Is it better for companies to only go after completed LNs?



  • stop picking up novels which is not complete
    ignore them.


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    @purplishviolet So, what, like just Banner of the Stars and Full Metal Panic? Seems a bit limiting... I guess if you add ones with complete WN drafts there's Bookworm and Arifureta that I know of.


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    @Gamen Banner is not completed yet. Vol.6 is pretty much the start of new arc.


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    @purplishviolet said in April 2020 announcements!:

    stop picking up novels which is not complete
    ignore them.

    While I can understand that viewpoint, the reality of the matter is that if enough people do that, then no light novels will be licensed. And if enough Japanese people do that, then light novel series in general will end up being canceled and then never greenlit at all.

    So, buy whatever it is you feel like buying, but a decent number of people will have to buy series as they come out with no end of the series in sight, or the series will just get canceled, because they aren't selling well enough. And encouraging people to not buy any series unless they're finished definitely won't help you get completed series.


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    @Wellwisher Honestly it completely slipped my mind that Morioka had written any more of it in the last 15 years...
    Oh, and The Twelve Kingdoms had a new novel just last October. ...Slayers is still going. I suppose the author for Irresponsible Captain Tylor isn't dead yet so that could always get another novel. Not that that stopped Guin Saga. Or Zero no Tsukaima. Or Hatena Illusion.. or...
    Technically I suppose A Certain Magical Index and High School DxD are completed but that's basically for business reasons since they have "sequel series" that are a direct continuation...
    Uhh...
    What is this completed anyway? Is it edible?


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    @Kalessin said in April 2020 announcements!:

    While I can understand that viewpoint, the reality of the matter is that if enough people do that, then no light novels will be licensed. And if enough Japanese people do that, then light novel series in general will end up being canceled and then never greenlit at all.

    What's the ratio of completed novels vs incomplete/hiatus/cancelled, in Japan? Dare a guess?

    I somehow suspect if only completed(as in, has a real ending) novels were picked up at the current rate by western publishers, stuff to license might dry up...


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    @Korppi said in April 2020 announcements!:

    What's the ratio of completed novels vs incomplete/hiatus/cancelled, in Japan? Dare a guess?
    I somehow suspect if only completed(as in, has a real ending) novels were picked up at the current rate by western publishers, stuff to license might dry up...

    I don't know. Certainly, an annoyingly large number of series never get completed, but there are also plenty that do get completed. However, the light novel format does kind of encourage writers to keep on writing a series until they feel like ending it rather them planning out a full story from the get-go like you'd more typically expect from US novels (if anything, light novels are more like US TV shows in that way). And going about writing stories that way makes it way more likely that a series won't ever reach completion. It can also hurt their quality sometimes, but that's a separate issue (at least so long as it doesn't lead to cancellation).

    Either way, licensing completed series would mean licensing older series almost exclusively (especially if you didn't want series that were really short) which would likely change the licensing situation quite a bit. However, assuming that the licenses were available and cheap enough (and that translating them was profitable enough), I expect that there are plenty of completed series to go around at the moment - especially since almost no light novels were published in the US until about ten years ago, and a relatively small number of the series released in Japan since then have been published in the US. So, publishing only completed series is probably a strategy that a publisher could use, but unless all of the US LN publishers were doing that, they'd lose out on any of the more popular series that are currently being published in Japan and thus would likely make less money. They'd also lose out on any of the marketing and word of mouth that comes with licensing a series that's newer in Japan and/or has a recent anime adaption. And realistically, it could very well be much harder and much more expensive to license older series - even more so in those cases where the writer has actually passed away.

    Honestly, while I can definitely see a LN publisher seeking out completed series as part of their business strategy, I have a hard time believing that focusing on that would be a good idea. And that's really not how novels in general are published or sold anyway. They're written and published one at a time, and that's what most readers are going to expect. If anything, the pace at which light novels get published is kind of insane (though obviously, the fact that they're usually quite short helps with that). And I wouldn't expect your typical reader of US novels to say that they weren't going to buy any books in a series until it was completed. So, unless your average light novel reader is drastically different from your average reader, focusing on only completed series just sounds like a way to restrict your options and hurt your business. You license whatever you think will likely sell well enough and which you can get cheaply enough to make taking the risk make sense, with a focus on more popular (and thus less risky) series where you can get the license at an affordable enough price. The availability, cost, and popularity of a license are all bound to matter far more than whether the series has been completed or not. And realistically, you can still make a lot of money off of a series that later gets canceled (much as you'd prefer for it to be completed rather than canceled).


  • Staff

    Separated the side conversation into its own topic.

    Let’s all remember to keep everything civil, everyone has their own opinions on these types of topics.


  • Premium Member

    While picking up only completed LNs would be limiting, I also would like for LNs obviously dropped or with an incomplete story to not be picked up. Case in point would be Me, a Genius? (volume 4 was never published) or Beast Head (a "complete series" which leaves the story totally up in the air at the end of volume 2 without resolving any of the main plot points).

    Or even the recent Deathbound Duke's Daughter: I decided to not read it for now since it has only 2 volumes published in 2107 without any further update while the WN keeps getting updated.


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    @Terabyte said in Is it better for companies to only go after completed LNs?:

    While picking up only completed LNs would be limiting, I also would like for LNs obviously dropped or with an incomplete story to not be picked up.

    I mostly agree, but personally, in cases where there was an anime adaptation that I saw, I'd still like to get whatever was published. Kaze no Stigma and Aesthetica of a Rogue Hero are two examples of that which come to mind (in the case of the former, the author passed away, and in the case of the latter, the author has just never finished it for some reason). But yeah, if I haven't already gotten part of the story elsewhere, I'm not going to start a series that I know is going nowhere.


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    Although it feels a bit painful to buy series, that will never get completed, I don't want to miss on them. At least, I am able to read a few volumes this way and it's not like the japanese people have it any better. Sure, they can continue reading the web novel version (if it gets continued, that is), but since I'm not really interested in the web novel version of any light novel, it doesn't bother me that much.
    I'm happy, that we get the chance to read such novels, for example, even though I know it's an unfinished series and I don't know if the light novel version ever gets completed, I'm really, really glad, that I started reading Deathbound Duke's Daughter yesterday (my time zone). I really would have missed something otherwise. Although, what I don't know won't hurt me.xD


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    Although I find it immensely frustrating to get into a series and for it "end" without a story resolution, I cannot advocate never taking a chance on a series that isn't "over". I mean none of the series that are ongoing? Or caught up to Japan? No LDM or IS or Ms. Elf? Because they aren't over?

    Now if I were up voting a suggestion, something that's been on hatus for multiple years I might have a hard time supporting (gear drive)


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    Series that are complete could be considered the "safe" option.

    I personally think that it comes don to a risk vs. reward situation. Taking the safe option may entail less risk, but how many readers are going to be satisfied with just completed works, especially if they have some sort of real-world time correlation?


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    @Kalessin said in Is it better for companies to only go after completed LNs?:

    Either way, licensing completed series would mean licensing older series almost exclusively

    Just want to emphasize this: Only licensing completed series means not licensing anything contemporary. And my impression is that series that were completed at the time of licensing don't make up a significant fraction of any of the major publisher's lineups; it seems like it's almost all ongoing series; it actually felt odd to see Banner of the Stars and Full Metal Panic licensed.

    Point is, only licensing completed series is completely at odds with the status quo.

    Flipside, I can definitely see an argument for not licensing clearly stalled and unfinished series... But as long as they make up such a small fraction of licenses why worry?

    I am curious as to the reasoning behind licensing Deathbound Duke's Daughter. Are the volumes somewhat self-contained or something such as with Potion Loli or Goblin Slayer so that it is not a big deal if it is never continued? Or to put it another way do the published books as they are stand on their own?


  • Staff

    @piisfun said in Is it better for companies to only go after completed LNs?:

    Series that are complete could be considered the "safe" option.

    "Safe for readers" is not always "safe for profit." None of the top-selling JNC series are complete, they're all ongoing with anime adaptations and current discussion both in Japan and outside Japan. The initial statement of "stop licensing stuff that isn't complete" would mean JNC would have gotten none of those series, meaning we probably wouldn't be making enough money to license more series, certainly not at the rate we have been.

    Also consider:

    • Licenses for new series aren't done over a weekend, sometimes they're in talks for months or years before the readers first get to see it.
    • Business isn't so straightforward that all public actions are taken solely for the sake of customer satisfaction.
    • Sam obviously is aware of the release dates for existing novels. He decided to go forward with the license for Erika Aurelia anyway. Extrapolate as needed.

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    @myskaros That is a lot better phrased version of what I was trying to say, but wasn't sure how to phrase.


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    @myskaros said in Is it better for companies to only go after completed LNs?:

    Business isn't so straightforward that all public actions are taken solely for the sake of customer satisfaction.

    Though from how I look at it is still is generally based on satisfying the customer: The customer's demand for contemporary works they might have seen the anime of recently, or its comicalization, or the announcement of it being made into an anime, or read the amateur translation of it, and so on, without taking much consideration into how they'll feel about it ending abruptly or stalling entirely... and most blame there can be shifted over to the author anyway :P

    (Not to mention that licensing ongoing titles usually means suppressing unlicensed translations before they are completed and start losing fans to new titles :P)


  • Staff

    @Gamen Yes, but you can't only look at the amount of potential customer satisfaction generated from a single license in a vacuum and ignore other factors in play. Getting good deals and building relationships with Japanese publishers is just as important, as is making sure your company doesn't, you know, go under. None of those things are in the public eye, but they're just as important as getting good licenses.


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    @myskaros said in Is it better for companies to only go after completed LNs?:

    None of those things are in the public eye, but they're just as important as getting good licenses.

    They can also help lead to getting good licenses. I fully expect that given that JNC now has a history and some level of success, Sam has an easier time getting licenses than when he started (and he may yet have an easier time of it in the future). That took time and effort, and mostly all we can see is the finished product. Heck, we don't even really see how successful any particular series is.


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    @Gamen said in Is it better for companies to only go after completed LNs?:

    it actually felt odd to see Banner of the Stars and Full Metal Panic licensed.

    Personally, those are exactly the sort of series that I'd most like to see licensed, but I also don't expect the majority of series that get licensed at this point to be that old. There are too many newer series for it to happen (especially since the JP publishers probably prefer to push their newer series), and I'm willing to bet that JNC is able to get a lot of these newer series for much cheaper, because the series are unproven and haven't necessarily even had time to build up a large following in Japan yet. I'd guess that licensing series with a known track record is usually far more expensive.

    I consider myself extremely lucky every time that anyone licenses a light novel series that has an anime adaptation that I've seen - especially since so few series that aren't fairly new get licensed. I hate to think about how many stories I will never know the end of unless I actually manage to learn Japanese well enough to read them in Japanese. :|

    But on the bright side, there are quite a few light novel series getting translated these days. :)


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