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!

spicewolf_1

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:

spicewolf_1alt

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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468 Comments

Nick

@leafy, are you serious man? business not doing well because of fans that dont get there way, i think you are seriously misinformed.

lets use the c&c franchise as a example since they my fave, heres a grp that have been releasing games sicne the dawn of time, and probably one of the most successful gameing franchises ever, how did they do it i wonder?
oh thats right, there whiny fan base, the differance is that the company listens, all there games right through development and release are done with constant work with fans, from what they want in the game, how they want it to work, artwork, everything.
and the fans dont always get there way but they are told whats happening and why a change is made or sometimes its just a secret, they will tel lthe fans its a secret and everyone is happy with that because they are listened too.
now my point here is that im not harping on the cover so dont think that, my point is that before this was goint ot happen they should have worked alot more closely with the fans, granted some would still be annoyed but the middle ground chunk of people would be more accepting.

yen press just went about this in the wrong way with no consideration for fans being displayed. so rightfully they deserve this back lash, they reaped what they sowed. so if sales from the fans go down, so be it, they reaped what they sowed.

solkari

@TC-man

Any poll on the Yen Press site is going to be woefully one-sided. Who comes to yenpress.us? Fans of Yen Press. I’m quite confident that anyone who comes to the site is familiar with anime/manga, and likely don’t care, or think others might care, about an anime style cover.

I have absolutely no complaint with the idea of the new cover, I’m simply wary of the execution. In my opinion the art needs a few touch-ups. Of course, it’s possible that my complaints about Holo’s teeth, tail and hair are moot. The image isn’t very hi-res, and it may simply be a bad scan.

As others have mentioned, the cover isn’t exactly trashy. It’s kind of a surprise that all these avid manga readers can be such prudes, especially considering that we all know that inside the cover is a picture of Holo naked in the cart. Is it the difference in art style that takes it from “So what?” to “OMG SHE’S NAKED!!1”?

MechaTama31

The thing is, Leafy, we are the customers. It’s Yen Press’s job to convince us to part with our money. And this cover does not help at all. You can claim all you want that the cover is not important, but let’s face reality here. The contents of this book can quite readily be found for free on the internet. One of the major factors for many people to buy it is for presentation, to have something nice to display in their collection. It is also nice to support the people whose work you enjoy so much, but in this case, I would rather import the Japanese book. That way it still looks nice, and as a bonus I support the creators more directly.

I can always read a fan translation of the book (yes, there’s an elephant in this room). The only downside to buying the Japanese version is that it lacks the convenience of taking it anywhere to read. I would have to read on my computer, and the book would essentially be shelf dressing. But that’s what a lot of my collection is anyway. I’ve already seen/read the show/manga/novel, I just want to have a legitimate copy for display, and to support things I like. What Yen Press’s version has going against it is the revulsion and anger I will feel every time I look at that hideous cover. If Yen Press stuck with the original cover, then it would absolutely be worth it to me to buy it from them instead, so I could read it on the go, lend it to people, etc. But as it is, the terrible new cover of YP’s version far outweighs the inconvenience I would experience with buying the Japanese version.

If Yen Press wants to succeed, they have to offer a product that is better than what is available for free. It is certainly within their capability to do this, but they are going out of their way to sabotage themselves. I hope someday Spice & Wolf can take its place on my shelf, next to Haruhi, Crest of the Stars, Full Metal Panic, Shakugan no Shana, Blood Royale, and more. But as things stand now, if that book is there, it won’t have a Yen Press logo on it.

And before anybody brings up the slipcover, boosting Yen Plus’s circulation to get a slip of paper to hide Yen Press’s damaged goods is not an acceptable solution.

mini

I don’t think the cover is bad at all. Not really my taste, it could be better, but it’s ok. I showed it to a few people around me and all of them either said “this is way better than the manga cover” or they liked both equally.

So I just hope YenPress will succeed, will get Spice and Wolf the success it deserves and bring us many more great light novels.

Maroyan

Yen Press did state in an interview that they have considered doing the same thing as what they did with Haruhi and have the new cover as a slipcover and the original one inside. However, whether they’ll be able to do this or not depends on the sales of the book with the current cover. Just saying.

anon

Hey Leafy, the problem isn’t that she’s naked on the cover, it’s that the cover looks cheap and badly designed. I don’t mind their changing the cover, and I’m sure they put a lot of work into making one that would both look good and appeal to a lot of people, but they at least half failed. But, you know, opinions.

Wolf

I think that this goes back to when people started doing OEL manga and the crowd went:” F***** no its not manga it doesn’t look it”. But who know what manga even means? It’s made by Japanese people? It has a certain look to it? People who like Nightschool by Chmakova Svetlana should know what she makes is her own creation, her own manga. What makes it a manga is that there’s her unique drawing style and a story that’s unlike any other. Spice and Wolf is the same, The cover of it may have been changed but what’s inside it counts I want to know how many times has Tokyopop changed a cover, and ever notifitied the fans beforehand. Exactly. NEVER Here Yen Press is, telling fans of Spice and Wolf of their plans for it, and if Yen Press didn’t care about fans of Spice and Wolf they wouldn’t have even told you guys about the cover change. So, don’t blame Yen Press for caring about the fans of Spice and Wolf, by taking in you guy’s input and telling you guys ahead of time, and don’t hate Yen Press just because they know how awesome Spice and Wolf is and how they are doing what they can to get other people to also know how awesome it is.

Iduno

^What is the point of them telling us that they are replacing the cover with some erotic novel style abomination if they are going to ignore our feedback anyway?

The same crap is happening but it’s ok because we were warned?
Get that rubbish out of here.

anon

I pretty much agree with Wolf. I don’t blame Yen Press for changing the cover to something more marketable, and to be honest it probably is more marketable than the original. All I’m saying (and a lot of others as well) is that the cover they decided to go with instead is an eyesore. It’s not a WHY DIDN’T THEY USE THE JAPANESE COVER hardcore weeaboo-otaku-whatever you want to call it thing. In fact, I kind of liked the translated Haruhi light novel cover. If they’d gone in that direction instead I bet there wouldn’t be nearly as much complaining.

Wolf

@Iduno Actually Yen Press is still indecisive about using their version of the Spice and Wolf cover, because OF ALL YOU WHINERS, ( and the best part about notifying you WAYY of ahead time is so that you can think about whether or not your going to release something the way it is, but also getting input into it) but the best decision right now is to use Yen Press’s cover of Spice and Wolf as the slit cover and keep the original underneath, so that the not already fans of Spice and Wolf get to know it, and the already fans can finally shut up.

Ralph

I guess all the people who are for the change in the cover still don’t seem to understand how exactly this process works.

There are 2 groups of people who will/can buy Spice & Wolf.

1) The anime/manga/otaku fans. These people already know about the product because of the anime, manga, or word of mouth. However, from these comments I have seen about 90% of the people are against this new cover change and will not be purchasing it.

2) The casual/fantasy/light reader who happens to browse for this in the correct section in their bookstore. The only way to get this person to notice the book is either by a) word of mouth from a friend or b) the cover of the book. Now personally, if I saw that cover on the book I would stick it right back on the shelf immediately. It looks like a cover to one of those “sex n’ fluff” novels my mom read when I was a kid.

So now YenPress has to find out exactly how many people they are predicting buy the book. Hope you guys have a good Market Research team YP! Lets say they come up with oh……400,000 buyers (I am just making this up for example).

Now, of those 400k buyers, 300k of them were the first type of fan, however, because of the cover change, only 50k of them end up buying the book anyway. And then lets say 75k of the 100k casual/fantasy type readers buy it. Thats 125k sales of the book at around what 10 bucks or so? So you made just about $1.25 mill right?

OR, we could have 2 options like with the Haruhi novels and make the original cover a hardcover or such for the extra $5 tacked onto the price. Now lets say because of this move 250k of the anime/manga fans buy the book and 75k of the 100k of the casual fans buy the other novel at the estimated $10 mark. $3.75 million off of the hard cover sales and another $750k off the normal “new cover” sales.

I know this example isn’t set to their market research standards I am sure, but to me it makes a whole lot more sense to give your audience an OPTION rather then telling them they HAVE to buy this version. It isn’t like Henry Ford’s Model T famous quote where he said, “You can have it in any color you want as long as it’s black!”

Give the audience a choice YP.

Jessica

Ohhh. I love light novels(: can’t wait for this! but i was wondering.. if youre not subscribed to yen press, can you buy the original cover jacket separately? >.>

Iduno

^Still think they could do a more tastefull cover, but also I kind of think yenpress are barking up the wrong tree here, you know what would REALLY help the book get new fans?

ADVERTISING!

Seriously, what is the point of trying to make the book more marketable to new fans when no-one but the existing fans are actually aware of its existance, the authors name is unknown over here, the series is unknown over here, are people who have never heard of Spice and Wolf really going to pick up a brand new book that looks like a trashy novel at full price, or are they just going to get an older book that looks similar and is cheaper?

How many times do you go to a bookstore and pick up a brand new book that you have never heard of from an author that you have never heard of at full price?

Bweb

Wolf says: “Actually Yen Press is still indecisive about using their version of the Spice and Wolf cover, because OF ALL YOU WHINERS”

Don’t give us that. In order to have them on the shelves at the scheduled date, they have to already have produced a bulk of the volumes they plan on selling. That means with these horrid, poorly photoshopped, desperate housewife soft porn covers.
They already spent the money.

If you want a product to be successful, you must first know your audience.

Yen Press has clearly demonstrated a lack of knowledge about the fans of the series or the opportunity to sell it.

Personally, I think the cover was poorly done on purpose, to bolster sales of their magazine so fans could access the proper cover.

Why else change the cover but still keep it in the manga section of the bookstore?

Casual buyers won’t find it there. I’ve seen them avoid the manga section of bookstores like it was teaming with lethal pathogens.

So the only reason this poor excuse for a cover could even exist is because YP knew it wouldn’t be approved of by the fans, and they would seek out the proper cover, hoping that they would bolster sales of their magazine.

Buy this book as is, and you give them leave to do the same to all of their publications. Not just the light novels, but the manga as well.

How would you all like to see your manga covers with romance style novel covers? If so, go ahead, buy this LN as is.
You are giving Yen Press leave to walk all over you.

Bweb

Just so we’re clear, Yen Press will receive no more of my money until they reverse their decision and offer us a quality copy of the Spice and Wolf Light Novel with the original art. Not just some cheap slip jacket that we have to buy their rag to obtain.

sammy

First of all, Yen Press has become my favorite manga publisher. I think they do a terrific job with translations, production quality, and the list of series they publish.

I was really, really, really, looking forward to this light novel series because most other companies either discontinue their publishing, like Seven Seas (which was really a drag because I loved Ballad of a Shinigami) or butcher the hell out of it, like Tokyopop which does a crappy job. When I saw this cover I almost died. It’s hideous, and the smile on Horo’s face creeps me the f**k out. I honestly wouldn’t like to go to Borders or B&N to pick this book up and walk around with it. I feel like I’m reading a really bad fantasy novel or a trashy romance book.

I wish YP would do the same thing as they did with the Haruhi novels. I have both hardcover editions and enjoyed them tremendously. I wouldn’t mind pay an extra 5 dollars to get the beautiful hardcover version with all of the interior images, which includes black, white, and color. I don’t want to spend money on the Yen Plus magazine just for the cover. If that ended up being the case, I won’t buy either the novel or the magazine.

I understand the publisher’s idea and wanting to market this to all readers, but you can’t forget the fans who are always looking forward to what YP is already publishing. Your returning customers are your best customers!

bitmap

“Yen Press has clearly demonstrated a lack of knowledge about the fans of the series or the opportunity to sell it.”

Oh please. Exaggerate much? Yen Press has been more consistent about being true to the fans than any other publisher out there for my money. They don’t edit their content. They keep color pages where pretty much everybody else is dropping them. Kodansha just started publishing here, and they releases their books flipped! I’d say Yen Press has demonstrated a good understanding of te fans, and I personally appreciate it.

And opportunity to sell it? Are you kidding? Show me one other publisher even TRYING to sell light novels over here anymore. Hey, I liked the light novels Seven Seas was releasing. They used all the original cover art, and guess what? They dropped everything because the books didn’t sell! So much for the loyalty and buying power of the hardcore fans! I wood much rather see Yen Press make a move like this than not get the books at all. If I get more than one or two books in te series, more power to them!

Oh, btw, I work in a B&N, and the books are going into the Fantasy section.

bitmap

sammy, if you want publishers to keep putting out books you like, not buying them isn’t gonna help.

Bweb

bitmap says: “Show me one other publisher even TRYING to sell light novels over here anymore.”

Alright, since you asked. DH Press, with 12 of the original 20 Vampire Hunter D novels released to date. All with their original covers, I might add. And vol. 13 on the way in December.

Are you telling me that they can do something Yen Press can’t?

Because if that’s the case, it’s sad testimony to the ability to deliver what the fans want.

bitmap

“Alright, since you asked. DH Press, with 12 of the original 20 Vampire Hunter D novels released to date. All with their original covers, I might add. And vol. 13 on the way in December.”

Yes, because Amano’s paintings for the D covers are clearly comparable to the manga illustrations one finds on most light novels. That must be why DH is actively pushing the light novel market forward the way they are with all the new light novels properties they’ve successfully published since D was first released four years ago.

Since light novels are clearly such a home run for the otaku market if you just use the original cover art, it’s no wonder that every other publishing house has done so well with them. I can’t wait to get my next Shana novel from Viz! Thanks for setting me straight.

Nick

bitmap:”not buying them isnt going to help”

obviously, thus some of the people here and i greatly respect the decision, will buy the original manga from japan, most ppl have already read the scans or seen the anime anyway. now this is a solid idea, because you are supporting the artist more directly (mentioned before) and you get a a unaltered product.

if yen press want to make this move to bolster sales with a new concept they feel is better by all means go ahead and do it im not saying they shouldnt im mearly saying that in the marketing they should calculate the cut in sales from people that wanted the original art or make a 2 covers, as mentioned im sure 100’s of times, people want something that looks good on there shelves.

i also have a lot of respect for the people who arnt going to buy it because of the cover, they know what they want and why submit to a company that arnt giving you what you want, its your money anyway.

personally i think alot of this could have been avoided if they had decent community managment, maybe hire someone to fill that roll cause it doent look like anyone does that.

and man im tired of the whole “otaku” stereotype from ppl who dont get it or want to get it. just because some ppl refuse certain changes, they are branded otaku in there thinking, granted there probably are a few like that but its like that for anything we just call them fanatics or addicts. alot of fans are not otaku but theres certain lines that shouldnt be crossed, and honestly given more involvment would probably have had suggestions or mutual ideas to work with, not everything is set in stone.

really its pretty simple, and without going into the process again, it breaks down to this.

people who are unhappy with the product wont buy
people who dont mind will buy

both groups are fully justified in there opinions without question, its up to yen press to decide how to balance the scale.

also on a seperate note, i love this trend always comes up, the ppl not buying get flamed by the other people for being “selfish or not understaning”
while the ppl not buying never say to the ppl that are buying that thye shouldnt buy it or that they are stupid or anything.
something ot think about it, and this happens in other areas as well not just manga.

YenPress Supporter

I am very excited for Spice & Wolf finally making it here :). Although the cover is not the original, I must say it is very eye-catching. If I see it in a display next to like, Twilight, I’m sure my friend would definitely look at it twice at least. The cover I think is very intriguing, I’m not sure why a cover matters too much to the hardcore fans as they claim to be. I would think they would see that this is simply thinking economically and from a marketing stand point. I’m sure this would provide much more sales than rather keeping the original, because simply a much larger demographic has this series presented to them. They then also get acquainted to manga. The slip jacket is also a great idea, also good call in putting it inside of YenPlus, which I always find sealed. This ensures the integrity of it!

And for those ‘hard core’ otakus, you do realize the Soul Eater and other manga series in Japan always come with a slip jacket? I would think this would make everyone more excited, it would look even more ‘Japanese-y’ if that is the only thing you truly want :|.

Mimi

awesome, so there is one novel series still going on compared to … all the others which were cancelled? Shows how well light novels sell XD

you know that Vampire Hunter D doesn’t exactly have manga style covers? 😉 And what’s more … it’s VAMPIRES, who are booming right now. Not to mention that the D movie is a real classic, which is a lot better known also to non-otakus than your average anime series. And of course DH is one of the largest comic publishers in the US, I don’t think their books end up in the manga sections all that easily.

linger

@Leafy
>You need to realize that the cover decision was not made by one guy. Many people throughout many departments spent a lot of time deciding on what the best path to take would be.

Yeah, just like the decision to invade Iraq.

An

sammy, i agree with you Yen press is also my favorite publisher and i wish they would have done the same thing they did with haruhi but if you end up not buying the light novel than spice and wolf will go the same way as a lot of other light novels. i’m ok with changing the cover but they could have done much better. i am angry at them for doing that but i am still going to buy the light novel to support spice and wolf in the US. i do hope they pick a better cover for the second volume but even if they don’t i will still buy it, i just hope they have a slip cover like the first one if they pick a crappy cover again

anon

I don’t know, the whole “we’re publishing in a niche market, so just buy everything we put out and don’t complain” thing is getting old. I appreciate the fact that light novels don’t sell all that well over here, but that doesn’t mean people shouldn’t be able to criticize. And does anyone really think Yen Press is going to reconsider the current cover? If they’re releasing the first volume in two months, it’s too late for them to change anything. Buy it or don’t. I will, but that cover’s coming off one way or another.

An

well if spice and wolf works out in the US which i pray it does then i hope Yen Press will publish toradora as well

Bweb

I can’t speak for all fans, but as a fan, I’m committed to a very particular set of aesthetics.

I ready Hassler’s interview on AoD. Essentially, he said he had no faith in fans to support this product. That’s right, that’s what it boils down to. Faith.

We had faith in Yen Press to offer us a pure, untainted product. They didn’t have faith in us to support such a venture.

Well, I went ahead to Amazon.com. I’ve canceled ALL orders I had tied to Yen Press, including the Higurashi manga. I will not buy your Spice and Wolf manga in April, because I no longer have faith in you, Yen Press, to handle such a product properly. And I won’t spend my money on a company that betrays my faith.

You couldn’t believe in your customers, Hassler. That’s what you said:

“do I stick to the light novel market where business for what’s in my cart is unsustainable, or do I take my wares to the fantasy market and hope that the customers with whom I’ve cultivated a relationship follow?”

Like Lawrence, you read the market wrong and have loaded your cart with unsellable goods, sir. And to follow in that analogy, a merchant who gives his customer bad goods can always count on his customers to look elsewhere for what they want.

In case anyone else hasn’t noticed, this hasn’t garnered a response from Hassler or anyone else from Yen since Oct. 7th. It’s been over two weeks.

They’ve made their decision.

Now lets see if they can stomach the consequences of alienating their customers, who trusted them.

You are a publisher of manga and light novels from Japan. Your core fans are people who have, for the most part, committed to a niche that many people look down on or mock.
By altering the cover of the book, you essentially did the same thing to us. You told us that what we wanted and loved wasn’t good enough for the rest of society. You, a person who says they cultivated a relationship with us, looked down on us.

Hassler

Bweb, I have nothing but the utmost respect respect for our customers and am, in fact, a fan myself. If we didn’t respect the material or the fans, we wouldn’t be in this business or even engaging in this conversation. I’m afraid you’re misrepresenting the interview you’re quoting. Anyone interested in reading the interview in it’s entirety can do so here:

http://www.mania.com/interview-kurt-hassler-yen-press_article_118122.html

The full quote you reference, however, reads:

“The market for light novels now is poor. Rock bottom, actually. Though I have dedicated and valued customers in that market, the market itself simply isn’t sufficient to support a trade in this commodity. However, there is a very vibrant market for fantasy novels – and the product I have to sell is, if packaged differently, a fantasy novel. Knowing my valued customers can just as easily buy a fantasy as a light novel, do I stick to the light novel market where business for what’s in my cart is unsustainable, or do I take my wares to the fantasy market and hope that the customers with whom I’ve cultivated a relationship follow? In simple business terms, there’s only one solution.”

As I’ve said before, had we gone with the original cover for SPICE AND WOLF, we would have no retail support for the books. Yes, fans like yourself would have bought the first book and come away happy, but without that retail support to help try to bring in new readers previously unfamiliar with the books, the sales wouldn’t be sufficient to continue the series, and we would be forced to drop it. At that point, the fans who were happy with the first book would have felt just as betrayed. This is exactly what’s happened with other light novel ventures in this market, and we’re doing everything we can to see that it doesn’t happen with this wonderful series.

As to your point that I haven’t responded to comments here in two weeks, you’re right. I haven’t. Instead, my time has been spent trying to work out a solution to give our valued customers what they’re asking for. I’m hopeful that we have a strategy in place, and assuming we can nail down the details, we’ll make an announcement. Will it make everyone happy? Almost certainly not. Sadly, you simply can’t please all of the people all of the time. But with luck, the next statement you’ll hear from me on this topic will be to disclose the steps we’re taking to address our customers concerns.

anon

You guys at Yen Press seem to be missing the point. Most of what I’m seeing here isn’t “You should have used the old cover” but rather “Why is the new cover so awful?” I don’t really want to insult whatever designer did that cover too badly, but it stinks to high heaven.

elial

>Well, I went ahead to Amazon.com. I’ve canceled ALL orders I had tied to Yen Press, including the Higurashi manga.

Cut off your nose to spite your face much?

Becca

Thank you, Hassler, for taking the time to respond. I’m in the camp of not being too, too happy with the new cover (although I still plan on buying the book because I love Holo!), so I’ll be crossing my fingers for some kind of announcement soon!

anon

Oh yeah, despite my complaints I do appreciate that you’re taking the time to discuss this with the fans and potential buyers. Publishers usually don’t bother to do that.

Nick

wow we got a response, and honestly i am one of the people pushing for the original cover HOWEVER i do get the point from yen press, in all honestly its nice to know you are taking these steps whether they please everyone or not,
but in future i think even a quick short reply stating what are you are doing would have greatly helped your standing with the fan base.
since at the rate its going alot of fans are getting annoyed with the fact that we have no feedback about our opinions and that like casting us aside.

simple, hi we have heard your responses and are working on some idea’s and may becasue of this may not respond for a few days while we work on this.
thats would really have helped.

i do suggest everyone reads that interview, the S&W stuff is at the bottom cause i knw u dnt all want to read everything.

now i dont want to be unreasonable either because honestly it gets us nowhere, its give and take.
so for me to alter my stance and im hoping the same for others is that yen press release,

1.) a list of what there idea they were comming up with are (once its done)
2.) address the main fan questions in detail (whether its what they want or not, just dont ignore it)
so with that i mean stuff like, the cover which is a big concern, id say these are the points,

2.1) why that model was used for the cover, the characteristics dont the character and the half cutting off the nose is wierd as well as the expression, granted its been done and whats done is done. so im hoping if its a case of yes we screwed up on the details you admit that.

2.2) why we have to get the slip cover with the yen mag, even if your response to bring in more money to support giving something back to the fans.

2.3) what happens for the remaining series cover art?

2.4) reason for the name change from horo to holo, and yes we can hear from 100 ppl about the L vs R in japanese a hundred times but given that virtually al lthe fan base expect it to be horo, we want to knw why you would change it to holo. try answer from a fan perspective.

2.5) tagline was apparently removed, why?

2.6) reason for not having 2 version? (cost of printing 2 books wouldnt be worth it in my guess but answer that because it was asked)

2.7) if the fans support the new change, what is the realistic pro’s for them, what do they get back in return for helping you out with this venture? if i can make a suggestion, even if you sell a decent priced art book maybe at the end of the series that would be nice, even if every volumn has a slip cover if you have a nice artbook at the end i would be willing to help out on this venture.

ID LIKE TO KNW what the other fans think of my reasoning especially 2.7.

would you support them if they answer your questions and if you get something like a artbook at the end at a decent price.

i would be cause although its not perfect you would have all the volumns with the original artwork on the slip covers and a nice artbook to complete the series.

one caution for yen press on this idea, be careful with the way you go about the slip covers, whether you sell them with the next volumns (like vol 2-3 upwards) or whether you try to sell them with your magazine.
if its with the magazine thats a extra cost for fans so the later advantage needs to be better. maybe look at other merchandice as well like OST’s or plush toys or something.

-T

I may be off on this but…

When they say “Trying to reach a new audience” I think they mean “Getting decent shelf space” You guys on here KNOW of Yen, you KNOW how to get your hands on a title you want, but someone browsing the novel section DOESN’T know.

To appease the retail stores (Boarders, B Dalton, etc etc etc) They have to have a cover that is more associated WITH NOVEL COVERS. Retailers don’t WANT to put another manga/anime covered book on a shelf to compete with all the OTHER manga/anime titles. (And from what I understand manga sales across the board are down, so why would they spend the money on something that they might end up losing on?)

Mass retailers are not going to take the time to sit down and ask each person “Which cover do you prefer?” they are going to take the cover at face value, and stock the one THEY believe will sell. A cover BASED on a traditional NOVEL FORMED COVER will be picked and stocked by the retailer because the anime covers aren’t selling near as well.

Honestly, its a damned if you do, damned if you don’t situation. Yen is working hard for a solution, and admit that none of their options will make EVERYONE happy. I think it takes some gonads to admit that up front, which to me shows how committed they are to their fans.

So really, the question is, are you willing to pass up on something you want because of a fanatical belief that a publication has been sullied by a COVER change? The insides are still the same, and the story hasn’t been modified at all. If you are, then cool. Stick by your convictions, but do not claim you are missing out.

THE STORY is the experience you want. NOT the COVER.

But that is just my theory.

The end. =D

An

also i will repost the comment and question i posted on top everyday until someone gives me an answer

MechaTama31

@hassler: “Knowing my valued customers can just as easily buy a fantasy as a light novel”

I guess we can go ahead and correct that to “assuming” instead of “knowing”. And it’s not as if your marketing changes what the book is to us. I didn’t suddenly switch from thinking of it as a “light novel” before your announcement to thinking of it as a “fantasy” afterwards. It just went from being the book I want, to being the book I want but not the way I want it. It doesn’t matter, I guess. You’ve got a business to run, and you’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. But if your decision is to not go with the original cover, then my decision will be to not buy the book. If the comments above are anything to go by, I certainly won’t be alone. However you try to word it, what this boils down to is that we existing fans don’t matter, or at least don’t matter enough. Even if it’s true, it takes some gall to ask for our support (and even try to wring more out of us for the proper cover) after you’ve marginalized us. Nobody likes being taken for granted.

Sevodax

FAILx9000+ !!!
At least make slip jackets for ALL the volumes!!I don`t like YP anymore! X(

Ralph

To Hassler:

I truly hope you take those words you just posted to heart. Yes, you won’t be able to make all fans happy, but I certainly suggest your top priority to make your ALREADY existing fans happy, not the new ones you are hoping to cash in on.

This is a very serious decision to make here and I hope you and your crew come up with a way to please what the majority of people have posted on this site. Give us BOTH options without having to subscribe to your magazine.

I can only pray our suggestions are being taken seriously, for the sake of this light novel, your company, and light novels future in the US.

Anonymous

If it’s impossible to market light novels with their original and proper covers, then how come Dark Horse is doing it?

FuturisticImagination

You guys have brought a lot of stuff over that I wanted to read: Thank you!

Regardless of my opinion of the cover, if it creates the posibility for more people to want to read it, then it helps solidify the posibility of continued releases! So, if it succeeds in bringing in a larger number of reader, the fact that I don’t think too highly of it doesn’t mean anything.

What has me depressed is the fact that people who have a subscription to the magazine but don’t want to bother with the book will have a copy of the cover and no use for it (very depressing!) Although luck would have it that my friend keeps buying the magazine for Kuroshitsuji, and so when a piece of paper falls out of her copy, she would probably be willing to hand it over.

Just to double check, the slip cover WILL be available in the in-store editions right? Because nobody else seems to think that it would only be in the subscriber only ones, but I have this sinking feeling that that was your intention. Please say no?

Anyway- I have no intention of deciding not to buy this book because of the cover. I already read a fan translation, but if the book is going to come out legitimatly, I have no excuse to not buy it. I want to support the author (who if by the way says that its ‘Holo’, I will accept that) so that there can be more S+W for me in the future! I know the despair of series being cancelled. Shakugan no Shana fell from my hands, Missing might be cancelled in the middle of ‘The Hanged Man’ arc, and The Garden of Sinners never made it past a preview! Then Kino no Tabi, I had to find an ex-library copy of the first from the United States that cost me over 50 CAD plus shipping to arrive! And I wonder how Zaregoto is fare-ing. I’m in Despair! This world in which all of the series that I love stop getting published in english has left me in DESPAIR!

So I will go out to Sakura Media, and I will buy that book in a place where the people know what its about!(I admit that it would be a bit awkward to get it in a regular store, but if Sakura Media sells out, then to Chapters it is!) And I will re-read it, cover and all! I want to support this industry in hopes that Missing and Shana can come back and finish some day! I want to support this industry in hopes that Fuyumi Ono’s Ghost Hunt/Evil Spirits Series might come over too! I want to do my part! Shame on people who cancel their orders! If you want light novels to keep being released, you need to support them in this time which they need all the support they can get. If they have to change the covers right now in order to sell them, so be it!

In the future, your ideal may be realized. When manga/anime has finally become fully mainstream, we might be able to see entire shelves in Chapters devoted to light novels, and huge sections for manga! And at that point, they would be able to print them with the original covers. Support the people who can do that for you so that in the future they will be able to do so. By being picky now, we close the future. Like how manga was published left-to-right at first, then it got itself sorted out. Hold on for a bit, and eventually your perfect world (which I too want to see) in which your cover can be intact, in which you series wont be dropped, in which saying you like manga/light novels wont give you blank stares will come!

Yen Press? Keep doing your thing. And please include the cover in the non-subscriber edition. And, y’know, pick up all my favourite series <3.

I just had all my Higurashi come in at Chapters. And imagine how happy I was to see some of the colour pages in colour. If its you guys, I know I wont be disappointed.

Danton

@ Hassler

Thanks for at least taking the time to respond. It’s re-assuring that what is said here doesn’t fall on deaf ears.

As for what you said though.

“The market for light novels now is poor. Rock bottom, actually. Though I have dedicated and valued customers in that market, the market itself simply isn’t sufficient to support a trade in this commodity. However, there is a very vibrant market for fantasy novels – and the product I have to sell is, if packaged differently, a fantasy novel. Knowing my valued customers can just as easily buy a fantasy as a light novel, do I stick to the light novel market where business for what’s in my cart is unsustainable, or do I take my wares to the fantasy market and hope that the customers with whom I’ve cultivated a relationship follow? In simple business terms, there’s only one solution.”

That is perfectly understandable, and I respect your opinion, but I, being the kind of person I am, have to disagree. Most Light Novels, in my view, fail because of a severe lack of advertising. I generally see a lot of regular novels get advertised on TV a fair amount, they sell. A fairly simple solution (albeit probably rather hard to actually pull off) is to actually do advertisements.

I’m not saying TV advertisements, what I’m suggesting is starting small like perhaps Newspapers, maybe even some website banners which you can give to fans to promote (fairly free advertising right there), or hell even your own magazine. Just start off with a fairly cost effective, low risk method of getting the book some publicity and get people interested in it, or perhaps even doing a few preview pages in an article or something. Not this crap about changing the cover that alienates both markets.

Yeah, light novels are an INCREDIBLY niche market in the West, other companies have failed miserably, but YOU at Yen Press can change that trend for the better, satisfying both your fans and your execs/investors/whatever.

The best way to be honest has been said numerous times already. Release a version that costs $5 more to have the original cover, WE WOULDN’T MIND! Honest! Really, what many people feel here, is that they’ve been cheated, many of us assumed from your fantastic work thus far would be continued, but seeing that cover and being told that the true cover is basically an extra from a $10 magazine that won’t be in print forever, that not many people outside the US can get, is disheartening, and made us sad and rather angry at the poor judgement made over this matter. I honestly do have the utmost respect for you guys for your work, but the judgement made on this matter has been extremely questionable.

nishtjak

An:”well if spice and wolf works out in the US which i pray it does then i hope Yen Press will publish toradora as well”
god, you have read my mind, some publisher needs to pick up toradora to sell but i dont see it happening any time soon.

As to the main topic itself about the cover, i dont actually mind it that much, even though the original one is sooooo much better and i would have preferred the novel to have the original cover, but alas, unless YP can come up with some magical cover or have 2 prints for the book, one with this cover and one with the original.

Hassler:” Instead, my time has been spent trying to work out a solution to give our valued customers what they’re asking for. I’m hopeful that we have a strategy in place, and assuming we can nail down the details, we’ll make an announcement”
I wonder what this strategy is.

An

@Hassler, what the hell are you talking about “As I’ve said before, had we gone with the original cover for SPICE AND WOLF, we would have no retail support for the books.” if this was true then the haruhi light novels would have failed by now but it did’t, infact the hardcover is doing much better then the paperback cover. you guys could have done the same thing you did with haruhi but no you had to pick one of the worst covers i have ever seen. it is too late to change the damn thing now but let me ask one thing, why couldn’t you do the same thing you did with haruhi?

Bweb

So I spent yesterday browsing the Fantasy and Sci-Fi sections of our town’s bookstore, and I paid close attention to the covers.

I saw nothing akin to the proposed eyesore.

I saw the novels of Piers Anthony. Gorgeous covers. Nothing badly photoshopped.

I saw the Harry Potter novels, whose original jacket illustrations, and let’s be honest about this, aren’t that dissimilar artistically from the original Spice and Wolf cover.

I saw the Twilight series. Their bestselling covers are nothing akin to the artwork on this.

Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series? Nothing like this.

Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle? Nope. Nothing alike.

Inkheart? I don’t see a kinship.

I could go on, but I think I’ve covered the big ones.

If this lurid cover was aimed at the fantasy audience, I’m not seeing it. Not even in that section of the bookstore.

You could have done a variety of alternate covers and had your fans vote on which one they found most appealing. You could have offered the alternate version as a hardback, as you did with Haruhi Suzumiya. You could have even taken one of the stylized illustrations used at the end of the Ringo Hiyori song at the end of the show.

Instead, you offer up this?

I maintain, the fans were shown zero respect. And the insult added to injury was your offer of putting the cover we would have wanted in your magazine, which many people indicated they would not be able to obtain readily, and which those of us who could would have had to shell out even more money to repair your damaged goods.

You say you’re working on an alternate proposal. I will withhold judgment until I see what you offer.

However, you wouldn’t have to offer up anything different if you’d understood the desires of your loyal customers in the first place. You would have gotten it right the first time.

Bweb

An says: “the haruhi light novels would have failed by now but it did’t, infact the hardcover is doing much better then the paperback cover. you guys could have done the same thing you did with haruhi but no you had to pick one of the worst covers i have ever seen. it is too late to change the damn thing now but let me ask one thing, why couldn’t you do the same thing you did with haruhi?”

I think the answer is within the question. You say the hard cover is doing better than the altered soft cover of Haruhi. I don’t know if that’s accurate or not, but I believe it is.

I wager that they’re losing money on the altered softcovers, because they can’t charge enough for the hardcovers to still have the costs of the softcovers, well, covered.

That means, it’s unprofitable for them to offer both, because we as fans have made it quite clear where our interests lie.
They don’t feel they can “branch out” with the original novel covers.
And apparently, offering two is unprofitable.

So, they decided not to give us a choice in the matter. Print only the altered softcover. And then, anticipating (but not by nearly enough) the fan backlash, they decided we could have our original cover. But not by shelling out $5 more for a hardcover, but $10 more to support their magazine and boost its sales.

Danton says: “Most Light Novels, in my view, fail because of a severe lack of advertising.”

Exactly. You can’t sell a book by hoping that people will see it. In this age, word of mouth simply isn’t enough.

I’ve never seen light novels anywhere but the anime/manga section of stores, except once, when our book store told me that the Strawberry Panic LN were in the GLBT section of the store (where I can guarantee you, I wasn’t going to find it).

Wolf

Yen Press is really amazing, with their consistent quality( like always including the color pages and notes) Yen Press is so far, the one one whose trying its best to make light novels a big hit. I admire that, and I welcome it. ^_^ I agree with Bweb, you should use your already cover, you can’t please everybody, but people are the voters. Even if they say they won’t vote for this guy behind closed doors you never know whose going to fully back up their statement. I’ve ALSO never seen a light novel in stores before. I tried looking for the Haruhi novels and all I found was the manga( that’s great but I wanted the novel)

Wolf

P.S I hope Yen Press thinks of picking up the Rental Magica light novels. I loved the anime, but I also want to know what happened after the ending.^_^

Bweb

Wolf says: “I agree with Bweb, you should use your already cover,”

Which isn’t what I said.

I said they WOULD use this horrid cover, because in all likelihood they already have the stockpile printed.

But they didn’t take fans into account, and any claims that they did is utterly laughable on face value.

BTW, I’ve listed quite a few popular selling fantasy novels whose covers are nothing akin to the eyesore offered. I’ve yet to see someone offer an example of something so butt-ugly as a cover, and one that was successful at the same time.

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