[Suggestion] Novel Pricing

  • So I honestly haven't really used this site much, but I've read quite a few LN/WN and am interested in many titles offered by J-Novel Club. However, every time the PRICING turns me away.

    Generally: 1 VOL. = $7 USD = $10 AUD (for me)
    Honestly, that isn't much for me but based on overall value and the targeted audience that's pretty high.

    • Audience wise, these novels are aimed at Teens/Young Adults both of which won't fork out the cash for this. And if they do, it would most likely be limited to 1-2 series MAX.
    • Overall value, generally a solid paperback copy for me for a LN is $16 AUD which might be slightly more but I would prefer it as I'm actually getting some substance for the cash spent instead of a file that's fixed to a single reading platform.
    • Membership (monthly @ $4.95), honestly this is a good idea and has the best value for me but I feel that it's inefficient compared to just lowering the single VOL prices. I would probably just purchase one month, binge read every novel I want then wait a year before repeating.

    So overall, I believe those prices should either be lowered (best) or some kind of discount/sales period (would be better but i don't think it would change much)

  • Premium Member

    Uh, all the Yen Press books are like AU$11-ish and most of J-NC ones on Amazon are AU$10-ish, so already one of the cheaper translation outfits.

    Then you look at the premium ebooks here, you're paying the same money as through Amazon but for no DRM and exclusive extras - why wouldn't you? None of that tied to an exclusive platform stuff you were talking about. There's the value of the physical books but cheaper and less storage probs. If you really buy that much, go premium membership so they are US$6 each instead of US$7.

    Edit: basically the problem is the "Australia Tax", if you're a kid google it, we've been getting ripped off since forever

  • @smashman42

    Regarding the reading platform, if I purchased a novel from say Amazon, would I have to use Kindle permanently or would I be able to use other E-readers? (I feel like i've done this once before and it didn't work so i never touched it again, so just asking to confirm)

  • Premium Member

    @kyen01001 Amazon is Kindle (or Kindle app) only, iBooks is Apple only etc - DRM is the crap that stops you changing platforms.

    The premium books direct from J-Novel's website are DRM free, so you can convert them to different formats and use them on a Kindle, on an iPad, on an Android tablet, on a PC etc.

    Plus they have exclusive extras the locked down ones don't have, some series have extra short stories that were store exclusives in Japan or posters or interviews, etc.

    It is a bit of a once you know about it, you're like "why isn't everyone buying them here then?". Cause hardly any people know about it I guess?

  • Premium Member

    For the premium contents you get only by purchasing the epubs here you can have a look at this topic which lists them all in the first post: https://forums.j-novel.club/topic/305/premium-e-book-bonus-contents-list?page=1

    About your membership point, you won't be able to wait a year and repeat. The membership allows you to read only parts of the current volume being translated. The parts for volumes already published as full ebooks are taken down the 15th of the following month. So to read those you'd have to still purchase the ebook, unless the series is on catchup for that month and all parts are available to those with a membership.

  • Premium Member

    Honestly, the premium membership pays for itself if you get like 2 ebooks a month (for a total of 3 with the monthly credit) because books are then 6 USD, which is substancially cheaper than YenPress. And keep in mind that no drm means you actually OWN the books and will be able to use them indefinitely.
    With DRM-books you are dependent on all the closed source software that is controlled by only one company being maintained, available for your platform and be compatible with your ereader. The latter of which is effectively a lock-in. The former causing you to lose the ability to read your ebooks eventually unless you go the legally questionable route of removing the DRM.

    On top of that you get high resolution illustrations and bonus content in the premium ebooks. To me, this is a great deal no matter how you look at it. One good enough that I already forked over like 600USD or so since last october.

  • Premium Member

    Keeping in mind that LNs are a niche market, $7 USD is a very reasonable price. Paperback copies of LNs MSRP at $14-15 USD (based on Seven Seas, who does J-Novel's printed stuff), so you're already saving half off by buying digital. Keep in mind you're paying for the content, both the original story and the localization - I can't imagine it'd be fair to say the stories are literally worth less than the paper they are printed on!

    The whole DRM issue is sucky, but lets face it, not hard to bypass with a little googling. Plus with a membership here you can get the premium EPUBs which are DRM free and have bonus stuff to boot.

  • Premium Member

    for me as a Canadien, I would be paying about 9CAD for the 7USD and under 8CAD for 6USD. I think for E-books they may be expensive but you also need to look at the work that goes into translating the book. The Translators and ppl working for JNC need to eat, so I do not really see that much wrong with the pricing.

  • Not saying that Sam, Aimee, or any of the translators do not deserve their fair share, but remember that j-novel is a secondary publisher. They do not have IP of their own, they license it from the various publishers that take their cut. If anything, this group works for less than the normal US publishing rates, because they have to pay some royalties back to the owner of the original IP.

    In the Publishers Weekly sense, I kind of see this company as a genre mid-lister company. It is not expected that single volume of a title is going to sell more 25,000 copies within a week (one definition of what a bestseller is). This company relies on a fairly passionate audience that is willing to buy at risk (as in buy from authors that they have never heard of) and reliably follow series over time (which because most of these light novels are not standalone, is asking a lot out of the audience). This is already a challenging niche to work in as a primary IP publisher, but the royalties are not strictly held by j-novel, again, some other publisher gets paid as well.

    I've actually been on the side though that the price could be moved to $10 US myself in line with the standard ebook cost, but that's j-novel's business strategy to offer for less in order to find more of an audience. I do think that this company lives and dies by those fan and intentional sales rather than some casual summer read purchaser.

  • Premium Member

    A thought comes to mind about pricing. The price to consumers is "Cost of doing business"+"regulatory expenses (aka taxes)"+profit. Cost of doing business includes royalty and licensing expenses, wages for translators and editors, and other business expenses. Depending on the business organization (incorporated or sole proprietorship) the profits may or may not include paying owner of the company.

    Regardless of that, an arbitrary increase in price is generally seem as attempting to increase profits, when the truth could be increased costs of doing business. I have no basis for this, but I suspect that licensing a Kadokawa title may cost a bit more than other publishers. That would either entail an across the board price increase (credited cost more) or abandoning the single price model (which costs more to implement). A price increase could also be driven by needing to pay translators and editors more, though that means more towards an across the board price increase.

    Truthfully, I don't know which I would rather see.

  • Premium Member

    Believe it or not. The prices of some of the series here for Premium ePubs are also cheaper than the original Japanese ebook versions as well lol... :p

  • Member

    I agree, I don't know how they are running this business but I would recommend them running ads to lower costs. To someone who isn't a frequent reader the $4.95 membership doesn't make sense to me as most of the first few volumes from this site isn't accessible which is a turn off for anyone who is new on the site or are unfamiliar with the pricing of Japanese novels.

    I did not know until today that Japanese novels were so expensive (around $10). Personally for someone who reads them to kill time and not think about anything like me, this is just weird. I mean Harry Potter which is quite renown costs less than $10 (amazon, paper back) and the content inside is quite significantly larger (in terms of word count/ content). The only explanation I could think of for this phenomenon is that Japanese Novels, especially new ones don't get much attention and usually doesn't sell.

    Now I don't criticize the push to license novels in an effort to expand market, but charging something for more than its real value does not sell. If you want to digitalize and promote something, sell them cheap, don't be afraid to lower the market, the market takes and it gives. If the promotion works, you are probably gonna make a lot more than just increasing its cost and what you makes can then be given back to the writers, how ever much that is that they want.

  • Translators

    @mianli I did consider offering an option where people could read for free as long as they allow their browser to mine cryptocurrency for me at the same time, but I did the math and it just doesn't work value-wise.

  • Member

    @sam-pinansky Not crypto but just pure simple ads. Track trafict through your site and sell it to ads companies, It's really is free money

  • Member


    Let's say that licensing cost for each volume is 3k USD (it is probably a lot higher) and localization cost is around 3k USD as well. J-NC's books cost 7 USD on Amazon and Amazon takes a third of that I believe. So they would have to sell 6000 / (7x0.67) = 1500 copies to just break even. If you however reduce the price by 50% you would have to sell 3000 copies to break even. But here is the thing. Reducing the price by 50% doesn't double the sales at all.

    My calculations also show that quite a few of the series J-Novel Club has haven't even broken even. It would be a death sentence to the company to decrease the price.

  • Member

    @sam-pinansky People who reads on and off like me don't really mind paying for memebership, but we are I think your most important customers for this site to advance in the future. So what I suggest is agree on a minimum price and don't divide members and premium members (like Netflix does). You could use opportunities to better promote other novels, better yet, try to promote the writers and then sell the readers back to the writers.

  • Translators

    @mianli Well there isn't actually any division between member and premium members: both can read the same content at the same time. Premium members is like "normal membership + discount ebook credits". It's more of a bundle than a "better membership".

  • Member

    @hak0 I agree that times are hard and selling novels is really hard, but that is not an excuse to raise something above its true value. Such a system will sustain a product but it will never thrive and usually dies out quickly. A good solution is to find alternative, explore the main issues, not give excuses to raise price because the market demands it

  • Member

    @sam-pinansky If that is truly so then the idea of a premium membership is weird, why not establish a credit system, or a discount system instead?

  • Member

    @sam-pinansky I mean it would be great if you monitor trafict on specifict novels, total the number of people who read and buy it and sell that number back to the writers or licensing companies. Acts as a promoter and sell your service to them, demand some kind of funding. Use that funding to improve your page, crypto is dead now anyway.

    I think what I really want to say is that spending money on membership and still having to buy expensive volumes on Amazon is not a good marketing scheme to target people like me. Trafict and cost efficientcy aside, it doesn't attract new potential reader to the genre and with the massive increase in licensing going on, I don't see a future for Japanese novels.

    A product without a good promotion scheme doesn't last very long no matter how good an idea it is. This type of low priced simple product only really survive with support from new people who are attracted by marketing schemes. If your wish is to pioneer a way to promote Japanese Novels then I suggest choosing a different route of doing this.

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