ANN Answerman: "Does buying English-language releases support the Japanese author?"


  • Premium Member

    https://www.animenewsnetwork.com/answerman/2018-05-04/.131193

    The article talks specifically about manga, but the conclusion could also apply to light novels. It's definitely a question I've wondered idly about before, since we're so far removed from the equation.


  • Premium Member

    Yeah, I was asking about this elsewhere, specifically is it a significant amount more / less going to the author if I buy their book stateside vs buying a copy from Bookwalker JP?

    Kind of another unique situation, just bought 5 light novel volumes of Gamers! at 30 JPY each. That is actually a significant amount less than even the best sale prices of a volume of any LN overseas. So I'd assume that isn't going to be a better way of supporting the author than buying those in English would be.


  • Premium Member

    If we're talking physical books, I believe the distributor already pays whatever cost for the book, so the author was already paid when the stock shipped. Assuming every distributor pays the same bulk price for a given book, then it wouldn't really matter where/how you buy it.

    The main exception would be if the publisher also ran distribution, like if Yen Press had their own online storefront. If you bought directly from them, then it could be possible that they'd kick back more money to the license holders/author.

    The 30 yen sale should really only be between you and the seller, since Bookwalker already "bought" the books from the publisher and the sale is to get rid of stock more than the author getting shafted in royalties. I'd say if you're buying it, that's still better than not buying it since it does show that there's still interest in that author's works, just maybe not enough to pay full price for it. That's data for Bookwalker to determine whether to order more copies of that author's next book or not, and "sales at a reduced price" still look better than "no sales even at a reduced price."


  • Premium Member

    People who do the 'Author doesn't get money!' argument won't really listen anyway, sadly. That's just an excuse so they can pirate without guilt.


  • Premium Member

    @dtta I feel no sympathy if those people get coned (wither by "donations" or other things) on some pirate site or get viruses.

    Though if you can only find what you are looking for on a pirate site than I do not have harsh feeling for them. sometimes whatever you want is not available to you legaly.


  • Premium Member

    I thought there was a bit of discussion on here (possibly prompted by Curious Cat posts on Twitter) about whether the proportion of money is different buying premium ePubs direct vs buying from Amazon et al. From memory it was more from the "how does J-Novel come out of it" perspective comparing premium to normal ebooks, rather than directly relating to authors, but it was kind of touching on this topic of what proportions of the sale price go where.


  • Premium Member

    @drone205 said in ANN Answerman: "Does buying English-language releases support the Japanese author?":

    ...

    Are there many old LNs that are translated into English (officially or unofficially), but are literally not being sold in a market in any capacity? That's the scenario maybe you are hinting at Drone, but I don't know that the scenario exists currently. Most new stuff people are looking at is available for purchase / support in some capacity, even for Westerners (Bookwalker JP or Syosetu). These Fan TLrs these days aren't picking stuff that is tough to find; they're picking easily accessible Web Novel versions mostly.

    Saying "there's no legal means for me to support this" is just not true in most cases of new stuff. There's, like, one publisher that has issues (GaGaGa stuff can't be bought on Bookwalker; so like, Tomozaki-Kun would be one major one that if it's being TLd, it's not easy to get stateside).


  • Translators

    I can't speak to other companies, but at least to my calculations, we pay more royalties per sale to Japan on our ebooks than we would if we sold physical.

    Physical books are sold at like 50% the retail price wholesale, so if they are $14 we would only get $7 of that. Plus distribution fees of 30% leaves you exactly where you would be for ebooks, but that doesn't account for the printing cost yet.

    So assuming the author gets the same % of the money left over, they get less per purchase of the physical book than the ebook.
    The simple explanation is that there are less middlemen for the ebooks.

    For absolute numbers, I'd guess an author makes ~$0.10-$0.50 per ebook sale. For print more like $0.05 to $0.25


  • Premium Member

    Pretty much. As I've said other places, I have a lot of sympathy for fan translation communities. I'm totally fine with fan translators translating something that's not legally available in English. I've bought Japanese copies to support the author (DXD, Date a Live, among others). But there are some in the community who are /vehemently/ anti-official translations, and a lot of times (Not always, but a lot) it really does feel like "I want this for free, so I'll make up excuses on why it's totally okay!"


  • Premium Member

    @dtta said in ANN Answerman: "Does buying English-language releases support the Japanese author?":

    and a lot of times (Not always, but a lot) it really does feel like "I want this for free, so I'll make up excuses on why it's totally okay!"

    Case in point: pretty much every loser who makes an account here to accuse JNC of threatening 'poor, defenseless' fan TLers into removing their translations.


  • Premium Member

    @myskaros said in ANN Answerman: "Does buying English-language releases support the Japanese author?":

    @dtta said in ANN Answerman: "Does buying English-language releases support the Japanese author?":

    and a lot of times (Not always, but a lot) it really does feel like "I want this for free, so I'll make up excuses on why it's totally okay!"

    Case in point: pretty much every loser who makes an account here to accuse JNC of threatening 'poor, defenseless' fan TLers into removing their translations.

    Yet two fan TLers have been hired to do their series officially through J-Novel - that's pretty darn fan TL friendly if you ask me! Would the other companies even consider such a thing?


  • Premium Member

    @smashman42 You beat me to that point, so I'll just give a hearty second to it. JNC is definitely far more friendly to the fan translation community than other publishers.


  • Translators

    @paul-nebeling I suppose the more accurate statement is that I am more sympathetic toward the fan translators with talent who do it for the proper purposes (e.g. wanting to improve one's japanese and/or share works that one enjoys).


  • Premium Member

    @sam-pinansky Thank you for clarifying that. Your efforts are greatly appreciated.