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Old 2010-02-10, 17:45   Link #901
tyranuus
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Damn you people who can read Japanese, you're really making me rather jealous!
With no announcement of a 3rd series as yet, and the books being translated at a whole book per 6 months its going to be a long time til I can really find out the ending, by which I mean read it properly rather than just as summaries and spoilers
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Old 2010-02-11, 01:50   Link #902
Vexx
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So far its not over.... so you're safe. They're taking a VERY leisurely route to Yoitsu (and perhaps afterwards).
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Old 2010-02-11, 06:33   Link #903
tyranuus
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Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
So far its not over.... so you're safe. They're taking a VERY leisurely route to Yoitsu (and perhaps afterwards).
Which means an even more leisurely route to being able to read the end in English haha

Wish Yen Press would speed up the releases, I'm pretty sure the books aren't taking 6 months to translate, probably half of that or less, especially as the guy doing the translation by all accounts is doing a good job, so is probably at the very least, pretty fluent, if not a native or almost natural capacity reader.

14 books is going to take *7* years at the current rate (which is a pretty good way to lose people before they've finished translating IMO!), and who knows if they'll actually finish publishing them (I hope so, I've ordered the first and preordered the second), with the books being licensed the best fan translations have probably stopped too, so if Yen Press stops, who knows when/if they'll be available in English!
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Old 2010-02-11, 10:13   Link #904
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Originally Posted by tyranuus View Post
Wish Yen Press would speed up the releases, I'm pretty sure the books aren't taking 6 months to translate, probably half of that or less, especially as the guy doing the translation by all accounts is doing a good job, so is probably at the very least, pretty fluent, if not a native or almost natural capacity reader.
In case you haven't looked at the YP release page lately, they're actually releasing a ton of books each month including other novels. I don't know how big YP is, but I've gotten the impression it's still on the small side and that would mean the translators are working pretty hard each day. In addition, Spice and Wolf isn't going to be their biggest seller so, if they want to continue making money, it has to be second fiddle to whatever is helping them stay in business.
And six months seems to be the average for light novels these days, TP used to release the 12 Kingdom books once a year and Scholastic seems to be releasing the Moribito books on a six month or yearly schedule (both of which are a bit longer I'll admit).
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Old 2010-02-11, 11:23   Link #905
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It's not the speed of the translation that dictates when books are released. It has more to do with how fast the major book retailers are willing to accept the new releases. The speed up of Naruto and One Piece releases not withstanding, most retailers don't want volumes within a specific title to come in too fast. Books don't move out off the shelves that quickly & retailers don't want books sitting inventory too long. Better to space out the releases to give the inventory time to rotate than to have books linger in inventory due to oversaturating the market.
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Old 2010-02-11, 12:59   Link #906
wandering-dreamer
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Originally Posted by LKK View Post
It's not the speed of the translation that dictates when books are released. It has more to do with how fast the major book retailers are willing to accept the new releases. The speed up of Naruto and One Piece releases not withstanding, most retailers don't want volumes within a specific title to come in too fast. Books don't move out off the shelves that quickly & retailers don't want books sitting inventory too long. Better to space out the releases to give the inventory time to rotate than to have books linger in inventory due to oversaturating the market.
Very true, this is also why most manga/anime companies don't release series that are in the same genera in the same month, they'll cut into each others' sales. And, while I haven't heard this mentioned explictly, I bet that most US publishing houses also plan they're releases veeerrryyyy carefully by figuring out what time a book would have the least competition.
On the bright side, isn't this one of the first light novel series to be published before the anime came out? True it was by less than half a month but usually it's years later.
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Old 2010-02-11, 13:46   Link #907
Vexx
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The sweet spot for releases in the publisher eyes is about 3 months for manga volumes and about 6 months for light novels (so far).

That's the rate at which sales of a volume tend to spiral down from the initial frenzy.

Yen Press is still a rather small operation. Drastically scaling up any enterprise invariably derails quality - so what we have to watch with Yen is that they do not repeat the mess that ADV and TokyoPop have made of their operations.
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Old 2010-02-11, 14:31   Link #908
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Ya as for you in US is can not do such difference but in this world is also much other countries...
General, this license is one big mistake releases half-yearly the first volume has already left, and there are 13 others, and it take 6,5 years this is stupid. And that they where so rude to ordered remove bt their translations. Of course, we all know why they fear that they will have less profit, because most people will chose free translation. The second case is the import which costs 30$ including the cost of novel 43$, and if i convert it on the currency in my contury this goes quite a considerable sum. Of course for Horo i am able incur such costs, but no on every six months if they were releases it over 3 months than i can take it some how...
But under such conditions no thanks. Better learn Japanese, and import from there the novel. Because it will cost me much less.
So do not write something such as the above. ;]
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Old 2010-02-11, 16:16   Link #909
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose_t View Post
Ya as for you in US is can not do such difference but in this world is also much other countries...
General, this license is one big mistake releases half-yearly the first volume has already left, and there are 13 others, and it take 6,5 years this is stupid. And that they where so rude to ordered remove bt their translations. Of course, we all know why they fear that they will have less profit, because most people will chose free translation. The second case is the import which costs 30$ including the cost of novel 43$, and if i convert it on the currency in my contury this goes quite a considerable sum. Of course for Horo i am able incur such costs, but no on every six months if they were releases it over 3 months than i can take it some how...
But under such conditions no thanks. Better learn Japanese, and import from there the novel. Because it will cost me much less.
So do not write something such as the above. ;]
Um... that's not "rude", that is their legal right. Granted, we were all disappointed but that happens with any licensed material. B-T prefers to stay on the upside of the grey in legality. If it weren't for B-T and the fan base.... it would not have appeared profitable in the first place. Often the *goal* of fans and hobbyists is to draw attention to works in the hopes it will be licensed.

As far as the release timing -- japanese light novels are a NEW concept for the West. The whole idea is still "on probationary test". There's a lot of experience in the "3 month rule" for manga -- almost no experience to gauge how fast to release light novels. The "6 month rule" is likely to be shortened depending on how sales of light novels map out and some historical data is gathered. Keep in mind the release times of the original Japanese works are roughly 4 months or more apart (and for the same profit/sales reasons).

volume 1 released 2/2006
volume 2 released 6/2006
volume 3 released 10/2006
volume 4 released 2/2007
volume 5 released 8/2007
volume 6 released 12/2007
volume 7 -- 2/2008 (short stories)
volume 8 -- 5/2008
volume 9 -- 9/2008
volume 10 -- 2/2009
volume 11 -- 5/2009 (short stories)
volume 12 -- 8/2009
volume 13 -- 11/2009 (short stories)
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Old 2010-02-11, 19:03   Link #910
tyranuus
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Releasing them every 3/4 months would be tolerable though, at least that way we'd be able to catch up with the anime series in about a year, so I hope they do up the release rate, whereas taking til 2016-2018 to release them all (if they end about book 15-17), is going to be a very painful wait.
Part of the problem is as much as it helps retailers clear stocks, it also puts off people waiting to read the series/starting the series (which is going to hurt preorders and demand), because they'll have to wait quite a long time to be able to finish the series. I mean a longer wait works for a shorter book series, with larger books on the full novel scale, but a high number of shorter books is going to be quite painful to wait for.

What WOULD be awesome though would be if they started releasing them as double book omnibus releases every 6 months, I could live with that, because the book would be that little bit more fulfilling each release.

So say 3/4 released as a single omnibus release December 2010, 5/6 in June 2011 etc... I wouldn't mind paying a bit more for the book if they did that, because I'd be able to enjoy the content so much quicker.
Would also give them a justification to redo the front covers and avoid the backlash, as they'd be able to argue they could no longer use the original covers as they're being released 2 books in one pack so the fans dont have to wait as long for the material.
Sure someone would be anal about it, but it'd silence the more 'reasonable' of those complaining (well aslong as the new covers are better/suit the series more than the one on book one anyway).

Last edited by tyranuus; 2010-02-11 at 20:04.
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Old 2010-02-11, 19:13   Link #911
Vexx
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I think six months between each release is unsustainable myself -- four months just intuitively seems more likely as a sweet spot for releases. But they're being pretty conservative which, given the current economic climate and the instability of the manga industry presently, is not unexpected... if not very brave
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Old 2010-02-11, 19:29   Link #912
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RS did not let me down; they just let me know I will get the dust jacket with the light novel. I have been waiting a while for this bad boy to be back in stock so they could ship it!

I will thankfully be able to hide that horrendous cover of the book with the much more attractive original.

So, if your still waiting, I would suggest you check with them and NOT hesitate to buy it as I do not know how much longer Yen will be supplying these jackets nor do I know how many they still have to provide to costumers!
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Old 2010-02-11, 20:09   Link #913
tyranuus
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Unfortunately much as I'd prefer that dust cover, I cant justify the extra cost. With the pretty tacky new cover, the book cost me 4.80+ about 2 shipping, if I imported via right stuf I'd end up paying about 15, which is what book one and book 2 preordered, with first class postage on both has cost me.
I dont particularly like the new front cover; not because of the content, but because it doesnt really suit the series, but I have heard its not actually that bad in the flesh, so unless I can get another copy imported with the dust cover by getting someone else doing a larger order, I'll have to live with out it.

Vexx - I agree because of the wait 6 months seems unsustainable; I just hope that doesnt mean they see it as unprofitable and stop publishing them, that's one of the reasons I decided to lay down on a preorder, because each person who does shows there is demand for the books.
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Old 2010-02-12, 05:11   Link #914
Rose_t
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Um... that's not "rude", that is their legal right. Granted, we were all disappointed but that happens with any licensed material. B-T prefers to stay on the upside of the grey in legality. If it weren't for B-T and the fan base.... it would not have appeared profitable in the first place. Often the *goal* of fans and hobbyists is to draw attention to works in the hopes it will be licensed.

As far as the release timing -- japanese light novels are a NEW concept for the West. The whole idea is still "on probationary test". There's a lot of experience in the "3 month rule" for manga -- almost no experience to gauge how fast to release light novels. The "6 month rule" is likely to be shortened depending on how sales of light novels map out and some historical data is gathered. Keep in mind the release times of the original Japanese works are roughly 4 months or more apart (and for the same profit/sales reasons).

volume 1 released 2/2006
volume 2 released 6/2006
volume 3 released 10/2006
volume 4 released 2/2007
volume 5 released 8/2007
volume 6 released 12/2007
volume 7 -- 2/2008 (short stories)
volume 8 -- 5/2008
volume 9 -- 9/2008
volume 10 -- 2/2009
volume 11 -- 5/2009 (short stories)
volume 12 -- 8/2009
volume 13 -- 11/2009 (short stories)
About B-T ya all licensed show have been remove, and for the same reasons it's all about money, and you write The "6 month rule" is likely to be shortened depending on how sales of light novels map out and some historical data is gathered. You further agree that they want money.
As for *goal* of fans i quote only one sentence that was many times in the subtitles fans:
"This is a free fansub not for sale or rent."
And I hope that someone who is a fan of this novel, and knows japanese will continue work B-T for the same reasons.

If this is "concept for the West " why they only license the japanese light novels. Why they can create something themselves and sale as far as want, and releases as they want, becuse they can't create something themselves?
And anime license like crunchyroll, ya, ye if you wanna see this anime you must pay. Another case is that their translations sometimes leave much to be desired.

Japan release timing is shorter, and if they were releases it every 3 or 4 months it's like I wrote earlier for Horo i am able incur such costs and wait.
As for this short stories I see that there is not a great problem to give it as a supplement to the volume and raise a bit the price.
It's just a matter of inventing a good solution for most customers, becuse all can't satisfied.
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Old 2010-02-12, 13:57   Link #915
tyranuus
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A Japanese person pays to read the novel, and I'm happy to pay someone to translate a book for me, much as I'd pay a mechanic to fix my car, I've got no problem with paying someone for thier work; my only issue with the Yen Press release scheme is it's too far apart.

Im at work now, but I'm actually going to draft a letter/email to (?)Hatache Press or whatever the name of the main company actually is (the over company of Yen Press) and make the point of perhaps consider upping the release schedule. I doubt they will, but if I get a response I will post it here.

Releases every 3/4 months, or double book-releases every 6 months would be a much better solution for us fans of the series, especially given my fear of them cancelling the series (hopefully not as it seems to have quite a few fans...BUT this IS a fairly long book series, and its hard to know if Yen Press will still feel the same way about publishing these in 5+ years!)

Last edited by tyranuus; 2010-02-12 at 14:41.
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Old 2010-02-12, 14:12   Link #916
Vexx
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rose_t View Post
About B-T ya all licensed show have been remove, and for the same reasons it's all about money, and you write The "6 month rule" is likely to be shortened depending on how sales of light novels map out and some historical data is gathered. You further agree that they want money.
As for *goal* of fans i quote only one sentence that was many times in the subtitles fans:
"This is a free fansub not for sale or rent."
And I hope that someone who is a fan of this novel, and knows japanese will continue work B-T for the same reasons.
Are you making some point of some sort? People who work for a living like to get money for their work. Hobbyists don't expect money for their hobby. B-T will continue to find and work on unlicensed novels. Its what they do.

Quote:
If this is "concept for the West " why they only license the japanese light novels. Why they can create something themselves and sale as far as want, and releases as they want, becuse they can't create something themselves?
Excuse me? Have you walked into any bookstore in the US? Or visit a US bookstore website and scan the title list? There are tens of thousands of books - thousands of them qualify as light novels. The acquisition of japanese light novels and translating them is a new thing and the potential for success untested in the US - there are only a small handful of titles out. There are english translations of books from all over the Earth being sold in the US as well as a huge domestic line of books. Are you really not understanding the book market or how business works?

Quote:
And anime license like crunchyroll, ya, ye if you wanna see this anime you must pay. Another case is that their translations sometimes leave much to be desired.
Anime licensing is unrelated to this discussion. But Crunchy Roll is available for free as well as licensed - it just changes the quality of the video. Its the closest thing there is to a domestic Japanese viewer's access (they must pay for their cable subscription to see anime). Yeah, I agree their translations are pretty bad at times. My biggest complaint is that streaming models run directly into the obsolete regional licensing restrictions. The Internet doesn't suffer "balkanization" well.

But you're starting to sound like those folks who feel entitled to all their entertainment for free with these complaints.
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Old 2010-02-12, 14:58   Link #917
Kunagisa
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Originally Posted by tyranuus View Post
Releases every 3/4 months, or double book-releases every 6 months would be a much better solution for us fans of the series, especially given my fear of them cancelling the series (hopefully not as it seems to have quite a few fans...BUT this IS a fairly long book series, and its hard to know if Yen Press will still feel the same way about publishing these in 5+ years!)
I feel you, especially the bold'ed part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
As far as the release timing -- japanese light novels are a NEW concept for the West. The whole idea is still "on probationary test". There's a lot of experience in the "3 month rule" for manga -- almost no experience to gauge how fast to release light novels. The "6 month rule" is likely to be shortened depending on how sales of light novels map out and some historical data is gathered. Keep in mind the release times of the original Japanese works are roughly 4 months or more apart (and for the same profit/sales reasons).
This hits it dead on in my opinion. It's not really about the translation speed (you can pump out a translation for a whole novel within a week with good quality if your work is literally just translation). Most of the release schedule is really just testing to see if the people are really going to buy it, which always worry me because I keep underestimating (or maybe I'm not) the fanbase for such "eastern cultural" entertainment merchandise. Hence when I asked about if the schedule's consider fast pace earlier is really just another question for "Do you think they're optimistic about the series?" (which LKK did answered pretty nicely).
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Old 2010-02-12, 15:25   Link #918
tyranuus
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Originally Posted by stuopidget View Post
I feel you, especially the bold'ed part.
I'd imagine most of the fans of the series who can't speak Japanese have similar worries. It'd be horrendous to get say 8 novels in, then Yen Press to stop publishing, because fan translations would still be on hold because of the licensing, especially if we'd been following the series for 4 years by this point

If they release them a little faster there's less chance of that happening!

I really love the series and the characters, but I just don't have a knack for languages, trying to learn Japanese would be like trying to climb Mt Everest with only a pair of trainers and a cocktail stick.

With no further news of another series of Anime as it stands, these books are all the fans have, especially given how conservative EU releases often are of bits and pieces.
As it stand I'm on the verge of ordering a second copy of the first book to get hold of the slip cover so I feel like I've got the 'complete' article, and then I can give the other copy to my brother who is FAR more into the whole Manga/Anime scene than me. I preordered the 2nd book to try and register interest for the continued series as well.

It's stupid really, I'm not usually a major anime fan, I've watched perhaps 10 series in my entire life over the last 5-10 years, but Spice and Wolf has grabbed me and not let go since I watched it, probably because the setting is so different, story relatively intelligent, the characters strong, and the romance aspect really quite sweet.
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Old 2010-02-12, 19:17   Link #919
tyranuus
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Well I'm a man of my word, and I just sent this to Hachette Book Group via the contact details on the website (which are linked to by the Yen Press site)

I warn you... short wall of text incoming

Quote:
Hi there, I'm contacting you in regards to the Spice and Wolf light novel series you are printing via your Yen Press sub-company.

First of all I'd like to say thank you for picking up the license, and translating the series; this is not a complaint about the front cover! I understand why the decision was made to change the front cover, even if I personally am not too fond of the new version, I personally don’t believe it reflects the nature of the material that well, but you can work on that with following editions!

The reason I am writing to you though, is to ask that a request be passed onto whichever department decides title specific release dates. I would like to appeal that they revise the publication rate for the aforementioned light novel series from every 6 months to every 4 months, or alternatively, release the books in 2 book omnibus editions every 6 months, by which I mean translated book 3 and 4 come out as a single abridged volume December 2010, followed by 5 and 6 as a single volume in June 2011 etc.

There are multiple reasons why I make this request/suggestion; firstly there are currently 14 books in the series, available in Japanese, with multiple further volumes to come. Fans of the material like myself (I've bought the book already from amazon.co.uk and pre-ordered the second) will find it very hard to wait 7-10+ years for the entire story to be translated and released in English, especially given as at its heart, these volumes are actually chapters of a larger story, much like the Wheel of Time series. Even treating them as individual volumes, these are still light novels, lower in content than your average novel, and the average read time for the contained content per volume will be less than a week for an average reader. Rather than providing extended reading experiences like those from the likes of Gemmell or Salvatore, written from scratch, which justify a longer period between volumes, these books simply require translating, and were intended to be released on a much shorter time scale. The original volumes in Japanese are indeed released on a roughly 3-4 month interval basis. This helps generate both consistent interest in the series and pleases fans looking for progression, but also accommodates retailers understandably wary of overstocking titles, by allowing them to introduce new material roughly once per period to attract return custom from followers of the series, and yet maintain consistant sales of lower-stocked older volumes in the series, to people who only discover the series later in publication, without risk of overstocking the title and finding demand drops away.

Above this, the content of the stories, at the heart is a romance story, albeit with fantastical trappings (pagan gods and economics in the dark ages!), meaning that the fan base will likely find it frustrating to have to wait so long between publications. Some of these people will undoubtedly decide they cannot wait this long to finish the series, and then forgo the licensed ‘Yen Press’ editions by reading unlicensed, internet based fan-translations, losing you sales from members of the fan base who otherwise would have purchased your novels.

Considering the state of the market, you have to take into account that if a reader from the new audience you are trying to gain uncovers Spice and Wolf, and then discovers they will have to wait roughly a decade to finish the series then a reasonable number may be dissuaded from even starting the series. I am not alone in being able to see this point, I have asked several other friends and family how long they would be willing to wait for the last book in an average book series, and approximately 5 years seemed to be a popular response. People will be reluctant to commit to a series which will not be finished for such a length of time, and you may find the release pattern of two per year becomes unsustainable from a demand perspective. The fact the Japanese series remains highly successful, and yet releases on a 3-4 month release rotation should suggest a reduced-scale release pattern is at least feasible, not to mention popular American fiction for young adults is often released at a higher rate; for example the popular Animorphs series from Scholastic, aimed at a similar market segment (albeit slightly younger) released 51 titles onto the market between 1996 and 2001.

Whilst obviously you have already announced plans to release the first 6 volumes between now and 2012, until the series is complete in native Japanese and you have announced plans for the English language release of the final book, many fans will continually fear you will terminate the series before the complete run is finished, a fear only made worse by the extended release schedule. As the series primarily follows two characters and their relationship and adventure for the entire run, bar a few volumes featuring short stories fleshing out these same characters, or other side characters; a fear that the series will not be completed could again put people off reading the books until the series has been completed in its translated form, especially given the number of titles cancelled in this market segment. It goes without saying that again, this could harm your sales and figures, and should the series translation be unfinished, we would be left with a half-told story; not something any avid reader would appreciate, and possibly harming the reception of other materials from yourselves in the future.

Finally, by adopting the double-volume, omnibus publication method mentioned earlier, you would have further justification for changing the front cover. During my search for information on publication release dates I saw firsthand some of the internet backlash, over the decision to change from the original manga-style front cover to one that may appeal to a wider audience. Much of this hostility could be abated by adopting dual-volume editions, as all but the most ardent fans of the original covers would understand you would no longer be able to use a single cover from the two original books to represent both titles contained in the translated volume. Indeed, many of them may well be more accepting of the change, seeing it as a necessary evil or compromise enabling them to get hold of the material that much quicker. Overall this could well result in a greater acceptance of the series, and reduced or negated outcry over future westernised covers, resulting in greater take up and sale of the series. (It’d also be cheaper for yourselves as you have to produce less cover art and would have fewer volumes requiring advertising!)

I am sure a large number of people would be happy to see some of the suggested changes implemented, as ultimately these are changes that would benefit both the target market and reader base, whilst also helping generate higher interest and sales for the series.

I also doubt alienating a portion of your market has ever been either an intention, or agreeable position for yourselves, an opinion reinforced by your release of the slip cover featuring the original art for the first book in the series. In light of this, I hope you at least consider the points made, and review the release schedule for the series. My effort in writing something of this length should hopefully convey my sincerity in the matter.

Regards

A*** R***; United Kingdom
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Old 2010-02-12, 21:39   Link #920
Rajura
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Hmmmm... well organized thoughts, but I think the best you could expect is for them to reduce it to 4-5months. And, that might only even have a chance to happen if the sales of the first 3 are really solid.

Now, what I'd like to see would be the couple of manga and side-stories released in a few magazines that seem to have been overlooked to be included as a part of a future volume format since those publications are on-going as well. I am having no success finding the few I'm missing. Granted this part of my post kind of belongs under another thread, I'm using a loophole to hopefully get away with it. I might have to write ASCII Media Works to throw out the idea, though I'm sure a single person's opinion will matter very little to a major media company. Maybe they will at least write me back (very, very, very, slim chance I know).
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