Spice & Wolf Take Two!

It has been brought to my attention that some people weren’t thrilled with the cover of the first volume of the Spice & Wolf light novel. (Shocking, I know!) Seriously, though, we do very much take feedback from the fans to heart. It was based on that feedback that we ended up offering jackets featuring the original Japanese artwork to interested online retailers, and it was also based on that feedback that we opted to change our approach to the Spice & Wolf light novels going forward.

Therefore, for the second novel, each copy will come jacketed featuring a photographic cover to satisfy the requests of our retail partners who have asked that the books be made more appealing to a wider purchasing public. However, the printed covers beneath the jackets will feature the original illustrations that appeared on the Japanese editions of the book.

We want to thank everyone who has supported the Spice & Wolf light novels so far (and the first volume of the manga which just released and has been selling phenomenally!), and we hope that this change will only help to bolster your enthusiasm for the series!

Be Sociable, Share!

165 Comments

Jellorific

Excuse the double postage, please

@Albright
Well, of course. The only reason I didn’t buy the first book was because the cover was god-awful and the only way for me to obtain the original cover was through the internet, which I couldn’t do. So if a reprint with the original cover was done, I’d jump at the chance and buy it.

Brett

I was wondering, on the dust jacket issue… does anyone remove the jacket before reading the book so as not to damage it? I know I do.

The Unbearable Light-Novelness of Being — SNAG Vs. World

[…] scene – namely Spice & Wolf and Book Girl which have been licensed by Yen Press recently. Spice & Wolf in particular due to the demands of fans got itself the cover scheme for the second… – which can only be a good thing. The other thing about Yen Press as a publisher is that they […]

Ralph

I am still trying to figure it out though. I appreciate what you are doing for the community but who are you guys trying to please? The anime/light novel crowd or the Twilight crowd? “One who attacks both fronts loses first.”

If you were to attach the new art-style as the primary cover, surely some of the “Twilight”/Young teen readers would pick it up, but as soon as they see those first few pages and the illustrations/art-style, they are going to put it right back on the shelf. Maybe not all of them but I am willing to bet most of them will.

On the other hand, you put this new style on there because you do not want this book placed in the manga section of a store due to lost sales and the American manga market showing less revenue every year. However, in a posting you made a while ago you said “Retailers will NOT CARRY our books unless they have this kind of cover on it.” I call BS. In that case you need to find a new outlet to go through to sell your products. Preferably one that charges you less and does not care what kind of product cover you have.

Any retailer who refuses to stock your product because of a cover-choice has their priorities completely backwards. Not only that, I would have been more offended to stock your 1st volumes new art cover then the original one.

I guess what I am trying to get at here as a consumer of yours Yen Press is the following, “Why must you put this new cover on the book at all?” Pressure? Retailer Demands? Shoddy Marketing/Localization? Just to screw with the original community?

Just come out and tell us, it would make all of us feel a lot better and relaxed to understand why you are doing it this way. As I said before. Sure you have helped out the originally consumer now by doing it this way. But now you are just hurting your new fanbase because once they take a look inside the book…..its getting placed back on the shelf.

PV

Thank you, definitely better to have the new cover as the jacket. Frankly I still don’t like the new cover, but it’s not a big deal since its in dust jacket form. 🙂

Here’s my two cents about your new cover though. You aren’t winning anyone over with that cover. Take a lesson from TokyoPop, they’ve successfully made new covers clearly not aimed at the anime light novel audience by making it minimalistic. A photo of a cosplayer is not American, nor does it appeal to anyone.

Do some quick “market research” and learn a valuable lesson about cover design by just heading to Amazon.com and looking at their covers. Generally a picture of a person is not on the cover, even if it is, it usually isn’t the focal point. You see scenery a lot, swirly designs from time to time, maybe even artistic cartoons and such. I want you to TRY and find me a cover that looks like the one you have.

In any case, I’m not trying to be harsh, I’m very happy with the outcome, and rest assured, I will be buying a copy of the book, just giving my opinion.

Aka

Good news, happy you’re including both covers. Still not a fan of the Americanized cover, I’m finding I actually prefer the cover from the first novel to the new one. But the original cover is great, glad to have it.

I agree with those above who say that, when financially feasable, if ever, reprinting the first novel with the original cover. I would rebuy to get it so that my whole collection matches up better.

Thanks for listening to us fans and offering a proper compromise this time around, as the slip cover of the past volume didn’t appear to be available anywhere, except Rightstuf. Hopefully this works out well and future releases will continue to have the original artwork.

Ashen

I couldn’t be any happier with this new strategy unless you were actually paying me.

Now everyone wins.

I absolutely love you guys. Keep doin’ what you’re doin’!! <3

Matt

@Ralph

They HAVE told us, several times why. lol

Bookstores cant sell books with illustrated covers well currently, so they DON’T WANT THEM anywhere BUT the Manga section.

Yen Press is using a photo cover so that they CAN be placed front and center and get seen. For instance, at my local Barnes and Noble, Spice and Wolf vol. 1 is in the middle of the store along with the other new “DEBUT NOVELS”.

This would have never happened without a cover change.

Though it appears that with Bungaku Shoujo (Book Girl and the Suicidal Mime), they are trying to use a photo cover along with the original illustration at the same time. I think they did a good job, that is if the leaked cover image now circulating online is real.

http://ranobecafe.wordpress.com/2010/04/28/bungaku-shoujo-english-cover-leaked/

Danton

Thanks for the info Hassler. I’m glad to see this edition has the original art work as standard, though I must say, you’ve done an even better job on the live photo cover, easily superior to the first volume’s… yeah…

Well, in any case, thanks for keeping us informed about this. =)

Lau

Awesome, just awesome. Really, many thanks for this decision and I appreciate you took in all the eh.. feedback from the fans. If this is not fulfulling their wishes, they are better off in another ‘fandom’. This novel is an instant buy for me, and I’m glad to see all your titles are selling so well.
Keep up the good work 🙂

Arc

@PV
No one else has…but nearly all of those light novel lines have failed. Even when Tokyopop releases a new volume, it’s usually after a long period of time and the book is riddled with mistakes. YP has already made it clear that retailers prefer these photo covers, and currently seems to be the only company with any success in the light novel business. Even most, if not all, of VIZ’s best-selling light novels are for existing series, such as Death Note or Full Metal Alchemist.

Ralph

@Matt:

Wait? So you are telling me that the bookstores told YP that they cannot give them a book with an illustrated cover on it because they will put it in the manga section? Therefore if YP wants their book placed in a different section they have to put a different cover on it? I dont think so.

First of all, it is not for the retailer to decide what cover a publisher puts on a book. Second, that is the dumbest excuse I have ever heard, not to mention complete BS. There are hundreds and thousands of adults, childrens, fiction, and non-fiction books that have a cartoon/imaginary cover drawn on them and they are not placed in the manga section. Not only that, it just further proves my point that they need to find someone else to do business with.

This is why YP needs to come out and really tell us why they are adding these new covers to their books. It cant HURT anything, and it lets their consumers give them feedback on what they think might be a viable solution/alternative for their books to sell better. None of us want to see S&W/YP go down and under right?

Just a thought you know….

James

Quite frankly the first cover made Spice and Wolf look like it belonged next to trashy sex novels, the announced change made my day.
Definitely going to pre-order a copy when the shipment date looms closer!

franly

@albeit
yes, definitely yes, i will buy it the reprint version for the volume 1(the 3 times if you gonna reprint it),
although i’m much appreciate it if you give bonus for the slip cover for volume one >< (didn't got it) 🙁

Caddie

THANK YOU. Really, this is a perfect solution! And by the way, that left cover is much better than your previous attempt, although I still personally prefer the original. I recently lent the first volume to a friend and she said that if she had seen that cover in a book store she wouldn’t have even touched it, let alone consider reading it.

Silencers

Wow, that is an awesome decision. If you reprint vol 1 in the same way, I’ll definitely get a copy of that, too.

An

now that i think of it
i think everyone is right i would buy a reprint of volume 1
even though i already have it i would rebuy it if it was reprinted in this way

Pim Geurts

Judging from the comments, it would seem you have found a workable solution, people at Yen Press. Congratulations!

Personally, I was going to start collecting this series either way, but I really appreciate seeing the original covers on them, if at all possible. For that same reason, I also hope that a rerelease of the first volume, in the style of the rest of the series, will surface at some point. I’ll be staking out the news section.

Cheers.

Katherine Isham

As well as being very happy to hear that there will still be original artwork visible, I am *estatic* at the MUCH MORE TASTEFUL second volume cover. this one is HEAD AND SHOULDERS above the first one, which I was embarrassed to take into public. Great job!

Katherine Isham

@Ralph

“OP: Wait? So you are telling me that the bookstores told YP that they cannot give them a book with an illustrated cover on it because they will put it in the manga section? Therefore if YP wants their book placed in a different section they have to put a different cover on it? I dont think so.”

Actually, Ralph, this is absolutely true. I used to work at a Waldenbooks, and light novels, even if they were meant to be in the fantasy section (and sometimes they *were* shelved in manga on our computer anyway because of their cover art) were CONSTANTLY mis-shelved in Manga. A retailer sees the cover art, thinks “This is a manga book”, and shelves it in manga. For Yen Press to reach a wider audience, changing the cover art is an absolutely sound business practice.

Now, I still greatly disliked the cover art for the first volume. It looked like it belonged in the erotica section. (and seriously, if I had still been working as a retailer, I would have shelved it there. It’s even the trade size that most erotica books are, along with the skanky bad pshooped cover.)

Neutral_Eyes

Excellent! – Both the much more tasteful mainstream-appeasing cover and the decision to use the original artwork underneath! I’m also wondering if there will be a reprint of Vol. 1 in similar fashion at some point?

Nathan Treichel

as a person who is working on the english translation of the DS Spice and Wolf Video games, I proud owner of volume 1 (still trying to get that new cover for the book), and someone who has a preorder for season 2 of the anime. I love your work with this series (even if the manga has a HIGH price). my dad likes fantasy stories but cringes a little at anime, so I was able to trick him into reading volume 1 (which he loved), then I should him the anime. unlike the previous cover which I did not like for multiple reasons (not just because it was not the original). however I am LIKING the art you made for this new volume. it is tasteful, well done with good detail, and I like the purple and green. one thing I would like you guys to do with spice and wolf though

PLEASE DO A HARDCOVER release of these books. unlike haruhi which I like but am not in love with, I LOVE SPICE AND WOLF and would pay the money for a hard cover release, (maybe a reversible cover for the hard cover release).
never less I can not wait to buy your version of book 2, and I can not wait for books 3-5, especially book 4 since it was skipped in the anime

Vexx

Really like the combo jacket-original decision. The ‘real life’ pic is pretty good this time except for the tail’s texture and curve. I’d have had it match her hair more in texture and animals simply don’t run with their tails that way so it instinctively looks “wrong”.

That said… yeah I’d buy hardcovers of this but either way its great. I’ve been working my way through the original japanese novels and I don’t mind saying the economics sections can get pretty brutal to translate.

Bweb

@ Albright: I would definitely buy Vol. 1 if reissued this way, as I refused to purchase it the first time around. And I won’t buy vol. 2 at all until vol. 1 is available that way. No sense having missing volumes. But I refuse to pay for inferior product, which the original cover was.

@ Matt: The idea that bookstores are putting this anywhere else is laughable on face value. I’ve visited bookstores in five cities across Texas, including Midland, Abilene, San Antonio, and Dallas, and multiple chains, including Barnes and Nobles, Borders, Hasting, Waldenbooks, Books a Million, etc. Not because I was looking for this book. I’m just an avid reader.
In no instance was the photo cover of Spice and Wolf vol. 1 located anywhere BUT the manga section of these stores.

Khellamendra

It shouldn’t be shocking that people weren’t thrilled about the Americanized cover. It was an amateur job and looked like the cover of an erotic novel. Overall it was not the kind of cover you would want people to see and it certainly wouldn’t grab a broader audience. All light novels, regardless of covers, that I have are always in the manga section. As I pointed out last time, it will still have manga type illustrations sprinkled throughout the book. Anyone that picks it up and flips through it will see the books. If they weren’t interested in manga before then why would they now.

I think you need to have a word with your retail partners about how changing the cover does not magically change the kind of book it is. You can put whatever kind of cover you want on it but the inside will not change. Lying to the consumer is the fastest way to get them to never trust you again much less want to buy the produce. Show it for what it is if you want repeat business. You also have the problem of inconsistency as you now have one book with the Americanized travesty with the original Japanese cover as a sleeve while this one (if I’m reading this right) has the original Japanese cover with an Americanized sleeve. What would have made the most sense was to test the waters. You could have posted that you were thinking of using a different cover and explaining why. Then we could have given our feedback.

Granted at the same time I think it was the scrabble for people wanting that sleeve that probably played a hand in you changing.

What I will give you is that at least the second Americanized cover is not as bad. The composition is much better and doesn’t make me cringe as one who is studying Graphic Design. I’m not too fond of the use of the radial gradient though. I don’t see why you didn’t just leave it completely purple. Having the green in the middle puts too much focus and emphasis on the “&”. You never want to emphasis the less important stuff it just doesn’t make sense.

This whole thing is one big mess so I definitely won’t be purchasing any of them until Yen Press sorts things out and figures out what solution they actually want to give.

Foxia

I already bought Volume 1 through rightstuf for the limited edition dust jacket, but I’m willing to repurchase it if it’s reprinted with an americanized dust jacket like the new volumes will be done. 😀

I’m a collector, and I love for my collection to be pristinely perfect! Not to have an oddball in their. That’s why I’m still angry at Bandai for screwing up my limited edition collection of Lucky Star DVD’s.

Kii

Thank you so much. The original cover art is what it is. ORIGINAL. It also goes with the original art inside the book. We are fans and we want the original illustrations kept intact. Horo doesn’t look anything like what the americanized cover for volume 1 suggests and frankly, it’s just plain ugly. It’s not eye catching at all. I’m very happy you guys have decided to provide a dust cover of the new art to make your retail partners happy and keep the original art on the face of the book to make everyone else happy. I will now be buying these books. ^^

FullArmageddon

Thank you so much! I’m a huge fan of the original artwork so I’m glad you guys decided to do things this way. As others have said, it would be great if you could do this with volume 1, but I won’t get my hopes up. I bought the first book and I can’t wait to buy the second. I’ve actually already read the first few books in English via Baka-Tsuki (before they were taken down), but I’m an avid believer of “If you like it, buy it”, so I’ll be doing just that. Plus, the translations aren’t exactly the same, so reading through them again is still a unique experience. I’ve got the release dates of volume 2 & 3 in my phone calendar, so I’m looking forward to June 15th and November 16th.

On that note, I think the release schedule is way too long. It would be great if the books were released every 3-4 months like they are in Japan rather than every 6. At this rate, it won’t be until June 2016 that we’re caught up with what’s currently been released in Japan. I seriously think that’s way too big of a stretch. If you guys want to keep peoples’ interest, especially someone who’s picking up Spice and Wolf for the first time, you need to keep feeding them more rather than making them wait for so long. These books are fast reads (barely 200 pages with illustrations), so a 6 month wait is completely unjustified. You can easily read through these books in a day, so making people wait 6 months for the next book (for the next 6+ years) is just going to cause people to loose interest. Once again, you guys seriously need to get this series on a 3-4 month release schedule as they are in Japan. Or maybe consider releasing an eBook version every 3-4 months and the paperback every 6 months. Either way, you guys have to change your plan.

Rol

Call me stunned…..and a fan of Yen Press…

Remember folks, the definition of insanity is to do the same thing over again and expect a different result.

Yen Press messed up on the first one, I still 100% believe that and it stopped me from buying the first novel. Now, not only has this “bolstered my enthusiasm” for the series, I will try to find a version of the 1st novel with the dust jacket cover? Why, do you ask? Isn’t the first one still a flawed release? Yes, but now Yen Press has proven themselves to NOT be a flawed publisher. I will always support a company that listens to it’s fans. Mind you, this was an easy decision for them since they could do this while still pleasing their retail partners, but the point is they didn’t HAVE to. Especially if they can market it to the general public using the non-Anime covers.

Anyway, enough gushing, I could have said all of that with just one sentence:

Bravo Yen Press, bravo.

Reng

I am a Spanish fan of this series and I would like to buy light novels (I love reading). However, as someone posted, I won’t do it unless de first volume is reprinted in the same way as this and next ones. I wouldn’t mind paying a large amount of transport fee (international), but I won’t do it unless I have all volumes with the same cover style.
I hope you reprint volume 1. I feel I must support High Quality series (such as Naruto and Bleach, I buy all manga volumes), and this one has also another reason: I would like a third anime season.
Thank you for translating this novel. I will be waiting for a Volume 1 reprint.

Post Data: Sorry if something is horribly written. It’s been 3 years without using English.

gurlgotkat

the photographic cover looks better to me imo. the one on the left seems to be marketed to an older audience with the idea of romance, while the one on right seems more childish. the right cover seemed to be geared to those that read fanfiction (or something that is a frivolous in nature) while the left cover i get a more serious impression.

it is nice that yen press was able to listen to fans and compromise. i never read the book but i can understand how hardcore fans want an experience that is rendered as close to the orignal as possible.
-off topic
I also really like the formatting of your manhwa books. it’s more close to the orignal compared to some other companies (*cough tokyopop cough*) yenpress and udon comic(although they seem to be on hiatus) are my most favorite manwha publishers. please consider maybe translating shipwrecked! by hye na jung or picking up other publishers’s projects that are in limbo.(duck prince, masca, queen’s knight, sweet and sensitive, dvd, and etc.)

Iduno

Sweet, now it looks like something I can actualy read in public rather than a cheap erotic novel and the origional cover is good too, will definatly start my spice and wolf collection with volume 2.

An

got my copy 2 days ago from barnes and noble looks great and i love the fact that i can take the english cover off
now if you guys could just do a reprint of the first one in this way i would be happy to rebuy it
ill just give my original copy to someone or keep it as a back up

Bweb

So, my bookstore got in vol. 2. Guess where they stocked it, westernized slip jacket and all.

If you said the manga section, give yourself a gold star. Even with the western covers, it seems, Yen Press, that your retailers still aren’t going to place it in the general fiction section, not even in sci-fi or fantasy. No matter how you dress it up, it’s always going to find itself shelved in the manga section.

You might save yourself further printing costs in the near future and reprint any and all subsequent volumes without the slip jacket, and with the original art.

And again, not buying vol. 2 until vol. 1 is made available with the proper art as the proper cover. Just a reminder.

Gogetters

I don’t see why you guys didn’t do this for Vol 1….

As the dude said above me “not buying vol. 2 until vol. 1 is made available with the proper art as the proper cover.”

Fix it, fix it now!

Jellorific

>And again, not buying vol. 2 until vol. 1 is made available with the proper art as the proper cover. Just a reminder.

Same here. I don’t think you people at Yen Press don’t realize what you’re losing with that… Cover you made.

Iduno

Wait volume 2 is out?

Haven’t seen it in any bookstores within the 2 citys near me, guess Yenpress got it so far out of the manga section that it left the stores altogether.

Thomas

To be honest, I wouldn’t buy the first book because I didn’t like the idea of people seeing me reading a book with a naked wolf girl on the front, so I’m glad there are retailers offering the original as a dust jacket.

Bob

Great, now just release a high res picture of the first cover, so people who happened to live in a place where they could not get them from “interested online retailers” then could print them out.

Nick

Got my copy of vol 2 in the mail the other day. My only issue with the cover is that the spine design without the jacket is significantly different from the first volume, so conceivably if you want it to look ‘clean’ on your bookshelf, you kind of need to leave the jacket on. That said, it’s just one of many books on the shelf – I buy these things to read, after all.

The whole presentation of the book is otherwise really great. I’m a little weirded out by the massive form factor of these books, though. It feels like they’re twice the size of regular Japanese light novels…

Nick

Oh, as an additional note – those of you who are ‘boycotting’ the series until the first volume is re-released with a new cover… While I can envision a scenario in which a second edition of the book is released with a new cover, if you’re not actually investing in the series at this point, there may never be an economically viable reason for doing that.

In a ways, you’r really only doing yourself a disservice. You’re missing out on a pretty cool story. And frankly, if you’re embarrassed by a picture of a wolf-lady, but not by that of a pre-pubescent cartoon of a wolf girl… Do you perhaps think society will think… what… better of you?

I’m being a little facetious, obviously. But seriously these guys have already listened to your first round of complaints and done the whole dust jacket thing. That’s not too common in the publishing industry as near as I know. Perhaps you should reward that kind of behavior rather than childishly sticking your heels in?

Bweb

@ Nick:

Buying the second volume without the first would be pointless. Having mismatched volumes would be pointless.
There’s no reason to buy the second volume, improved as it may be over the first, until we can have assurances that the first will be available in a matching format.

Gogetters

Please don’t start with the “pre-pubesent” crap here, i am quite tired of seeing that word… as for me i don’t care what society thinks.

It’s not really all that common to change the cover either imo.
The dust jacket idea came too late though, they should have done that to begin with.
The problem i have is that the first Vol. is going to have a different type of cover from the rest of the series.

Reward them for screwing up and not really fixing the problem? Once the problem is really fixed then there will be some rewards….

Nick

@Bweb:
Having two volumes of something with mismatching covers is pointless? What about the point of being able to read it? That seems like a pretty good point… What exactly are you doing with these books?

And by that logic, if Yen Press continued to use the wolf-lady photo covers, you’d start buying into the series? If that’s the case, then buy into it now, since the second volume happes to come with a handy-dandy dust jacket with a wolf-lady on it, and it matches the first volume. So all your volumes will look the same.

@Gogetters:
Alright – I promise I won’t bring up the pre-pubescent thing up again. Unless we’re talking about Hanamaru Kindergarten. In which case it’s all up for grabs.

My point about rewarding Yen Press was that yes, they realised they did something which really didn’t go down well with a lot of their customers, so they did their best to correct it for volumes not yet published. Now, if somebody does something like that, and you reward that kind of behaviour, then in the future they’re more likely to do things the ‘right’ way from the start. On the other hand, if you just keep yelling that they’ve screwed up, and pretend as though you’re somehow holding them to ransom, it’s giving them the message that it really doesn’t matter what they do, there are people out there that are just always going to find faults with their products.

The problem with this approach is that it basically makes the problem with the cover out to be something that’s really only of importance to the type of person who is never satisfied with anything, and so not really something they need to bother about (or could do anything about). Which is kind of a shame, since yeah, it would be nice to have the original artwork.

You’re not rewarding the original screw up, you’re rewarding the positive attitude that is trying to appease you. I just kind of think that attitude is far more likely to get you what you actually want than your current approach. What I’m saying here is that I believe there are more constructive ways of doing what you’re doing.

Boodle

Anyone know of a retailer that offers the first volume with the dust jacket? Supposedly amazon doesn’t ship them with the jacket.

Nick

@Boodle:
I don’t know who does, but I know bookdepository.co.uk doesn’t… Are any online retailers even doing that, still?

You may have to cast your net wider… Isn’t there one included in one of the back-issues of Yen+?

anon

I love how you guys carelessly delete any comment that says anything remotely bad about your company.
I’m all for censorship, but you got rid if three comments that, if you look closely, might help your company’s profits.
You’ve seen how many people don’t like your covers, and now that the new “cover” is the dust jacket, more people are willing to buy.
So you should finish the deal, and reprint the first novel like that. Thousands would probably buy it. If you’re really unsure about it, go onto any anime forum and ask the Spice and Wolf fans there what they think about the cover and whether they would buy your cover or the original.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *