J-novel ebooks vs j-novel printed books discussion
Is there any discussion anywhere about what makes a light novel/series an ebook vs printed or what it takes to go both? For instance Ascendance of a Bookworm is both printed and electronic but Fushi No Kami is only electronic. Personally I’d love to have a printed version as well. What factors goes into this decision as well as is there any place we could view or even root for favorites to be printed?
@lokison well, the number of digital sales is definitely a factor...
HarunaChieP last edited by HarunaChieP
Digital sales is mostly top priority but there are "some" series that have recent anime adaptations which end up getting print editions... Or could be an agreement with publisher and JNC upon licensing the series. There's just a lot of factors really
what makes a light novel/series an ebook vs printed or what it takes to go both [?]
@HarunaChieP mentioned, there are some series where the Japanese publisher requires physical in order to grant the license, but I suspect the bottom line is...the bottom line. There is a significant additional expense in printing physical, and J-Novel Club isn't a charity. They are more likely to invest in a print run if (on only if, IMHO) they have a strong indication of getting a good return on their investment.
All of the translation/editorial work has to be done weather the end product is digital or physical...printed books require extra steps (and have additional risk, unsold copies are a net cost, and reduce profitability of the run overall)
so if you want a title you like to be physical, support it in general: evangelize to your peers how great it is, write honest (good) reviews where appropriate, buy official licensed content, and don't support piracy.
If JNC wants to 'push' physical - they could include physical only extras, similar to premium EPubs available at JNC site: illustrations that they print but don't digitally publish, bookmarks, bundle teaser manga chapters in the book ,QR codes for digital swag or 'points' towards free stuff (buy 5 physical books and register codes, get a free credit or something)
personally the VAST majority of JNC titles I read, I do as pre-pubs, so I try to support JNC by encouraging everyone not only to be a member, but to be invest in a premium membership (the more folks who have premium memberships- the more resources JNC will likely invest in supporting what premium members consume: pre-pubs, forums, premium EPubs) if you want more paper books, do what you can to support JNC's extant physical publishing practice
of course, all of my assertions may CHANGE now that JNC and Yen Press have corporate ties/common "parents'"/partnerships
The FAQ states that: "We generally choose to print series that have strong digital sales, so you can help increase the chance of your favorite series getting a physical version by spreading the word and buying ebooks for friends and family!"
...So it seems like strong digital sales is one of the primary factors. What counts as 'strong digital sales'? One rule of thumb stated back in 2018 is around 5,000 e-book sales per volume, although it may have changed since then.
It is also possible that one other key factor might be that if they know a series is about to become an anime then they might decide on a print release even if sales are lower because they expect that sales will pick up in the medium to long term once the anime is announced and released. This sort of 'commercially sensitive' information is one reason why they would want to be a bit vague about why they were announcing a print release for one series and not another.
In April 2018 at https://forums.j-novel.club/post/17089 Sam said that:
@paul-nebeling since this one doesn’t have any color inserts we could do it print on demand without too much issue. If the ebook sales are pretty good doing a small print run is not out of the question either. But I’m not going to risk it selling only 200 copies or something when I need to print min 3000.
If a series looks like it will sell on average 5000 ebooks per volume we would like to print it. Physical books will go on sale no sooner than 6 months after the ebook goes on sale.
In June 2019 myskaros stated at https://forums.j-novel.club/topic/1683/kuro-no-shoukanshi-black-summoner-licensed-by-j-novel-club that:
Finally, the ballpark numbers for "we're approximately going to break even" is about 2000 sales, whereas the numbers for "worth considering physical prints" is about 5000 sales
@shiny thanks for the look up. Using a phone only like I do in forums is painful for searching at my level of forum history. Generally I read my ebooks on phone and when I get questions about books I read that’s what I have on me.
@lokison I also wanted to have an open discussion available in case staff or others had any other info other than either what’s been posted before or j-novel.clubs excellent new calendar feature on its upgraded website.
I think it is interesting that JNC has 'extras' in ebooks if/only if obtained via credits/premium membership whereas some other publishers only include 'extras' in physicals (and sometimes physicals at a particular store) --although for the most part this is true for original language releases (with Tentai being the notable exception)
I don't think it is quite a 'zero sum game' (every title that gets a print run = resources that cannot be used to translate/publish other titles) but I do believe that the way it is now, only the most popular titles (unless contractually obligated) get physical print runs. However; resources are finite, translators/editors are talent and their skills are not fungible (you can't throw just anybody in to do the jobs that Warnis or Quof do for example, because they are awesome.) So, there is something to be said about resources and allocation thereof. (I don't want to stick my nose into the workings /decisions internal to JNC- they do great and my non-expert opinions are not needed) That being said- if JNC decides to do a poll, ask for opinions :
personally, I don't need all of what I read printed on paper/stored/collected- but some things I'd like to see on paper, with fold out maps/color illustrations/quality bindings etc. (I've commented on the AoB fanbook previously). So, if there's a choice I'd vote for: "more content overall, even if much of it is digital only" vs. "many titles in print, but slightly fewer titles overall"
to sum up: if you're going to print something (and I'm buying) it has to be awesome/something special that I'll treasure/keep/show off. (and I'll pay top dollar) For everyday reading, I prefer digital