Spice and Wolf Unveiled!

Light novels have a short but checkered history in the U.S. market. Conventional wisdom holds that they don’t sell — that it cannot be done. I have to say, though, that I’m just not convinced. What is a light novel, really? It’s a novel. It’s a book with spiffy illustrations. Sure, there are some distinct challenges when it comes to positioning these books in our market, but ultimately there are a lot more readers of novels out there right now than there are readers of manga and comics. That’s a huge potential audience, and we really want to help our novels realize that potential. These are great stories, and we’re proud to be introducing them to whole new readership.

Of course one of the main challenges we face is with presentation. We love the original designs of the novels we’ve licensed from Japan. Love them to death! The unfortunate reality we face, though, is that these designs that we adore, while they work brilliantly in markets where manga is ubiquitous, tend not to be impactful with more general audiences here — and we want everybody to enjoy these books! So the challenge we have to undertake is to come up with new cover designs for these fantastic books in hopes of garnering for them the readership they deserve. I am therefore proud to present you — for the first time anywhere — a sneak peek of the cover for Isuna Hasekura’s much anticipated novel, SPICE AND WOLF!


Pretty strikingly non-manga, huh?

We think this design really captures Holo’s playful spirit in a way that will appeal to fantasy audiences. At the same time, though, we certainly know that some of the existing SPICE AND WOLF fans out there might have a harder time embracing this new direction. What we hope, though, is that those fans understand our reasons for making these changes and will turn out to support this property that they know and love and in turn support the success of light novels in general in this market so that one day — hopefully! — we’ll be in a very different place where we can confidently and successfully utilize the original cover art for these books. What I’d really like to see come to pass is the day where light novels are actually bringing new readers into the manga community!

And for those hardcore fans who just can’t live without the gorgeous art gracing the original covers (a sentiment that we certainly understand), we’re doing something a bit special that we’ve never tried before. In the December issue of our Yen Plus magazine, we’re going to be offering a special gift — a limited edition slip jacket fitted to the novel’s trim size:


We hope you’re all as excited as we are to see SPICE AND WOLF hit shelves in December complete with all of the original interior illustrations, and we hope you’ll all help to make this unique and wonderful novel the runaway success it deserves to be!

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    Will not buy!!!… cheap cover (original cover should not be some special promo that’s hard to find/get) and the book is printed on cheap paper compared to what they get overseas.

    Quality matters!


    you deleted my post just because I refuse to buy your poor quality product?

    Now I know who I’m dealing with. Censoring your buyers I don’t think is the right thing to do. My feedback was only meant to as that and to hopefully make you change your ways for the better.

    I would be happy to see this book on store shelves in it’s original cover art and pay a bit more for better quality print work. I worked in the print industry for the past 10 years and I know you can do better.


    It’s a pretty late reply but nonetheless I will say it. Do you not think that the cover is misleading? If you think about it all of the illustrations should be from the original novel, not including the cover, so they may start reading it while not expecting a completely different version of the character shown on the cover later on in the book. Well we can only hope that people will be hooked to the story to not truly care if the images don’t suit their taste I suppose.


    I`m not going to buy the novel because of this ugly cover! In fact, neither another Yen Press release.

    That preposterous cover is a very sorry attempt to sell this novel out of its natural marketing niche. Why don’t you change the author’s name for a western one?

    I’m so angry right now…

    Shame on you!

    :. Extremism ? « .:: A Kid’s World ::.

    […] of the novel will not feature the original illustration by Ju Ayakura, but will be replaced by some naked girl but covered in shadows. Yen Press reason for the change was to appeal to a wider audience, which I find questionable but […]

    German Bourget

    Hey – nice web site, just trying round some blogs, appears a very nice platform you might be using. I am presently using WordPress for a few of my blogs however seeking to change one in all them over to a platform just like yours as a trial run. Anything particularly you’d suggest about it?


    I just vomited a little in my mouth, but I was able to gulp it down once I saw the beautiful original anime idea.

    I guess I hope you guys make money off this and it appeals to a wider audience, but it is my hope that once you make fans out of them, they will demand the anime.


    I just wanted to say: I am a big fan of this story.
    After looking through all of the comments I had to write that I like what you did with the cover in spite of what most people wrote.
    Since I’m not some teenage girl anymore, but a seriously studying professional I definitely don’t want to be seen around with a childish looking book while commuting (since it is the only time when I can enjoy reading).
    I also believe the cover itself fulfills its purpose perfectly. Since the story is somehow more mature and secretive(since Holo has to hide her identity), the cover exactly reflects the feeling intended. The minimalistic style is giving this story a more sophisticated frame while the play with light and shade combined with the model’s expression reflect Holo’s personality.
    American market and society is not one of Japans. People have to understand that fact. Something anime/manga styled is so very common and present in everyday life in Japan that even a cute looking drawing on a cover brings more serious readers. In United States the whole anime/manga franchise is still associated with children, geeks, etc., so the cover change is most appropriate for this title since it will bring the intended targeted audience.
    I hope the other fans won’t get too upset about my comment, but I do believe Yen Press made the right choice with the cover of this great title.


    Well, for the people look at this a year later, how are we supposed to cover up the cover Yen Press made? I want the spice and wolf original slip cover.

    I agree, delete topic, because it just makes me sad that they put a naked girl in the shadows with dented breasts as a supposed “better” cover and it was supposed to “appeal to wider audiences”, but I think the majority of buyers are spice and wolf fans before this light novel was licensed in America.

    john d.

    It’s now 2011, if I order this can I have one without the porno cover? That one can be mistaken as a Porn book IMO. I really don’t want to be seen reading this book with that cover on it.


    Very wise marketing decision with cover.
    It is a novel, not manga, and is a story set other then Japan. Those who know will buy the book anyway, but more importantly those unknown will be open to at least look at the book because they may think manga is children books.

    The cover art? I give 4 of 5 stars because I do not think it clearly shows Holo well (as a she wolf and protagonist, not her breasts or pubis) but as much as America tries to hide it, the fact is Sex sells. It is an unspoken truth all marketing execs know by heart, and I wish Americans will stop being childish about it and accept the truth, we will all be better off.

    It was smart to realize the market (like Lawrence does), and brave to make the leap. I hope it paid off.

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