Value of Memberships


  • Premium Member

    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.



  • @Aruseus493 said in 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.


  • Translators

    @Aruseus493
    Let me try and answer some of your questions:

    1. 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.

    2. 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.



  • @Sam-Pinansky
    Regarding the image resolution. How large of image sizes are we talking for the premium eBooks? I understand that Amazon can be very restrictive about image sizes especially with the delivery charge per megabyte. However I believe that other stores like Kobo or Google Play Books or iBooks are less so, with LNs purchased from those sources the image resolutions are usually up to 1400 pixels in width which is much better than Kindle versions, and also saved at a much higher quality level.


  • Translators

    @Catscope We'll be working that out over the next month or two are we finalize the ebook production process. Materials we get from Japan are not always the same quality either, so it's hard to make a blanket statement. Generally we want to keep our retail ebooks all about the same "quality", and have the premium ebooks be 50% higher resolution or better.


  • Premium Member

    @invalidname I agree that is "old people with money" should help out. I like to support anime crowdfunding for the same reason.


  • Translators

    @the-green-death Young people with money are OK too!



  • So I've looked for some of the books on Itunes, but there's nothing there yet. When will that be happening? I'm interested in 3 of your titles so far, but I'm the kind of guy who would want to be able to read the whole book rather than just tibits.


  • Translators

    @hui43210 We'll be uploading preorders listings on other sites shortly. iBooks is on the list!



  • @Sam-Pinansky Awesome


  • Premium Member

    giving this topic a bump because of Cyber Monday, recent Kickstarter success and some comments I saw on other threads about not understanding the benefits of membership, or the ins-and-outs of what membership is. So for anyone on the fence here is my summary of the Benefits of Membership:

    • Access to 'pre-pubs': Pre-pubs are the parts of LNs/Manga that are currently being translated. There may be some roughness around the edges and comments from the community to the editors/translators is welcomed. Once a volume is complete/translated/published (i.e. for sale on Amazon/Kobo/whatever) access to pre-pub is closed. I enjoy the serial/installment nature of pre-pubs as I can follow my favorites and always have something 'fresh' in my reading list.

    • Access to 'members only' forums: some forum topics are restricted to members only, so if you'd like to discuss those, you need a membership to participate. In general I enjoy contributing to the forums and conversing with other readers about stories, speculating about developments etc. Some folks like to contribute to the editing/translationg process as well by contributing to forums and giving feedback to editors/translators..as the work is in progress.

    • Supporting the LN/Manga industry/fandom: If you are a weeb like me or an aficionado of Japanese light novels/manga/anime etc. and you'd like to see content continue to be available to the English speaking audience, the industry needs support. This isn't PBS and JNC isn't a charity (nor are the Japanese companies/artists/authors who originally created the works) You can't pledge or send a donation etc. If you want the industry to thrive, you need to buy stuff. Either licensed works from a legitimate outlet of your choice, or via a membership in JNC. I'm not going to get on my soap box about fan translations - that's a different topic.

    • Premium Credits/ Premium E-books/ Premium content: If you have a premium membership, it comes with a monthly premium credit which can be redeemed for one e-book. The credits don't expire so you don't have to use them the month you get them. The premium edition ebooks are drm free, can be exported to reader of your choice, and contain extra content - either short stories and/or illustrations or other content (translator notes? interview w/ author? ) Credits can also be purchased for less than you can generally buy a e-book for via Amazon/kobo/ whatever (and sometimes even go on sale!) So if you are behind in a translation you can use credits to get previous volumes (or if you just want them in you collection- it is the least expensive way to get e-books!)

    • Catch up volumes: every month a few titles are on 'catch up' all the published volumes are free to read on the app or website (but not as ebooks for free) so if your favorite is on volume 8 or whatever and you don't want to/can't spend the $$ on 7 e-books, you can binge read during the catch up month.

    the value ($$) of these benefits vary from person to person. For me, I'd rather endure commercials during my anime viewing and use the free version of Crunchyroll than give up my JNC membership (Basic membership and Crunchyroll cost about the same) Premium membership cost = Basic membership + 12 credits - a no brainer for me



  • Thanks for the "bump" and the summary of benefits, Jon.

    I am pondering for quite a while now whether I should go premium or not, after I noticed that many of the light novels I bought via amazon are published by J-Novel Club.

    So I like to say, this kind of insight is valuable and eventually helpful for my decision making.
    (So far I am only reluctant due the limited payment method - since it is rather rare to have an active credit card in Germany)

    I would even suggest, such testimony of yours and other members might do well as part of the JNC homepage's frontpage. While having a list of benefits already there, it is still something different if a fellow customer provides such insight.


  • Premium Member

    @serah

    is this a thing/ available/ easy / cheap in Germany? (Or similar)

    pretty sure any Visa/MC/Discover/JCB/Amex works

    of course if it is worth the cost/hassle is a personal decision. I'd say if you buy e-books from amazon, a membership 'pays for itself' in savings (I don't feel compelled to purchase every ebook I read in pre-pubs, so the cost of ebooks I don't have to buy is greater than my membership cost)



  • @jon-mitchell thanks for the hint. The answer is

    yes and no. On the one hand that service is available in Germany. On the other hand the acquisition - as in obtaining such a prepaid card - is almost impossible. That is mainly due the very strict anti-money-laundry-laws and privacy policies. Practically no shop offers prepaid cards unless they are hardly legal and coming with horrible and questionable fees.

    Technically I would have to apply with a proper bank to obtain a credit card - and for only one use it is not cheap (there are no real free credit cards over here - they all come with an annual cost or hidden fees since credit card usage over here are costly for customers and merchants).

    As far as it concerns me, the cost-benefit factor is clear. While ebooks via membership are not cheaper or more expensive compared to amazon pricing (sales excluded), the biggest benefit I see are the prepubs. That is, since I would buy the ebooks anyroads, despite having them read as prepub before - so I can reread them at whole anytime.


  • Premium Member

    @serah
    ok that's kinda stinky

    only other thing that I can think of is leaning on a buddy in a different country to buy membership for you and then reimburse them via paypal - or put a membership on your "list to Santa"


  • Premium Member

    it's official: the number of pre-pubs currently available (that I want to read) exceeds my free-time available to read them all. JNC is now producing more that I have the time to consume - I guess I'll be doing lots of catch-up this weekend

    I'll add a caveat to my previous post regarding value: to get the most out of pre-pubs, you need to catch a series early, and keep up (or be prepared to burn some credits on back issues) - with the boat-load of releases after anime NYC convention, my reading cue is over-full



  • @jon-mitchell said in Value of Memberships:

    cue

    Queue.


  • Premium Member

    Somehow I really now feel part of the community, now that my spelling is being corrected


  • Premium Member

    @jon-mitchell Your spelling was fine - the word selection... Not so much. :)

    Unless you were referring to a hollow pool cue that was leaking from over-pressure. Then it might be a pool spew.


  • Premium Member

    You can also start into a series late if it's only just passing where the anime ends. It's not the most ideal situation, but it generally gives you enough ground level info not to be completely lost until you wait for the series to come around on catch up to get all the story the anime cut out to make things fit.

    Personally I feel like I'm getting great value from my membership and I'm only following 13 series and 8 manga.