-1 year) to access the hot topic books, sometimes we don’t get them at all, and we get significantly less titles available to us. This is of course so much worse for non-UK book bloggers and I would encourage those of you who are international book bloggers to share your experiences here.
What I’m trying to get at here is that non-US readers often miss out on a lot of things and as we’ve usually accepted that this is our lot in life we just kind of… get on with it or are quietly miffed/upset about it. Obviously losing out on something that other people are getting isn’t nice, but in comparison with how often the UK loses out on nice things that we see our US friends getting I feel like not getting a copy of a book with sprayed edges a handful of times really pales in comparison?
Obviously I want to make it clear I’m not trying to blame US readers or blogger. What I did want to highlight for discussion though is how we deal with the experience of “missing out”?
Fairyloot here is meant to serve as a main example of this UK/US division so if you don’t know anything about it then that’s totally okay, feel free to share your non-Fairyloot opinions too! I’d be really interested to hear what others think about this and the wider UK/US divisions that happen in the book world!