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NEWS: Kadokawa Purchases 51% Stake in Yen Press

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Joined: 14 Jul 2004
Posts: 4438
PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 4:12 pm Reply with quote
pinder_2009 wrote:
I hope this event somehow lets them release faster while maintaining the same quality, if not better, across all their licenses.

It won't. People have asked them multiple times about their release schedule. A few years ago, it was specifically asked about at Sakura-Con. Basically, it comes down to saturation, and why Tokyopop failed.

For one part, you have sales of an individual title. For every volume 2 of something, there's going to be sale drop-offs from volume 1. Volume 3 will have drop-offs from volume 2, and so forth.

Secondly, you have to look at the demographic. The main demographic for manga and light novels are high school and college-aged young adults. For the most part, they don't have a huge amount of disposable income, so have to be more judgmental on what they buy. If a lot of things come out all around the same time, they have to pick and choose.

Thirdly, you need to consider the Japanese release schedule. In the US, the general time frame for most titles is every 2-3 months for manga, and every 3-4 months for light novels (3 months seems to be more common). However, the Japanese release schedule for books is much further apart for many titles (and that's not taking delays into account).

From what I've observed, 3 months seems to be the bare minimum between manga volumes, and 4-5 more common (for a weekly title, this means 12-15 shorter chapters per volume, for a monthly title, 3-5 longer chapters per volume). And even further apart isn't unheard of, especially for monthly titles. Pandora Hearts, for example, had 104 chapters, broken up into 24 volumes, and took 10 years to publish fully (the US release, on the other hand, took just over 5).

For light novels, this can be even longer. Log Horizon, for example, currently has 10 published volumes. The first 5 volumes all came out in the same year, which I'm presuming were already written when the publishing deal was made. It took 2 more years for volume 6 to be released, with another that year, a single book the year after, and two books last year. Volume 11, which was started on the web last August, is still being written (as of the newest chapter, published this week, it is not yet finished). After that's done, it still needs to be edited and published. We'll likely only get 1 volume this year.

The solution to this, of course, is proper spacing of releases. By spacing your releases out, you a) allow for your consumers to build their funds back up again, b) give them time to read and enjoy the product, and not get burned out on it, and c) delay catching up to the Japanese release.

While, as fans, we might enjoy being caught up to the Japanese release, it's a double-edged sword for publishers. Because while the fans will be happy to be caught up, that also means longer waits for the next volume, which will not make fans happy.

Tokyopop failed because they flooded the market. They put out a lot of books close together, and rarely went longer than 2 months between volumes. The market simply couldn't sustain it. Yen (and other current US publishers) are being much more careful. They are watching how much they release at a time, and how often they release new volumes of series. Since this works, they're not going to change the formula, even with this new partnership.

(BTW, did the math, and at the rate Touno writes, we should be caught up with the Japanese volumes of Log Horizon sometime in 2017.)
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Joined: 12 Feb 2006
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PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 11:03 pm Reply with quote
@Dessa That was an extremely thorough answer. Much appreciated. I never knew about Tokyopop and their troubles, but I'm glad that Yen Press is, seemingly, taking care not to repeat those mistakes.
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Joined: 15 Aug 2007
Posts: 931
PostPosted: Sat Apr 16, 2016 3:00 am Reply with quote
TUSF wrote:
Silver4000 wrote:
I hope this means that more light novels will be licensed.

It should. In the last year or two, Kadokawa has been going out of their way to internationalize in various ways.
Actually, I wonder if the recent DMCA event of Baka-Tsuki, by Kadokawa had something to do with this. (recent being just a couple months ago, but still. It's one of the few times a Japanese company has stepped in, and shut down fan-translation projects)

That was a major bummer. I'm definitely in favor of professional, legal, English translation which I can buy, but when fan translations get axed with no replacement, it definitely sucks. So, if this means that those titles get official releases, that's fantastic, but I'd be very surprised if they all did. The light novel situation in the US has improved considerably over the past few years, but it's not at all realistic to expect that everything is ever going to be published over here - or even all of the good stuff.

All in all, I really don't know how to take this news. If it means that we get more great stuff from Yen Press, then it's probably good, but we really don't know what all it's going to affect. So, this could be the beginning of something great or the beginning of the end - though it's probably something somewhere in between the two. But given how a good a job Yen Press has been doing, I'm nervous about any major changes. Hopefully, this will be for the best though.
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