Request: Muv-Luv Alternative LNs
Ah muvluv. I helped subtitle Total Eclipse for CR back in the day...
I don't know whether to say "thank you" or "I'm sorry you had to go through that". That second season of TE is a real slog. 24 episodes (25 with the recap) to cover only 4 LNs is a pretty dire pace.
Value of Memberships
At the moment, the normal membership doesn't have much value since it's essentially $54 a year for temporary access to unpolished chapters. I'm gonna put aside the whole pre-pubs since that just doesn't appeal to me at all as someone that reads by the volume light how Light Novels are originally published for the most part. (Excluding the handful of series that are in magazines.)
Even with the Premium membership, that's a $120 investment a year in hoping that something you're interested in is licensed and released. A big part of the current membership system seems like it's a gamble. The free book a month for Premium seems like the only good deal so far. However, one issue I noticed is that in the FAQ under Premium Membership - Premium E-books and credits, are Premium ebooks.
They are not available for normal purchase, and can only be downloaded by purchasing them using the credits that Premium Members get once a month.
Premium E-books may also have extra bonus content, like special illustrations or translator notes sections, extra short stories, etc, depending on the specific title and availability. We're going to work hard to make these really special, and we'll announce these extra features in our newsletter, twitter, and forums before publication.
Then there's the idea of purchasing Premium credits. It's an interesting bottle neck to get the most content. A question I have regarding the purchasing of Premium Credits is whether free/non-paying users can buy them for the sake of getting the "most content" from when full volumes are released. Like, I don't intend to get the normal membership and it will be a year or two before I consider Premium depending on what's licensed. But I'd certainly want all the content from a volume release.
I'm also wondering what kind of short stories exactly would be included in the Premium. Are we talking about newly written exclusives, stuff from magazines, BD short stories, Limited Edition/Pre-Order Japanese Release short stories, or dare I even say, the short stories from the volumes themselves? (I could get behind the Limited Edition/Pre-Order & BD Bonus Short Stories)
I'm personally not a fan of when companies break up content from different retailers. It's kind of a sneaky move which feels like it's scamming people that don't know that you'll only get the extra short stories when buying from Novel Club. I'm not a big fan of digital anyways, but ignoring that, I don't feel like I'd pay $120 a year for one free volume a month with only 10 Light Novels confirmed at the moment. There's also the fact that I don't know what kind of translation quality is coming. Yen Press has really shunned me away with their excessive localization. And I'm not cheap considering I imported 5 Limited Editions of Arifureta volume 4 for all the exclusives which cost me around $160.
So my recommendation is that at the very least more value than pre-pubs should be added to the paid memberships. Like, perhaps give one premium credit to the normal paying members every 3 or 4 months so they can at least collect one series they love. For Premium Members, they could be given a boosted bonus of like merchandise from the limited edition releases of stuff in Japan. I know Overlap does a lot of Limited Editions.
In the end, I'm still somewhat skeptical of how this will turn out if the entire suitability of the company is based off these memberships or standard digital sales for volumes which by themselves aren't currently super profitable.
Value of Memberships
At the moment, the normal membership doesn't have much value since it's essentially $54 a year for temporary access to unpolished chapters.
Even with the Premium membership, that's a $120 investment a year in hoping that something you're interested in is licensed and released.
Honestly, it's not that different than when Crunchyroll got started with just a handful of series… I first latched onto it for exactly that reason, because they had stuff like "Wandering Son" and "Sasameki Koto" that I figured would never be licensed by the likes of Funimation and Sentai.
I can't knock the Club for paid access to beta chapters, since as a computer book author, that's exactly how we work in my business too (readers would rather have the material now, even in an unfinished state, than wait six months for editing and indexing, and will pay for the privilege). I mean, every time I see a manga or LN announcement on ANN and the release date is in a year, I'm like "a year from now, am I going to even remember this was licensed?"
So yeah, I got on board with a $5/mo membership. Kind of because us old people with a little money should help things like this get off the ground so they have a chance. I can see eventually just switching to buying completed volumes when they have titles I'm specifically interested in, but for now, I'll just sample.
Value of Memberships
Let me try and answer some of your questions:
Premium Ebooks primary purpose is to provide higher quality/resolution images than an Ebook you can buy on Amazon or other stores. This is because those stores require us to limit things like image sizes.
By giving people a chance to buy directly from us we can control the format.
The extra content in the premium Ebooks is really going to be extra. Everything in the print edition of the original Japanese book will be in the normal Ebooks. The extra content would be things like extra store specific bonus illustrations or original content we create like a compilation of the translator's notes/posts in the premium members forum. There are some short stories which we have that were special giveaways at events, for example.
So you aren't missing out on any content compared to the original Japanese release if you buy the normal Ebooks.
My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World Vol. 1 Parts 1-4 Discussion
@Jason_Wander Of all our launch series this is the one that makes me go "This needs an anime!"
So much fun.
Freeium Members: this another readingbait(to early for this system to roll for this website)it will lose popularity if you do this early
@era-sasa Freemium only really works if we have a very large catalog of content, so we can't do that right now.
Maybe once we have a couple hundred volumes translated...
Web Novels(accepting other translation from other groups to post this website and their own website)
A lot of our licenses were originally web novels (like a lot of light novels these days). But we are licensing the print tankobon version of the series, not the original web novel version.
We definitely might consider licensing directly from authors in the future.
As for using fan translations, we make sure that all our translators are paid for their hard work and produce good quality translations. If you are a good fan translator we would love to talk with you!
Novel pick-up requests
I also have a question regarding something a bit more general than a specific licence.
First, I am not really interested by most of the light novels produced today, and would therefore like to know if you would be interested in some "old school" light novels, some of them partially published in the US before being dropped. I am talking about the likes of Kino no Tabi, Boogiepop, Kara no Kyoukai, Jinrui wa Suitai Shimashita and others in the same vein.
I know these are not what you would call popular, but do you think there could be a demand for them anyways ?
Novel pick-up requests
@DerMond Those are totally on my radar, and I know about the fanbase that's still out there for them. I hesitate to go after them though, since they once had print releases and in many cases like Tokyopop the original translation rights are often in a gray area. We would probably want to retranslate them from the beginning just to be clear.
I wish we could rescue all of these "2009 wave" titles, but I'm unsure of how successful they would be, plus there is the expectations to manage from the Japanese side.
Give us a few months to build a successful community, and then we will see.