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Are Light Novels Dead Here?


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Richard J.



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
Posts: 3367
Location: Sic Semper Tyrannis.

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:37 pm Reply with quote
Well, Viz, Tokyopop, Seven Seas and others have tried this format and both Viz and Tokyopop seem to be dropping it fast. Seven Seas seems to be sticking longer but will they drop them too?

Are light novels dead here outside of Japan or will the upcoming Haruhi novels change everything? Looking for opinions.

Mine are this: Light Novels have almost completely failed. The problem, I believe, is that they've been targeted at anime/manga fans rather than marketed toward mainstream novel buyers. While this may seem like a smart move, the result is that they tried to make a brand new format work with a fraction of a fraction of a decent customer base. Considering the strong emphasis on the art with manga fans and the extreme lack of promotion of the novels overall, it's amazing if any of them turned a decent profit.

If they'd marketed them as just new and interesting novels, I think they might have gotten more sales overall.

Just my opinions. Now can I read yours?
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brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 659

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 7:55 pm Reply with quote
I don't think they are dead do to total lack of interest. I think a big part is cost, a novel has a hell of a lot more works then a manga and so it cost much much more to translate. So for companies that are scaling back light novels are not the greatest investments right now. Viz never released a lot of them to begin with and Tokyopop I think dropped the ball on them outright. I think we will see some but not as big of a push for them as they are not the next business. I think once the economy gets better again (how ever long that takes) you will see more of them come out again.
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Celes



Joined: 11 Jan 2007
Posts: 223
Location: Madison, WI

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 9:40 pm Reply with quote
I've given up on light novels. I've read quite a few and I have to say I either have really bad taste or the whole industry needs to do what the OP said and start developing this trend for the mass market.

The worst light novel I ever read was Hot Gimmick S. Good lord, the grammar, sentence structure, the awkward voice...it was like trying to read a book while someone was repeatedly stabbing you or something. It was that unpleasant. I can't even just say it was bad because it was marketed at a young adult market and written at a fourth grade reading level...it was atrociously written at a fourth grade reading level by someone who either took the translations way too literally or didn't speak English to begin with. I do NOT recommend to anyone who even remotely appreciates decent literature.
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stevek504



Joined: 29 Apr 2007
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 10:14 pm Reply with quote
I hope it is just a slow down.

I know I enjoy the Chibi Vampire novels, and I just started Avalon: Web of Magic. I didn't think the Please Twins novel was all that great, but I didn't toss it.

I agree that marketing is a problem. I know when I went to purchase Chibi Vampire, I was like "two volume number 1s?" - what is that about. After I figured it out, I bought the first novel on a whim and enjoyed it (so I bought more). So, more could have been done to market these. Was it all just some big test?

I would buy Haruhi novels, but maybe this is all because I was a big SF novel fan...
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ryusaki



Joined: 05 Mar 2005
Posts: 363
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2008 11:09 pm Reply with quote
Good read the Boogiepop novels and then say Light Novels are dead.
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brand



Joined: 30 Jan 2006
Posts: 659

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:03 am Reply with quote
I've read a few Kino was good, and so was Chain mail. The Vampire Hunter D ones are ok, they are really good if you liked the movies though.
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stevek504



Joined: 29 Apr 2007
Posts: 165

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 1:27 am Reply with quote
Richard J. wrote:
...Seven Seas seems to be sticking longer but will they drop them too?...
You mention Seven Seas. I think they have some titles that could grow into the novel format. The Last Uniform for one. Does a novel need to exist in Japan before it can come here?

Though I don't own it yet, I want to try Strawberry Panic next.
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Richard J.



Joined: 11 Aug 2006
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Location: Sic Semper Tyrannis.

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 8:08 am Reply with quote
stevek504 wrote:
You mention Seven Seas. I think they have some titles that could grow into the novel format. The Last Uniform for one. Does a novel need to exist in Japan before it can come here?
While I'd welcome such an event, I think it's very unlikely that novels will be written from scratch. If Seven Seas' sales were good enough on both light novels and a paticular title, it would be possible, but I don't think it's that likely. Writing a novelization of something is an intensive process.

Quote:
Though I don't own it yet, I want to try Strawberry Panic next.
Your opinion may differ but I thought it was the best version of the franchise that I've been exposed to. It gives a much better insight into the charater's minds and delves into the student council politics a little more than the manga. It's an excellent read.

Of the different companies, I'd say Seven Seas put out the best quality product but I don't know if their sales have been good enough to make it a worthwhile act. Right now, I'm just hoping they'll finish releasing Strawberry Panic! at least since it's just 3 novels.
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Dark Elf Warrior



Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 228

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 9:36 pm Reply with quote
This is an interesting topic. I will gladly state my opinion.
I think the reason light novels may be dropping is simply because there haven't been very many good ones released. I haven't read Boogiepop Phantom or Chibi Vampire, but I will take your words for it. As for Vampire Hunter D, that one is aimed more at the fantasy and horror crowd, you know, the ones that read Dracula, The Lord of the Rings, The Children of Hurin, and other fantasy works of the like. Light novels that I have read that I think are really good are The Twelve Kingdoms and Slayers. If only Tokyopop or Viz would release the Record of Lodoss War novels, they may get more out of it. I have seen the anime, and it is very good. Its a Dungeons and Dragons type fantasy, but it is liked among anime fans as well.
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Hagaren_Otaku726



Joined: 16 Mar 2006
Posts: 135
Location: California

PostPosted: Sat Jun 21, 2008 11:04 pm Reply with quote
brand wrote:
I've read a few Kino was good, and so was Chain mail. The Vampire Hunter D ones are ok, they are really good if you liked the movies though.


Yeah, Kino was great. Unfortunately, Tokyopop kept pushing back the release for the later volumes, pushing back the release, and by now, it's probably a long gone project (especially with the way they're cutting back now)

Kino no Tabi probably would've done (at least a little) better in general if they had of either made the title "Kino's Journey", or mentioned somewhere that it started the anime series. If I hadn't have been particularly looking for the book, I wouldn't have made the connection between the two.
I'm not sure how the cover illustration looked on the Japan release, but on the US release, it really didn't give a hint as to say that THIS was the light novel that inspired the anime series. At the same time, it wasn't marketed very well to the general audience either.

I'm glad Seven Seas released Shinigami no Ballad... I've been waiting for that one for a long time now. I'm hoping it somehow holds out.

I agree with Richard on the reason why Light Novels aren't doing so well here. More advertising would've helped. A lot. I only saw advertising (at least for Seven Seas' novels) a few times, in the back of a few Seven Seas books I got. I never saw any Tokyopop or Viz ads.

I understand why they shelve them in the manga section (I really don't have any ideas for how to shelf to market to both the people in the manga section and the regular novel fan though), but not many people go to the manga section expecting to pick up a novel.

I'm almost glad Maid Machinegun was a one-shot. No worry of it getting canceled (Or worse "delayed" o_o) like Kino...

EDIT: Strawberry Panic sounded interesting too. I'm pretty convinced that I'll go get the first volume at least now.
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Michi
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Joined: 22 Feb 2004
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Location: San Francisco, California

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 11:54 am Reply with quote
So far, I've really enjoyed the Slayers novels put out by TokyoPop. They're written quite well, and really sound like Lina is narrating them. It's a shame they didn't pick up the whole series. I wonder how the sales for those were.
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Veoryn87



Joined: 14 Nov 2006
Posts: 808

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 11:54 am Reply with quote
The only lite novel series I read is the Vampire Hunter D series. I find it in the sci-fi/fantasy section of Barnes and Noble rather than the manga section, so they must be aiming it towards a more mainstream crowd. I'm not exactly sure how well it's working, but it must be doing better than Kino No Tabi for them to have 9-10 volumes released already (out of 17). I guess it kinda makes sense since Hideyuki Kikuchi doesn't like anime that much.
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_Emi_
Crazy FangirlCrazy Fangirl


Joined: 16 Feb 2008
Posts: 465
Location: Sigil

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 12:26 pm Reply with quote
I think Tokyopop really hurt themselves by starting a series and not finishing it. Why should I buy their novel releases if I can't be assured that they are going to finish? I don't think they have managed to finish a novel series that they've stared yet outside of .Hack. It's no good if I can't read the end and see how the story finishes. I just hope they at least manage to finish Twelve Kingdoms.
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cool3865



Joined: 31 Aug 2006
Posts: 770
Location: Austin, TX

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:35 pm Reply with quote
i actually enjoyed the Dirty Pair light novels, it was a well written sci-fi/action/adventure book that even the mainstream people could pick up and read
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LKK



Joined: 31 Oct 2007
Posts: 426
Location: Virginia, USA

PostPosted: Sun Jun 22, 2008 1:48 pm Reply with quote
_Emi_ wrote:
I don't think they have managed to finish a novel series that they've stared yet outside of .Hack.

I'm pretty sure that the Gravitation novel series is complete in the US although it's more of a collection of novels than a continuous series. Being only 2 novels long helped in their case.
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