A collector's view on Premium Editions

  • Premium Member

    I decided to upgrade to a Premium Membership once I realized that I was actually missing (what I consider to be) lots of extra content. As a collector, I want to have the best version for it to be worth adding to my collection. I would never buy these volumes from Amazon because in my eyes they're neutered versions. They're absolutely worthless to me. I could forgive lower resolution images due to format limitations, but a book missing stories (however short they may be) is absolutely inexcusable.

    On that note, as a collector, I was really happy to see that J-Novel Club is finally releasing physical volumes and was really looking forward to buying them. But when I found out that Premium Editions of what is sold on Amazon actually exist, I just had to ask... Are those physical volumes based on the Premium Editions, or are they the same as the standard Amazon release? If they're the physical version of the Premium Editions then I'll absolutely buy them. But if they're just the same as the standard Amazon edition then they're utterly worthless to me. It's absolutely pointless to collect a cut-down version of something, in my opinion. I'd rather pay more to print my own Premium Edition copy and add that to my collection than buy the stripped-down version.

    As you can see (read?), I'm pretty serious about my collections. They're sacred to me. Sometimes I wonder if I have more fun curating and collecting stuff than actually experiencing them. But that's just my hobby I guess.

    Some questions I have before upgrading to a Premium Membership:

    1. I want to keep my billing date the same (1st of every month). Is the only option to upgrade on the same day?
    2. Does absolutely every released volume on J-Novel Club have a Premium Edition? I found this: https://forums.j-novel.club/topic/305/premium-e-book-bonus-contents-list but I don't have the patience to compare. I just want to know if it's J-Novel Club's policy to have a Premium Edition of every volume they release.
    3. Continuing from the #2, is it posible to buy the regular editions on J-Novel Club with the credits? I'm not asking because I wanna buy them, I just wanna make doubly sure that I don't accidentally buy them. So I'll be happy if the answer is "There are no regular editions here". Wouldn't want to waste a credit on those.
    4. As an aside, can a non-member purchase credits? Truth be told, I'd rather forget about a series and buy the complete volume when it comes out to binge them right away than wait a painful week for a "short" part of the story that ends in a cliffhanger. And if I do need a membership then I'd have to read them weekly anyway since it'd feel like a waste of money otherwise (also, waiting for the complete volume when you have access to the pre-pubs feels wrong somehow).

  • Premium Member

    A premium membership is not required to buy the premium epubs. Regular subscribers can do that. All a premium membership gets you is a bundled set of credits (one per month) and a one dollar discount on credits.

    J-Novel club only sells premium epubs directly. Every book has a premium epub, and there are no "regular" epubs sold directly by J-Novel Club.

    A subscription is required to purchase credits, and is officially required to spend credits, though there are workarounds for non-subscribers to use up any remaining credits they purchased while they were subscribers.

  • Premium Member

    @guspaz No, I know that you can buy credits with a normal Membership. I'm upgrading exactly because the result is the same as if I was a normal Member that bought credits. This just seems more cost-efficient, I guess.

    Thanks for confirming the nonexistence of the inferior version on this site (that sounded somewhat racist...).

    Sad that I can't forgo the membership entirely, though... I guess I'll be stuck with you guys, suffering the weekly wait. :D

  • Premium Member

    @alexchaplinskikh said in A collector's view on Premium Editions:

    (also, waiting for the complete volume when you have access to the pre-pubs feels wrong somehow).

    That's what I do, wait for the final part then read the whole thing. Most of the time. I get impatient sometimes though :P.

    I do kinda feel bad, as then I end up not buying as many books from JNC that I would otherwise. I try to make sure I still purchase premiums, particularly for series I really like.

  • Premium Member

    As for physicals, there is this answer from Sam in CuriousCat:

    When you release print editions, will the premium bonuses be included?

    I have decided that they will not be included in the print editions by default, but I will negotiate with some retailers to get bonuses included as pack ins (like Japan!). The premium edition bonus will stay exclusive to the premium epubs for us.

    My understanding is that some of Seven Seas releases may have them though.

  • Premium Member

    @alexchaplinskikh You can purchase like 50 (?) premium credits and let your subscription expire. Once a new volume is out you can either use a direct url to redeem the premium credit/ebook, or you can also send an email to support/Sam and he'll add the premium ebook to your library exchanging it with a credit manually.

    The best way would be to be able to redeem credits directly if we still have them, but it's gonna require some backend work. (We just have to wait until Sam gets around to code it I guess.)

  • Premium Member

    @crimson-wise Wow... That sounds even worse than I thought... I guess I'm not buying the printed books for sure now. The wording is a bit weird, but if I understand it correctly those physical editions may have bonus content different from any other editions. I really hope this doesn't turn into the retail exclusive bullshit that the gaming industry has...

  • Premium Member

    @terabyte Yeah, I thought about that method, but I really hate troubling people for no real reason. I may reconsider if they rework the system to allow non-members to spend their credits themselves, but I absolutely don't want to have to contact support every time I want to get a book. So I guess the Premium Membership is still the optimum way.

  • Note: answers below are mostly based on experience, it's not like something seemingly impossible is totaly impossible and some things may change for one reason or other (i don't recall any sudden changes to such things in past year, though, so it's kinda stable)

    1. The only way to be billed on 1st is to get subscribed or upgraded on 1st. The billing day will stay the same so some months are a bit more expensive (per day) than others.
    2. They always add premium content for premium ebooks and probably intend to keep doing that. So far extras can be categorized as: preexisting extras JNC managed to license (mostly store-exclusive bonuses), JNC-produced extras (interviews, translator' notes/rants etc.) and textless images. Until like a month ago textless images was kind of a fallback option when they didn't have anything other to include but that's no longer the case because some publisher didn't like that.
    3. There's only one version of ebook you can get here and unless JNC staff totally runs out of ideas for premium content it will be superior to other stores' content-wise.
    4. Non-members can't buy credits and that's kind of intentional to make people try the sub. UI doesn't let non-members to use existing credits, but that's not intentional and might be fixed eventually, until then using certain urls or api calls or mailing support is can get it done.

    @terabyte said in A collector's view on Premium Editions:

    The best way would be to be able to redeem credits directly if we still have them, but it's gonna require some backend work

    Seems like a 100% frontend thing to me.

  • Premium Member

    @alexchaplinskikh said in A collector's view on Premium Editions:

    @crimson-wise Wow... That sounds even worse than I thought... I guess I'm not buying the printed books for sure now. The wording is a bit weird, but if I understand it correctly those physical editions may have bonus content different from any other editions. I really hope this doesn't turn into the retail exclusive bullshit that the gaming industry has...

    Yea he said 'like Japan' and it is almost exactly like what you are thinking, it seems collectors in Japan have to buy the same individual novels, sometimes 5+ times to get the the extra content we get with a single premium epub.

  • Premium Member

    @_08 He'd still need to add some checks to show the redeem link if the subscription is expired but the user has premium credits, and probably more. Dunno how it works.


    @alexchaplinskikh Yeah, which is why I mentioned the direct url option. Just mentioning all options so you're aware, read below for more details.

    The user @Aruseus493 maintains the releases page on /r/LightNovels/. Let's take this page as example: https://www.reddit.com/r/LightNovels/wiki/upcomingreleases

    1. Look for example under the July table at the top of that page, you'll see the entry for In Another World With My Smartphone V9 with a linked discussion thread [DISC] in the last column.
    2. Clicking it will bring you to this other page: https://www.reddit.com/comments/90ceuq
    3. In the new page that opens you'll see a link Premium Credit Redemption. That's the direct link I mentioned that allows you to redeem the premium credits even if your subscription is expired:

    As you can see from the link above, it is quite easy to manually craft them too as long as you know the LN's name and volume you want.

  • Premium Member

    @terabyte Ah, sorry. I actually had a response to the direct link method but forgot to write it. :P

    I prefer not to rely on a workaround existing for a long time. Don't put all of your eggs in one basket and all that. If the workaround stops working around a problem that hasn't been fixed then you're either screwed, have to contact support or have to get a membership anyway.

    Since I plan to buy the Premium Editions either way, it's not that troublesome to get a subscription. The reason I wanted to know if it was possible to buy them being a non-member was to physically be unable to read the weekly releases, thus saving me the weekly waiting pain. But if the alternative is more difficult that pressing a single button then it's not worthwhile for me (I also really don't like Reddit so I try to stay away as much as possible lest I start procrastinating again).

  • Premium Member

    @khaos And then they wonder why their stuff gets pirated... Maybe they'd see better numbers if they made it easier to actually acquire the stuff... Exclusives are literal poison.

  • Premium Member

    I was thinking why Sam decided (do note the use of "I have decided" instead of "I'm not allowed" or something similar) to not use the Premium Edition but I can only come to the conclusion that it was a business decision. One made as a company with profit in mind.

    And I do understand it. They (the company, be it Sam himself or everyone related) want to drive traffic to their site and make the customers spend money on it rather than some external store. I get that. But the reason this doesn't make sense for physical releases is that the paperback copy is already pretty much a premium item that most people will only buy for the sake of adding it to their collection.

    When compared to an eBook, it's bulky, it costs twice as much, it can be damaged irreparably, it's hard to take around with you, it takes real world IKEA shelf space, et cetera (feel free to bring up more negatives). The only real reason to buy a printed edition when there's an eBook edition is to add it to your physical library. But knowing that the printed version is missing content that is present in another eBook version completely devalues the printed version in my eyes.

    I'll swear now that I'll never buy these physical editions with missing content. If the printed versions were actually the complete versions then I wouldn't even mind paying four times the price of the eBook version. But as it stands they're completely worthless. What a sad situation. I was really looking forward to the printed versions specifically to add them to my library because physical things are more fun to collect. You can't download them. Just due to that fact they're more special in this digital world we live in.

  • Premium Member

    Just as a side note, J-Novel Club should really work on actually promoting the Premium Editions if they want that to be the reason for people to subscribe. Back in April when I was getting my subscription I understood the Premium Membership as a sort of "one free eBook a month" kind of deal but didn't understand what's so "Premium" about the eBook itself so I went with just a normal membership because I wanted to continue reading Realist Hero (Naden made me do it).

    I know that I was probably not paying too much attention at the time, but a well designed website would bring my attention to it. The only reason I even noticed that Premium Editions exist a few days ago is that someone started posting the titles of the "store exclusive short stories" in the forums of the completed volumes.

    I got pissed that there was more content that wasn't available to us and was in some store that wasn't even linked to us. I tried searching around but didn't find it in any actual stores and only found it accidentally after reading the subscriptions page in more detail. After that I read the FAQ more carefully and most of my questions were resolved, but this really should be more clear. It took me literally six month to notice their existence. Am I just that clueless or does this happen to other people as well?

    We may never know since those who didn't notice probably don't even visit the forums either. I reckon most people (me included) don't really visit the forums much. They probably use other places like Twitter but I personally only really visit the main website.

    And let me tell you, that horizontal scrolling panel on the main page is almost always out of date and doesn't even show all the new series. The monthly catch-up post always lacks the actual links to the series so you have to go to the Titles page and either go through all the pages to find it or manually type part of the name of the series that you may have forgotten already. There're just many things about the design of the site that I don't like...

    I also tried the Android app once around April but it was garbage. May have improved nowadays, no clue. I prefer reading it on my desktop with my own tweaks anyway (link in the signature) that get rid of the subpar reader they have which doesn't work on for a landscape screen at all.

    I've complained a lot and I don't even feel like I'm nitpicking because some of the problems are really that bad and I could keep going. Something I'll praise is the forum, which is one of the best I've used. I guess I'm just frustrated due to how it could be so much better.

  • Staff

    There are numerous topics in the Support forum discussing discontent with or recommendations for the website and the app. JNC simply gambled on "people care more about us getting more/better translated LNs, so we'll throw a web presence together and worry about it later." It is now later, and Sam is beginning to revisit these topics more earnestly.

  • Premium Member

    @myskaros I hope he does. This whole website feels unfinished and primarily made for smartphones. The way the pages are loaded and constructed just drives me nuts... But I still think that focusing on content rather than prettifying what little there was at the time was a good choice.

    But it has already been two years since founding. Not to mention that content and design aren't mutually exclusive. They just need to hire a proper web designer to rework the site. I would offer myself for the job if I had more experience. Though I still feel like whatever I can make would be better than what they have now.

  • Staff

    @alexchaplinskikh I think he did it himself, and yet again, decided it would make more sense to put any money that would be used to hire a web designer to just license more novels/translators/editors :v

    But yeah, I agree with you about how poor the website is. I actually posted about it a year ago!

  • Premium Member

    @myskaros Damn, this just makes me sad... Do you think he'd grant me access to their data for me to build an alternative front-end for free as a side project? I think that even if it takes me half a year it'd still go live earlier than him actually hiring someone. :D

  • Staff

    @alexchaplinskikh Send him an e-mail, see where it goes /shrug. Worst that could happen is he says "no."


    I wouldn't be surprised if someone was already working on something though, it just might not be a high priority at the moment.

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