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

Iduno

Bweb and Danton have pretty much elaborated on everything I’ve said and wanted to say.

Except I’m going to go down the more cynical route and am just going to outright say that holding the origional cover hostace ith the december issue of yenplus is just a dirty way for them to raise magazine sales.

An

@Bweb what you are saying is also true but the papercover is not far behind the hardcover in places like barens and noble and borders, and they are both big companies.
evey time i go to the B&N website and check on the sale ranking of haruhi paper and hardcover they are both doing well, the hardcover is about 10000 to 15000 and the paperback is 20000 to 25000 in rank which is not bad at all considering B&N sell millions of other books.
But the answer i want is not from you but from the people working at yen press, but ur answer is not bad at all

mini

“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.”

It would seriously help if those fans would also read what has already been posted. Yen Press has answered several times already, on here and in at least one other forum, which has been linked on here as well. And several of your questions (the apparent name change, why in yen+) have already been answered as well, some even several times already oO;;

How many times is Yen Press supposed to repeat themselves before the fans at least read what they wrote x_x

Pedro

Hassler , there is one question that suddenly popped in my mind. What would happen if the sales of the novel fail even with this cover?

Bweb

mini says: “It would seriously help if those fans would also read what has already been posted. Yen Press has answered several times already”

Except that they haven’t. All they’ve said is “We’re working on something that hopefully will be an acceptable solution”, followed by the assertion that it probably won’t make everyone happy.

As one person pointed out, it SHOULD focus on making the majority of existing fans, rather than hypothetical ones, happy.

However, there have been no details as to what that is.

Now, perhaps Hassler doesn’t want to provide details because if they decide the solution to fix the mess of their own making isn’t “cost effective”, they won’t do it anyway. Nothing worse for them than raising hopes after engaging in this debacle in the first place only to dash them again and forever alienate those who might be willing to forgive.

I still haven’t seen any justification as to why such an ugly, obviously amateur photoshopped cover was the choice they went with.
There are plenty of fantasy artists who do covers for fantasy novels regularly that they could have chosen if they wanted to market to the fantasy audience. I’ve listed examples before.
Nowhere in a bookstore will you see something so blatantly unprofessional gracing a cover of a book that sells well.
I mean, if a photo cover were so important to them, they could have descended on any anime convention, grabbed the best Lawrence and Horo cosplayers they could find, stick them on a horse drawn cart, take the shot, and submit that as a cover.

Pedro says: “What would happen if the sales of the novel fail even with this cover?”

I think it would be better to say, “Because of this cover”, because, as I indicated, you won’t find anything so utterly bad in fantasy section of the book store. And I’m not referring to the nudity, but to the execution.

Don’t take my word for it, though. All of you, go to your local bookstores and peruse the fantasy sections. Report back here if you find ANY covers done so blatantly badly.

hydra

I agree with Bweb, though I won’t go as far as him in condemning Yen Press for trying to attract more readers to the whole light novel scene instead of catering to fans’ demands. I’ll still buy the first volume like I’d planned, since I don’t want to punish them for making a stupid decision as far as the godawful new cover goes. They’re doing their best to get Spice and Wolf over to the US, after all, and they’d probably like to make a profit on it as well.

It seems to me YP could have solved this problem by printing the novel with the original cover and putting the new cover on a slip jacket around the paperback. That way, I could buy the novel and throw the jacket away instead of having to look at this deformed thing on the cover every time I pick it up. Maybe I’ll just wrap duct tape around it or something.

Evie

I don’t think Yen Press should be paying attention to any of the haters on here and I hope they don’t. The light novel market is definitely broken. All I have to do is look at my shelves to see the number of series that have never been finished for the proof.

I like the new cover. I want light novels to reach out to new readers. Keep doing what you’re doing Yen Press!

TC-man

Well, I have finally found a fan made artwork of Horo from Spice & Wolf which is perhaps the only one without the manga/anime feel (this is supposed to be the reason why the original cover is changed with the “more mature” cover of Yen Press).

The link to the artwork:
http://technicalsolitude.wordpress.com/tag/spice-wolf/

If this artwork was used for the Spice & Wolf light novel cover, I think no-one would have protested (or at least less people would have prostested). Yes, there’s some “minor” nudity, but most people who has posted here are not against the nudity, but the execution of the Yen Press’cover for the light novel.

As someone already has said marketing is a better method to promote the light novel, e.g. make use of the fact that the author of this light novel has won a literary prize (Dengeki Novel Prize – silver) for this Spice & Wolf light novel. This already makes the light novel more attractive for new readers and potential buyers of the book. With the notion “wow, this novel has won a prize, it must be that good” will probably win over/persuade more people to buy the novel than using a new cover alone.

If I am right Yen Press’ site has not once said something about the author of the novel himself, Isuna Hasekura, in details (biography) and the fact what he has won a literary prize for the Spice & Wolf light novel. It would have been nice for the fans and new readers/any potential buyers if Yen Press can provide more info about the author, his works and some extra details (do the same with the mangaka and other authors of light novels too). Give more reasons to readers why he/she should buy the novel, knowing more about the author is a good start.

Bweb

Evie says: “I don’t think Yen Press should be paying attention to any of the haters on here and I hope they don’t.”

Yes. By all means, ignore those of us who had a vested interest in spending money on the proper version of this product.

Evie says: “The light novel market is definitely broken. All I have to do is look at my shelves to see the number of series that have never been finished for the proof”

How many of those were never properly advertised? Or relegated to the anime/manga section of the bookstore?

And, for that matter, how many were light novels for series where the manga had already been released? Not many of us were going to turn out to buy the same story twice.

Kino no Tabi, for example. The only reason I knew that was released was because I stumbled onto it in bookstores while looking for a manga that started with a “K”. No one announced its release. No one advertised it.

Vampire Hunter D, on the other hand, has had more than half the series printed so far, with more on the way, and until recently, there was no manga for the title, meaning we didn’t have to worry about buying the same story twice.

And the Slayers light novels got quite a few volumes out. Eight volumes, I believe.

And the ongoing Haruhi series? Sales of the original covers top the altered softcovers. Not surprising. Fans turn out to support the original art, while typical readers are turned away by the foreign names they can’t pronounce.

Spice and Wolf has something in common with Slayers and Vampire Hunter D in that it has many characters with Western sounding names, making crossover more likely.
But NOT with that eyesore.

Still waiting for anyone to show me a best selling title with an obviously (and amateurish) photoshopped cover.

Julais

Nice that it’s coming out in English! Not too hot ’bout the cover dominated with a darkened nude, because that supposed tail isn’t very tail-like, nor is it well suggested that it belongs to the female. New readers won’t know that’s her tail, and they’ll just see a partially obscured naked girl, probably lying on her back on some clothe. I mean, why not do a back shot of the same girl? She can still be naked and it’ll be clear with the tail business. I don’t know why she has to be naked in the first place, especially when it’s all blacked out like that. What’s the point?

Ralph

@ Evie:

There is a reason most light novels are axed over here. Mostly for the reasons that the fans are posting in this thread are trying to keep Spice & Wolf from going down that route. Here let me list them again for you and everyone else in case they weren’t paying attention.

1) Give free internet advertisements for fans on their websites. This is #1 as no one can sell a book nowadays by word of mouth
2) Always print ORIGINALs first and then sell/throw in/add the new “proposed” content on the side. No one is going to complain about giving them a 100% original product with an extra on the side in case the original isnt to your tastes. What they did here was a complete 180 that was sure to backfire from the start.
3) Do not try to up sell a product one of YOUR own products in a product that isn’t yours. AKA Yen Press trying to get more people to buy their magazine just for the REAL cover that should have been used in the first place.
4) Trying to cater to a market when that market doesn’t exist in the first place. No offense, but the people who are going to buy Spice & Wolf are just that and that only, Spice and Wolf fans. And if YP thinks that this is going to be unprofitable then no offense, the series shouldn’t have been localized in the first place.

Does it hurt for me to have to say that last one, you bet it does. I more than anyone else want to see this great product over here. But only if its going to be the ORIGINAL product sans text translation/localization. I could care less about an “r” and “l” getting switched. What I do mind is seeing some cheesy pseudo-pornographic cover of a horrible looking female with horse teeth being replaced over the author and illustrators original vision for what the main character/draw should be for the audience.

To sum it all up. Wise up YP. You fudged up and thats okay, but now you are going to pay the penalty for not being more market-friendly first. It wouldnt have killed you to put a poll on your website or an article in your beloved magazine asking what people thought before doing this. And now it is going to bite you in the butt. Thats marketing I guess. Better luck for the next novel series America.

Axed Light Novels List:
Full Metal Panic. This makes me so sad. One of the best stories I’ve ever read and we are stuck with only 3 of the 10 books.

Crest/Banner of the Stars. This saddens me even more since its impossible to read even in Japanese because the author made an entirely fictional language using nothing but kanji.

Shakugan no Shana. Doomed from the start due to a certain companies terrible advertising and self-promotion of their OEL manga. Hrmm sounds like a company and their magazine.

Good Witch of the West. My little sister loved this one. Such a shame.

Karin-Chibi Vampire. Don’t know too much about this one.

So where does that leave us? Haruhi, Spice and Wolf, and Shakugan no Shana. Good luck to you three.

Iduno

” I want light novels to reach out to new readers. Keep doing what you’re doing Yen Press!”

In that case wouldn’t you want a cover that does actualy reach out to new readers rather then just switching niche?

AS

I’m a S&W fan from Czech Republic and while I’m 100% positive of the thought of promoting light novels for new readers, so series won’t have to be put on hiatus or stop, I also want everybody to see that my book that travelled across the entire Atlantic Ocean to me, is a manga work. I don’t care if anyone think bad of me for reading manga. It’s not easy here in Czech Rep, most of my friends, classmates are untouched by manga/anime and think something bad about them and peson who reads them, but still letting everyone know that you’re manga fan is great feeling for me.

MechaTama31

Bweb: But the confusing part is, if you have two versions, and one is failing so miserably that even the success of the other version can’t prop it up, why would you base your next release on the failure rather than the success?

Bweb

@ MechaTama31,

I can only assume they believe the one version didn’t do as well because the other existed at all. They thought we would just roll over and take it if they said we could have the proper cover by essentially spending $20 for a book that, much as I love the series, is not worth $20.

Makes me wonder if they weren’t basing that decision on stereotypes of otaku.
“Sure, they’ll shell out the extra $10 for the cover. They’re otaku. They’ll spend money on anything related to their favorite titles.”

hydra

Ralph – I really disagree that Spice and Wolf can’t appeal to readers outside of its current fanbase. All it needed was a good amount of advertising. Yen Press is right in trying to break out of the smaller hardcore group of readers, I just think they’re going about it the wrong way. There’s no reason it shouldn’t appeal to other people.
I don’t even understand the whole “manga/anime” community thing anyway. I don’t base what I read on what country the author’s from but rather the quality of the work. If people approach Spice and Wolf as simply good writing instead of “one of those weird Japanese things”, a lot of them would enjoy it. Though with that new cover, I wonder how many people will even bother.

Bweb

Since Yen has been very slow in announcing the details of their “solution”, I thought we could speculate at what they might have come up with.

1. Sending the cover to anyone who provides proof of purchase of the novel. Pro: We get our cover. Con: That abomination is still under it, and we have to wait until it arrives in the mail (Plus, we don’t know what quality material it is printed on, either. Is it a glossy cover, or a cheap paper one)

2. They could wrap their cover around a few volumes and stick them in the manga section. Pros and Cons remain the same.

3. Many have been clamoring for a hardcover variant ala Haruhi Suzumiya. I support this idea, but let’s face it, it’s probably the least likely, and even if they went for it, it’ll be months more before we see it.

4. A softcover variant is produced. Again, there would be a delay in its release. And again, not likely.

But the fact is, none of these address yet another question I’ve seen asked and not answered repetitively.
Just what is Yen Press planning on doing for the second volume’s cover? Will it be another lousy photoshop? Will it be a professionally done cover via one of the renowned fantasy artists? Or will it be the original cover for vol 2 from Japan?

Khellamendra

I can understand trying to reach a new audience I really can. As someone majoring in Graphic Design I know how that all goes. At the same time I can spot a crappy cover a mile away and this is most certainly one of them. It’s badly photoshopped for one thing and I can’t help but think there is something wrong with her face. Really it’s just the teeth, there is something horribly wrong with it.

Over all it just looks like an amaetur fantasy novel. For a company that wants to up the sales you would think they would go with a much more professional cover. Not only that but it doesn’t actually say anything about the story nor the character of Horo. It looks more like it probably contains porn than anything else and what does that say about anyone that brings that book to the counter? It doesn’t send a proper message and parents would certainly be less than likely to buy it for their teenagers.

Who is YenPress trying to fool? The thing has manga illustrations in them which people will see when they flip through the book. The book cover is what gets people to pick the book up which is not the same as buying it. It gets people to look at the book to determine if they want to buy it. They’ll read the description (and probably a page or two) and see what the book is about. If they aren’t into it already then some amateur cover won’t fix that. Plus chances are bookstores will do what it does with all the other light novels I’ve ever seen (which have kept their original covers btw) in the manga section so it defeats the purpose.

It’s rather suspicious how Yen Press includes the original sleeve but only if you buy their magazine (or whatever it is). I’m sure a large portion of fans of the series will buy the product just for this because they don’t want to look at this abomination either (not that I blame you). How very clever YenPress, you’ve found a way to con more money out of people by offering up a crappy cover and then a sleeve to cover it with.

If you’re serious about this whole ‘capture a new audience’ thing then you’ve struck out. I’d go back to the drawing board if I were you but until then please don’t release that atrocity. It’s an insult to the people who buy your products.

Bweb

Apparently, despite a lack of profanity, one of my posts didn’t make it through.

So let’s try this again.

One month ago to this day, Hassler indicated that they would be working on a solution.
Six days ago, he indicated that they were still working on it.

It seems to me that in this digital age, it seems somewhat unfeasible that they haven’t already gotten it ready to go and announced what they were planning.

Hassler has also stated “So while existing fans might have been happy with the packaging, they would have had a very difficult time ever finding the book”

So, we couldn’t have found the book at online retailers such as Amazon.com, or the websites of various retailers such as Barnes and Nobles, Borders, or Books-a-Million?

Insulting, to say the least.
But then, this whole affair has been highly insulting.

mini

>Just what is Yen Press planning on doing for the second volume’s cover?

As I already said. I’d highly advice them to do some kind of Fanart contest on DeviantArt etc. Because there are really *a lot* of talented artists on there, who’d probably do the work for free just out of love for drawing and the series itself (and of course having the honor to be on the cover).

For example: http://zpolice.deviantart.com/art/Fan-Art-Spice-and-Wolf-77554990

Imho this is way better than the original covers in fact. And I’m sure there are enough artists on there who can draw in realistic or kind of “fantasy abstract” style as well.

Azuri

The cover is just HORRIBLE. I live in Europe AND I can buy the Y+…BUT! It’s far too expensive. I mean JUST importing the book is 20$ and the Y+ is another 20$ >_< And if I have to buy every Y+ for the original covers… It doesn't worth that much, but I have to buy it because the new art is so ugly (and pervert)
It's okay if a porn book has got cover like this, but this is a fantasy novel!

Khellamendra

I don’t know why this didn’t occur to me sooner but bweb’s post reminded me of something.

YenPlus claims that light novels don’t do very well in the American market and I sure they don’t when compared to other types of literature. While, once again, I understand the need to try and reach out to a new market, if the market you have right now is not that great to begin with you really don’t want to do anything that is going to run off the majority of the customers you do have.

Right now you have a fanbase who is/was looking forward to this. You had guaranteed sales that are now disappearing because people do not like this cover and it also sounds like a lot of the fans who didn’t pre-order are in danger of not buying the book when it becomes available to them. While attempting to reach out to a new market your losing the one you already have. You’re attempting to take a big risk that’s in danger of failing.

There was nothing wrong with the original cover and as I said, putting some amateur cover is not going to cover up what the book really is. You would do better to simply keep the old cover and work on advertising the book instead of the solution you’ve come up with. A company doesn’t stick around very long if they only come up with lazy solutions that make them a quick buck, the company needs to look at the long term.

It’s easy to bring back existing customers, they know what your products are and they feel they can trust you. Once you alienate your existing customers you’ll find it difficult to stay in business. Also remember word of mouth is a powerful thing, especially on the internet. It can be both good and bad for a business and if enough people are bothered by this, they’ll spread it. There are reasons we like Spice and Wolf and it’s as much the story as it is the art which is specific to the country it came from and the genre. Why you would want to remove that and ‘Americanize’ it makes no sense to me.

In short, think about the customers and what they want. You can reach new customers but not by tricking them and that’s what you’re doing, trying to trick them.

linger

In regards to what people are saying about with the Haruhi books, I looked for some numbers online.

Amazon sale rank of (cheaper) Haruhi paperback with redesigned cover: #154,362 in Books
Amazon sale rank of (more expensive) Haruhi hardcover with original cover: #125,944 in Books

linger

Actually, that seems to be inaccurate, since the Volume 1 Paperback doesn’t seem to have a listing on amazon.com, and the link the the “Paperback edition” is the manga Vol 1. But the second “Sigh of Haruhi Suzumiya” still has it’s paperback edition up, and it has even more dramatic numbers.

Amazon sale rank of (cheaper) Haruhi paperback with redesigned cover: #49,203 in Books
Amazon sale rank of (more expensive) Haruhi hardcover with original cover: #16,919 in Books

Demio

Spend an extra $10 on the “limited edition slip jacket”, problem sloved.

An

my mine is going back and forth on this cover
i hate it so much but every time i let my anger out i feel bad afterwards.
come YP you’re my favorite publisher for a reason but what you’re doing with this cover is bad enough to make me change my mine about how good you guys really are.
im sure im not the only one thinking this.
i’m not sure if you guys are really tring to fix this or not but i think that if this happens with the 2nd S&W then a lot of fans will stop supporting you.
i’m not sure if i will be amoung them or not but i do know that if this happens again the chanses of me buying the 2nd volume is very little.
if you guys want to change the cover then pick a better one and let us know before its too late so if fans don’t like it then you would have enough time to change it.
make a vote or something its doesn’t matter just fine a way that makes money nd make the fans happy.
i still think the best idea is the same one i’ve been sying this whole time.
do what you did with the haruhi light novels.make both a hardcover with the original art on it and a paperback one with your cover, that way everyone will be happy.
knowing how popular Spice and Wolf is, the 2 cover idea will work fine just like it did with haruhi.

Chococat

Okay, seriously? I have read at least a third of this page and all the whiners are making me sick, seriously sick.

First of all, boycotting the book because of a cover change is both silly and immature. Silly, first, because you’re helping to kill the light novel market they’re trying to create right there. Immature because you’re holding a tantrum because you’re getting blue shoes instead of navy when they are the exact same thing in function design (i.e. the inside of the book).

Don’t respect you? What do you mean YenPress doesn’t /respect/ you? It’s doing its best to provide accurate translations and release a title you know and love to the market mean absolutely nothing? Sure, the cover is a bit of a swap, but as it has been stated, the original cover would alienate new fans, the kind that lump Asian productions into one hideously and derisively terms pile called ‘anime’, often said with a sneer or lack of interest, so biased are they from detached opinion or exposure that they give no regard to literary merit.

For the cover itself, who are you (the whiners and complainers) to say that the picture is ‘poorly done’? Match yourself in the program first before you whine so much about how it looks ‘hideous’ and ‘atrocious’ and ‘of poor quality’. Attack not for the artistic merit for, where it may be flawed, there are many things worse. If you disapprove, do so more intelligently for the basis that it is misleading on content. Honestly, stop throwing such hissy fits. Being constipated little children wailing about how the change pains you so much is being disrespectful to /them/. Before you demand respect, earn it. YenPress did not have to license Spice & Wolf, they could have picked another well-deserving title from the sea of opportunity. (And throwing around such hateful terms like ‘abomination’ do very little to help your side of things anyway, as mindless hate and attacks are not constructive and frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if they were ignored on the lack of credibility in such a statement.)

On the cover sleeve: sure, it’s a bit sneaky to include the sleeve in their magazine, fine. But they’re trying to provide while also looking out for themselves. If they loose too much money on this gamble with light novels, in a worst case scenario, the whole company could fall and then who would you have the snap about but yourselves for your elitist purism in refusing to support the localization of a beloved title. Manga sales are lower and, in a more stable economy perhaps they could have found a way to bundle them together, but right now they can’t. Suck it up, at least they are providing it.

Side-Note: Statistically, formal advertising in the promotion of books has done terribly little for sales. Books are mostly promoted by reviews and word of mouth and that’s it. Stop complaining that the lack of advertising is what strangled the market and ‘oh, Vampire D is a success’. Dark Horse is a comic giant with a slew of licenses and a whole mess of things to bank on as well as picking a series from a hot genre. It is unfair to compare so critically on such different levels.

Side-Note the Second: Unless you have a degree in marketing comparable to business levels, I suggest you not criticize so openly without hardcore evidence to support yourself, because otherwise you come off as bitter and juvenile.

/Why/ ought they produce the originals first? Just to please a bunch of whiners? That’s ostracizing the intended audience from the get-go. Target the the wider spectrum of people first and hope for a few bites before you can narrow your focus to a few species of fans. Once a book has been out for a while, it’s no longer ‘hot and new’ and less-likely to attract new readers. It won’t be on prominent shelves for new releases, it will be stuffed into a side-slot begging for someone to have interest in its title. Be intelligent rather than demanding a company to kneel and kiss your feet before it thinks about its own survival.

You may be the ‘hardcore’ fans, but you are few in number compared to masses; and if you really cared about the actual literary product, you’d buy it and find other ways to conceal ‘the abomination on the front’.

Grow up.

Bweb

Chococat says: “sure, it’s a bit sneaky to include the sleeve in their magazine, fine. But they’re trying to provide while also looking out for themselves.”

They would have us paying $20 for a book that isn’t worth $20. That alone should indicate just how much they “care” about their customers.

Chococat ALSO says: “/Why/ ought they produce the originals first? Just to please a bunch of whiners? That’s ostracizing the intended audience from the get-go. Target the the wider spectrum of people first and hope for a few bites before you can narrow your focus to a few species of fans. Once a book has been out for a while, it’s no longer ‘hot and new’ and less-likely to attract new readers.”

Why, you ask? Because they built their company on the backs of fans, and again, I maintain the following:

1. The original cover is not that different artistically from titles like Harry Potter, the supposed target audience of this abominable desecration.

2. There are no best-selling covers as horribly, amateurishly executed as this particular eyesore.

They aren’t pulling new readers in with this atrocity. Even one of their defenders, Katherine Dacey at Manga Critic, compares it to “bad werewolf porn”.

http://mangacritic.com/?p=2105&cpage=1

And I guarantee you, that’s exactly what browsers are going to think when they see it.
Only people interested in “bad werewolf porn” will even pick it up to look at it. And browsing a few pages or the description on the back, they’ll discover it isn’t what they thought it was.
Then they’ll put it back.

If they wanted to push it to new customers, this second grader effort at photoshopping isn’t going to get the job done.

Khellamendra

Whining about the whiners is still whining, just in case people have forgotten that.

Let’s start with the boycott. Boycotting something is one of the most effective ways to get someone’s attention. You can write up huge posts all you want, send as many letters and e-mails as you can dream up, but none of that really means much. They don’t have to listen to a bunch of words, they can hit delete and throw the paper away. Hitting them where it hurts, with money, is a good way to make them pay attention and listen to what’s going on. As far as getting someone’s attention, it’s pretty smart. When it comes to killing the light novel market, it’s rather ironic no? YenPress tries to reach out to a new market and as a result alienates their original market. It’s like I said, if the market is bad, it’s best to stick with the one you have. Trying to get customers is risky and in the process you do not want to lose the ones you have. That way if you don’t get that many new customers at least you have your old ones to fall back on. Silly or not, customers vote with their money and if they don’t want to spend what money they can on that, then I don’t really see that as immature. Our economy isn’t that great so why spend money on something you’re not happy with? Why set the company up to later screw you over again? The fans want to let YenPress know where they stand now so that they won’t be disappointed in the future. Silly or not, appearances count for a lot. Most people won’t try a food that looks unappetizing even if it’s the best tasting dish in the world.

Now to the whole respect, lumping things in together. I can’t say much about respect, I don’t think I really mentioned it and I don’t expect a company to really care about me specifically. As far as lumping it all together, you can put whatever cover you want on it, it’s not going to change what it actually is. It is still from Japan, it still has manga illustrations, and the story is still the same. If people weren’t a fan of that stuff before, this is not going to change it. The cover didn’t magically change the story into a more western one. Not only that but they’ll probably get an idea of what they think the story will be about, read the back, and glance through the book before putting it down. In the end YenPress will probably only have the same type people but it probably will end up being lower because of the cover. I guess some people don’t want to just lap up whatever is thrown to them and want companies to know that we’re not people that will eager take whatever they offer us no matter what it is. That’s just asking for trouble in the future. We accept this now so who knows how much worse it would get in the future. Nip it in the bud now while it’s small. That is far more intelligent I would think.

About your Sidenote: It’s true, word of mouth and reviews are the way to go. Here’s the thing though, it seems a lot of those reviews and word of mouth are pretty bad. The new cover is giving them bad advertisement right now, just another thing they should consider. Whether you agree with the assessment or not, it’s what people are saying and bad advertisement is not good.

Your sidenote 2: As someone who has had to look at business statistics several times over to create an effective advertisement campaign, whose had to design book covers, and spent time and money on classes discussing and critiquing what does and doesn’t work with fellow students and professors (who are in the business themselves and have been for years), I think I know a thing or two about how it goes. It doesn’t matter if the company truly agrees, it’s what the customers want, they’re what gives the company money. The main problem is that YenPress is trying to change its psychographic, or rather the cover tries to draw in a different psychograph while the inside is for an entirely different psychograph. This, to me, makes no sense.

Lastly as far as being few in numbers compared to the masses, you don’t actually know that, you’re just guessing like anyone else. For YenPress’s sake I hope you are right.

hydra

Hey Chococat, way to lump every single person with a complaint about the cover into an imaginary mass of whining, crying spoiled fans. I do see some posts of the type you’re bringing up, the ones that say “I absolutely won’t buy the book now/Yen Press betrayed us/etc.” I think that’s taking the whole thing way too far, since it’s just the cover we’re talking about.

Honestly, I do support the idea of Yen Press using a new, less anime-ish looking cover to attract readers from outside the small circle of established fans. But that new cover truly is awful. You almost seem to be suggesting that anyone who criticizes it has to be able to drawing a better cover themselves (I think, it’s hard to tell with the way you worded it) but that’s a pretty vacuous argument. Example – if you taste a really bad cake, you don’t have to be a baker to know it’s bad, you can just tell. Same goes with art, at least to a certain extent.

It’s kind of sad that people are making such a big thing out of the cover, though. I’m still buying the first volume of Spice and Wolf. If I can’t get my hands on a copy of Yen Press (since I’ve never actually seen a copy anywhere) I’m going to wrap the cover with duct tape and hope YP gets the message and tries a different approach with the cover next time.

Ralph

@Chococat:

Alas you seem to fail to realize the rule of a business.

It has to sell. As of now it won’t. This has been discussed to death countless times already on these comments. Buy the book if you want. Countless others of us refuse to support a company that doesn’t even want to ask its EXISTING fans what would be the best move for a product that will ONLY sell in its specific niche even if they had an awesome and better cover and put it in another section.

It is as simple as that.

Anzu

Poor thing, but YenPlus only available at the USA, so the fans in Europe has 0% chance for the original cover. What about them?

I think the original is far better than this “thing”. I don’t want to hide the cover with a newspaper… °/\°

Nia

All you complainers out there are so childish. It’s not like Yen Press is also changing the genders of the characters or something. They just want Spice and Wolf to be more POPULAR. If you whiners out there really do love your Spice and Wolf then you’ll let other people( especially those outside the manga community) know why you guys love it so much! And this is what I don’t get, is that you guys have already seen the main girl almost all nude in anime form, and yet you guys don’t back on the insults on this cover?! –__– LIVE OUTSIDE THE ANIME WORLD FOR ONCE YOU BRATS

Bweb

Nia says: “And this is what I don’t get, is that you guys have already seen the main girl almost all nude in anime form, and yet you guys don’t back on the insults on this cover?!”

Apparently, you haven’t been paying attention. It isn’t about the nudity. It’s about the way it’s presented.

The way this cover is presented is reminiscent not of fantasy novels, which is the suggestion of Hassler and Yen Press. It is reminiscent, and only vaguely at best, of tawdry cheap romance novels.

And even those aren’t blatantly bad Photoshop works.

It’s a poor presentation, and it looks like a badly rushed art job, probably to have the light novel, with new “non-manga” cover on store shelves at the same time that the DVD arrives.
Which, in itself is silly. If Yen Press is so intent on finding non anime crowds to sell this to, why is the release date set one week prior to the release of the DVD set?

Nia also says: “If you whiners out there really do love your Spice and Wolf then you’ll let other people( especially those outside the manga community) know why you guys love it so much!”

The people will never know why we love it so much, because they aren’t likely to watch the anime, and as discussed by several of us at great length, they aren’t likely to pick up such a lousy piece of cover art.
As I mentioned before, even a person who defended Yen Press’ decision to alter the cover couldn’t bring themselves to call the cover good. They compared it to “bad werewolf porn.”

Tell me, how many people do you see clamoring to purchase a book that they think is probably “bad werewolf porn”? Even REAL bad werewolf porn doesn’t sell.

Those who do pick up this new cover will expect it to be something it’s not. When they see it isn’t what they were hoping for, they’ll put it back down.

And, as I pointed out earlier, Hassler said way back on the 29th of September that they were working on a solution to the problem. On the 23rd of October, he claimed they were still working on it.

And still, there has been no announcement as to what it might be.
The book is due out in a little over a month.
If you want to try and win back fans who have Christmas shopping to do and money to allocate now, I’d get to announcing that solution pretty soon.

MechaTama31

Chococat: I love how you call us “constipated little children”, and then in the same paragraph preach that “mindless hate and attacks are not constructive”. You rock.

And to everybody whining about the “whiners”: The cover is a part of the product. How important a part it is will vary from person to person, but for me and apparently many others, it is important enough that we no longer consider the book worth purchasing. We have the right to make that decision, and to make our concerns known to Yen Press. If you don’t mind the cover, good for you. But that’s your opinion. It doesn’t mean you get to pretend that ours doesn’t matter.

Ralph

@Bewb:

Thanks for summing that up for me. Apparently people don’t like to look at how the real world of business works and I didn’t feel like typing out all that explaining that you already did.

So where do we stand now? Less then a month to go and still no announcement. Christmas time is coming up as well as the release of the new DVDs. This would be a REALLY REALLY good time to start releasing some information we would like to hear YP.

Oh and by the way. For those of you who feel the need to spend an extra $10 or whatever it is going to cost to get a cheesy slip cover to go on your novel I suggest you run to your nearest Barnes & Noble, Border’s, Waldenbooks, or any other major store that sells lots of magazines and ask them if they carry YenPress magazine. The B&N in my area (DFW) no longer stock it. So make sure your area has a copy of it. It would be stupid to lay down all the money for a subscription to YP now and not get the magazine in time.

Still waiting for the news YP. Hope we get to hear something soon.

Silver

I understand what Yen Press is trying to do here, but I honestly don’t think this cover would appeal to anyone outside the anime community in the first place in my honest opinion. (And I certainly don’t appreciate it – it would be better without the strange grin on her face. Just dark that out entirely.) I wouldn’t mind a cover change as long as it was “pretty” or “cool” or even “plain” looking, but this is none of those, face it, and I along with many fans, CLEARLY do not approve. I certainly hope Yen Press decides to release the original artwork for the other novels as well.

fragonman

…yet another thing i CANT buy cuz i would be afraid to be judged for it. plus i couldnt read it at school which is where i read everything because of it…oh well…whatever. i agree with a change though. it would not bring in more people with the original cover (even with support from other people by word of mouth). i also agree with bweb about the cover (win)

InTraining

o man, just got the December issue, and im gonna say the execution in delivering this new slip cover, not done good… My mail people folded it.. The quality is just like YP magazine covers, in order to make it fit, its all folded up, so there is a fold on Horo’s face, and just mehhh…

PurpleCat

Good to hear the book is coming soon.

I have every faith in Spice and wolf: It is a light novel that has the potential to be one of the best selling books in the western world; given the translator does good job.

Cover:
Inevitable decision, as I expect the readers who we would like to read the book would run helter-skelter at the sight of the original cover.

However, using a photo image instead of an illustration could affect the imageries and the new cover does not look suitable for young readers at all!!

P.S
Come on guys, let us believe that the book will sell and there will be reprints with different covers!!
Write loads of positive reviews and post them everywhere.

clamby

@HASSLER:

Please clear this up for me because I don’t quite understand. You are Americanizing the cover to pull in readers who do not like or are not fans of anime and manga. Yet, when these new readers open up the book, they will clearly see anime and manga style illustrations. I highly doubt this Americanization move will accomplish anything except people looking at the novel and then putting it right back. Altering the cover seems like a pointless move to me.

Chemicult

I love Spice and Wolf. and I’d never wish anything bad to happen to it. so I’m sad to see people saying they’d rather see it die. I hope some people rethink their words and actions. I understand where the complaints are coming from but still. and personal attacks are never necessary, even if you don’t like what someone has done.

Hypothetically: If your brother had a child and you didn’t like what they named it I doubt most people would start yelling at their brother for naming the child what he did and wish the child just die to teach him a lesson.

And personally I don’t mind the new cover. though the original is awesome and I love it. but I mean. I’m gonna be spending more time with my eyes between the pages of the book then I will staring at the cover.

And the books on my bookshelf don’t face outward. they are lined up and only the spine shows. so…I don’t really like the whole, I wouldn’t have this displayed on my shelf thing. Were all the people with that attitude really intending to set it aside a space to face the world for all who pass to see.

Also thanks Yen Press, for bringing me something I love.
And for everyone who works there. Please don’t let the words get to you. You guys are awesome and do what you do because it’s what you love. so keep it up. I believe there’s actually a love and passion for all of this from you guys, which I don’t feel coming from some other companies.

P.S. Are there any specific retailers you can maybe name where I can pick up a copy of Yen+? I’m trying to find one in time for me to get the december issue.

Claudin

I already have the december issue of yen plus.Barnes and Noble got it earlier than usual and the cover looks fine 🙂

An

well with the slip cover coming out this month there is no way they can change anything now
im still piicking it up but i wish it could have been better

Irene

I don’t really see the point in changing the cover. Especially if you’re putting it in the “young adult” section. Let’s be realistic here. Most of the people who browse that section are actually young girls. They’re not going to be interested in some slutty 3D girl on the cover. They’d be more interested in the pretty anime art. Very bad marketing decision, imo.

machineofhate

Yeah, seeing how the cover was folded made me rage something fierce. It’s also worth noting that the paper quality of the the cover is akin to that of a fold out poster. I recommend an exacto knife, otherwise good luck when you need to pull the cover out without ripping it in the process..

Yen Press, please find another way to get the Japanese artwork covers into the hands of people willing to pay for it, and not have it turn out like that. Otherwise your company and I will be done (professionally).

Wow

Are you doing this on purpose?

You have people willing to shell out an extra $10.00 for a slip jacket and you ruin it like that with with that cringe-worthy-never-coming-out crease?

The jacket itself would be beautiful if it wasn’t for that crease.

FlareKnight

Well to be fair I’d given up on this going well when I knew they were going with “Holo”. I know it sounds wrong to say it but I still shudder when reading it like that. Though was still going to pick up the book even though I probably wouldn’t be able to bring myself to read it :). But wow the cover really takes the hit to a whole new level of bad. Almost like the fans are being punished here.

It’s a tricky spot anyways. Do want to say thanks for bringing it over and support bringing more over. Yet if it’s going to end up like this isn’t it just rewarding doing it wrong? Seems no matter what decision people make to buy or not they are going to lose. Unfortunate how it all turned out.

Sometimes things turn out like this I guess.

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