Spice and Wolf Unveiled!

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

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


Pretty strikingly non-manga, huh?

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

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


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



Ugly cover, but i will buy the LN because i like the story, and i will buy the Yen+ december number too. I hope the hardcore fans dont be angry with the change, i understand what YP want do, the same like Tokyopop, TP fails and i hope YP not.


I must I was worried for a minute that the original cover wouldn’t be available at all. Although I’m a newbie to Spice & Wolf, I was ecstatic when you annouced the license for both the manga and light novel (that and, of course, the second season green-lit and FUNi licensing the first season). Although I’m disappointed that you’re not using the original, I’m glad that we still have access to it!
Thank you very much, and looking forward to the December release!


I can completely understand changing cover designs to bring into audiences. It’s unfortunate, but necessary; light novels just don’t make enough profits from the manga community alone. That said, it’s cool that you guys are offering a cover slip. I hope light novels will be successful for once.


W00T for SPICE AND WOLF! I love Light Novels and I’m definitly picking this one up. Thought I do not like S&W’s new cover art. The Kieli, light novel, new cover art was great and somewhat better then the orignal, however this one is just too western(NA & Europe).


hmmm yes i don’t like the new cover. I guess i’m one of those hardcore fans 😛 Anyway i think yen press just came my #1 favorite licensed company again because u guys are so damn nice!!! really!! Thank you! I’ll be sure to buy the novel and the magazine for the cover <3
I love u yen press! (and i really really REALLY hope light novels become popular here…hopefully ur plan will work)


I am so glad that you are also making the slip jacket for us hardcore fans of this wonderful series. It just goes to show that Yen Press really knows what their fans want and are willing to try and please us all. I can’t wait to get my hands on the novel and December’s issue of Yen+!


Her boob looks…. somewhat… lopsided. Like someone took a blur/smudge tool and scribbled over the image in a straight line. (Trying to refrain from the ‘this looks shopped’ line here.)
Her boob really shouldn’t be flat on one side. It’s freaking me out! Poor Horo!
Heh heh. Teenagers are going to pick this up expecting a sleazy romance, instead they get an economics lesson.
I like the logo. I like the idea of the cover image. The execution needs some help.


I’m extreeeemely happy that Spice & Wolf was licensed by you guys.. but that cover.
I’m a hardcore S&W fan, and man. I’m disappointed. I thought that you might do as you did with the Haruhi light novels and sell two versions, one with bad art, and one with original art. 🙁
That said, I’ll still buy it. I’ll just have to get the Yen Plus mag that month too so I can have the original art.


Vomit. Why couldn’t you do it like Haruhi? Include the original cover with a hardback release or something along those lines. I do not want this thing on my shelf.


Ok, with four people support you, I don’t have any hope. But seriously, I’m very ANGRY. I understand your decision to appeal to a more general audience. I have no complain about that, and actually wish you a very best luck. This series deserve it. What I’m very angry with is the decision to include the original cover with Yen Plus and NOT THE BOOK ITSELF. I call this cheating. I know you’re trying to make this a “gift” to Yen Plus readers, but that becomes too big a punishment for those who aren’t. I’m very, very disappointed with this decision.
Again, I know my single complain won’t make a difference. Luckily, I think I do have an option of buying this series in another language. I really like Spice & Wolf and was super happy when Yen Press pick it up. I wish I could support you, but if you insist on forcing me to buy another book for the cover I want, maybe wishing is as far as I can go supporting you.
I sure hope you change your decision. Include the damn cover with the book, PLEASE.


I can completely understand the cover art changes, and it was an excellent idea to make the original cover accessable to those that are fans of the Japanese version. I would love to see other light novels such as To Aru Majutsu no Index and Bakemonogatari translated by Yen+. I can’t read Japanese so i have to wait for friends to translate for me or give me the cliff notes.


Well, I just cancelled my preorder. I find this cover prurient and distasteful. I cannot imagine this generating new sales, and while I have no general problem with ‘Americanization’ in general, I frankly hope this specific attempt fails.

Ray Benton

Whoever wrote that appears to be desperate for this book to sell. I mean why give a long comment on the state of the light novel market if you are preaching to the crowd who most likely would buy this book to begin with. Why not just apologize to those fans and be honest and say – hey we really want and need this to sell beyond the manga fan so wen changed the cover to make it look like an urban fantasy novel and for the fans who really wanted it here is a cover in our magazine that you have to spend extra money to get. I guess Yen needs to get more people than their dvoted fans to buy this book.


I’m fine with it … its no worse than the lurid adult fiction covers for vampires, for example.
But it makes me wonder what your marketing aims for light novels are… I can’t see this in the usual bookstore “anime iz fer kidz” section that light novels often get dropped in.
As a young adult or even adult fiction section, I see no problem (which is where I think S&W belongs anyway).
And…. you’re evil for putting the cover in your December issue but I guess I was looking for a reason to take a look at the magazine (its always plastic sealed at the bookstore).

Garrett Albright

Oh my God, so ugly, bastardization, baka Americans, perverting Hasekura-dono’s original work, how dare you, I’ll never buy another Yen Press product again, you all should die, I’m so going to whine about this on Twitter. There, comment thread over.
But seriously, I hope those who would whine about this sort of change would consider for a moment that perhaps Hatchette knows a little bit more about how to sell a book than them. And if this book sells well, others will follow.
I personally don’t dislike the cover, but I think it does look a bit generic in light of similar “dark” covers that crowd novel bookshelves in these post-Twilight days. But then again, the manga-style cover looks even more generic, so it’s a lateral move at worst.


After seeing this cover, I’ve canceled my order. Please consider other options to make the Ayakura cover more accessible and affordable and I’ll reconsider my decision as well. I won’t purchase this as it is, however.


Why are you trying to appeal to fantasy audiences with this LN? Shouldn’t you be aiming for the economists? 😛
I can’t say I like either cover very much, but if you guys think it’ll draw in more consumers to the world of Spice and Wolf, then you should do whatever it takes.


Well, I’m buying the novel regardless, but I don’t think that the new cover represents the spirit of Spicy Wolf very well. When I think of Spicy Wolf, nude wolf girls are not what comes to mind first. What does come to mind are images of medieval economics. This cover seems like it should be next to a Fabio romance novel.
Also, consider this, word of mouth is important for any product. Do you really think that someone is going to take this to school, or anywhere else for that matter, and show it off? This book is now on my list of books that I can’t read outside of my house b/c I don’t want to have to explain why my book has a naked girl on the cover.
If you wanted to do a more realistic cover, I wish that you would have put Holo in her fancy dress with a gold/wheat background motif. You could have made it both realistic and tasteful.

This A Point

Honestly, I think this sucks. The limited slip jacket is a horrible compensation. You people should take example from the way the Haruhi novels released their different edition covers.

Horo the Wise

What an ugly cover. You should be ashamed for changing it.
And I refuse to buy anything that calls Horo “Holo”, idiots.


I think it’s a great idea! Nice going there. Though I haven’t seen the anime, I’m definitely planning on picking this up.


Lots and lots of comments! Feedback is never a bad thing.
We appreciate the support from everyone offering it, and we understand the frustration of others. We’ve received a lot of interesting suggestions about other possible ways to get cover versions featuring the original art into fans’ hands going forward, and we’ll be exploring their feasibility. In the meantime, we remain pleased to be able to provide jackets in the December issue of YEN PLUS, which at the moment represents the widest and most efficient means of distribution — particularly as we are also going to be providing a sneak peek of the first chapter of the novel in that same issue.
Also, just to quickly address the comment about the decision to use “Holo” instead of “Horo”… This was discussed at length with our licensor in Japan, and based on their preference — presumably through conversation with the original editorial staff and author — we were instructed that the proper spelling of the character’s name is indeed Holo. Who are we to argue?


To be honest this is absolutely horrible, you are trying to GAIN customers by putting a blurry nude women on the cover?
Who are you trying to appeal to here, Playboy or Nuts fans, you think they are the big readers here?
I do not want to have such a tasteless thing on my bookshelf.
I wouldn’t have cared if it had had a more plain cover like the publishers of Terry Pratchet’s Discworld series have done or like the publishers of the Harry Potter books have done to try to appeal to mass audiences, but the cover posted up is just plain repellent.
How is activly repelling people with an offensive cover like that appealing to the mass market? Only the die hard fans would care enough about the book to actualy pick it up with that cover.


Lots of unhappy types… Ho hum, well I’ll still be buying the book on it’s release as I’m more interested in the content rather than the cover. And if changing the cover increases sales to the point where there is a demand for the series, then all the better as this will lead to the entire series being released rather than dropped, like ‘Full Metal Panic’ ‘Shana’ and ‘Chibi Vampire the Novel’.


OK, I disagree with a lot of the comments here. The Holo/Horo distinction is arbitrary and literally semantic; offering little extras bundled with multiple products is actually in the finest Japanese commercial tradition; and I’m all in favor of changing a book’s cover in an effort to raise sales. I love “Spice & Wolf” and I really, really want it to do well in the US so that you guys can continue releasing the series and more people can read it.
However, this particular cover is not the way to do it. As the above comments indicate, it quite significantly alienates the fanbase; worse, it does indeed portray the novel as something darker, more erotic, and more fantasy-oriented than it actually is. Although it can be enjoyed by people of any age (like me…) the base demographic for “Spice & Wolf” consists of teenagers and young adults. This cover looks like something designed for lonely, creepy middle-aged men who have basement doors with padlocks on them. I thoroughly agree with those who said that it’s prurient, and it most certainly does not “captures Holo’s playful spirit;” she looks as if she has just finished feasting on human flesh. I’d be too embarrassed to buy it in stores, and I could never lend it to a friend without super-gluing the slipcover to it. In short, it is a counterproductive abomination.
Honestly, almost anything would be better, even a blank cover with a title logo. You could do a field of wheat in the sunset; you could do a table appealingly covered with glinting coins; you could do a silhouette of a horse and cart; you could do a nighttime portrait of a wolf in a forest; you could cleverly represent Holo’s adoption of human skin by simply giving us her empty clothes hung on a hook; you could do any one of a million things except this, which I don’t think is going to get you much except angry comments like this one and a warehouse full of unsold books.


I think the cover is beautiful and mysterious. It just goes to show how backwards-minded the American culture is about nudity with so many people calling this “tasteless”. It is a very tasteful cover, doesn’t show too much at all. I think you all sound like a bunch of stuffy-nosed grandparents tut-tutting about how “you darn kids” are ruining America today with your “rock music” and “tainted books”.
Also, what is with all of these people canceling orders because of a freaking piece of paper? You were buying the book because well, you enjoy the content, right? If you wanted a pretty picture to look at, go buy a poster. And YP is being incredibly nice offering the original cover, which looks rather contrived to me, to be honest. It seems to me that many people were planning on buying the book for no other reason than the cover would be pretty. So then what is wrong about buying the magazine if said cover is so important to you? You sound like a bunch of upset babies that things didn’t go your way. If you want the light novel industry to fail, giving you nothing, feel free to start your own book companies and use your obviously superior marketing knowledge to sell them yourselves.


I think the new cover is a great idea for the American market. Not many people Stateside are going to buy something with a cartoon on the cover. Nevermind that Spice and Wolf the light novel itself would appeal to many readers, the cover would keep so many people from buying it. I feel like the new cover fits will into the ‘teen’ section of the bookstore.
As for the Horo/Holo discussion. I’m Japanese-American, and although I grew up in America and I’ve never bothered to learn much Japanese, I do know that no Japanese person associates the sound romanized as an ‘r’ with the English ‘r’. There is no sound in English that really matches up with that sound, but most Japanese people I know (mostly my family) consider ‘l’ to be a lot closer. I’ve watched the S&W anime in Japanese, and I definitely don’t hear ‘Horo.’ I can promise you this: if you ever meet a native speaker of Japanese and use a true ‘r,’ you’re going to be made fun of behind your back.


From what I can see you are replacing the niche stigma of cartoons in the US with the niche stigma of boobies in the US. I would have preferred an abstract cover. You’re right that the anime cover would bring baggage. I totally agree with that and were I in your position I would not sell the book in the US with the anime cover.
But I don’t agree that a “sexy” cover is an appropriate counter to that. A field of wheat with the logo over it (or something) might not send nerd’s hearts a-thumping, but it doesn’t color anyone’s perception of the book in a negative way either.


I’ve heard of the Series “Spice and Wolf” and have even read a few chapters of it. It’s a great manga that has a different theme than others: economics, which in itself is a great read because it is so different from the usual “hero” or “magic” or “love story” themes.
But that cover? You’re not serious, are you?
(It reminds me of that horrible novel “Blood and Chocolate.” Gag.)
This cover you selected does not do justice for the series what so ever.


I can understand where you are coming from with wanting this to be taken seriously as a novel. However, this new cover is unforgivably bad. It looks like the really bad cover of a cheap romance novel, and I personally would be embarrassed to walk up to ANY store counter holding a book like that. The hair looks bad, the smile is creepy, and the half-assed CG tail looks like something a freshman digital media student designed. I may not judge a book by it’s cover, but people will judge others by their book covers, and this projects an image onto me that I don’t agree with. As long as the new cover looks like the one above, I will not be buying this, which is hard for me considering Spice and Wolf is one of the best series I’ve watched in years. Please, for the good of EVERYONE, send your design team back to the drawing board or hire another consultant, because I can’t for the life of me fathom how something this BAD got past quality control.


One’s taste in art is entirely subjective, and by claiming everyone who don’t find the new cover appealing as close minded/backward makes you just as close-mined as those who are actually like that. You can’t claim to be open-minded and then proceed to bash everyone who disagrees with you, it only makes you into a hypocrite.
On the topic of the actual cover itself, I would have to side with those who doesn’t like it. Not so much because of the art itself(and let’s not kid ourselves here, all it really accomplishes is replacing the stigma of one niche with the stigma of another niche). No, the problem I have is that it really doesn’t… “match” what’s in the book, especially with the original illustrations still intact. Like it or not, chances are the majority of prospective readers who have no prior knowledge of the series will find the cover to be rather misleading.
That, and I find the art to be rather ugly myself, no offense to the artist, just my opinion 😛


To be honest, I can’t say I like the new cover. Sure, this way it might attract new readers, but since the original drawings in the novel are all done in manga style, I fail to see why this cover would make any difference. Some newcomers might even be pretty surprised to discover drawings in between the chapters. I think that’ll be a bigger turnoff for them than a cutesy cover.
Nowadays even paperback books have an extra slip jacket around the cover, most of the time it contains a summary of the story. Would it be an idea to use these for all the future releases of the light novels? The original covers would be printed on the front cover, while the new ‘Western’ covers would be printed on the slip jacket. Of course, I realize this solution will cost a lot more, but if it makes the fans happy. I know I would.
+nice job for offering the limited edition slip jacket ONLY with an issue. Very slick, guys. Just so you know, that’s the reason why I’m buying the December issue.


I’ll be writing an indepth article about this within the hour, and I’ll be sure to put a link here. I ask that all Yen Press employee’s involved in the translation and marketing project for Spice and Wolf read it.
But before writing the article I just wanted to mention something that apparently nobody else has.
You did not add the subtitle behind the title, even in the new slip cover you are giving for the fans.
I’m referring to the english appearing subtitle “Mearchent Meats Spicy Wolf”
THIS is what is angering me greatly.
I demand, politely of course, that AT LEAST for the slip cover you provide in the December issue, you ADD this line in behind the english title. The author said that it eludes to something in the story not yet shown, so it IS important.
This is my only request, besides reading my soon to be written article on this.
Please reply back if it is possible to add the spice and wolf tagline to the slip cover. I wouldn’t truly be happy unless it had that tagline there like my Japanese copy.


Great, so now anyone who wants to read this fantastic novel looks like a low class perv who enjoys reading trashy romance novels. If anything, this will decrease exposure.
It’s really cool how you guys are willing to bring over and translate novels from japan, but this is the wrong way to do it, and I will not be buying it.
Yen Press should’ve followed Little Brown’s approach to Haruhi, leaving the original cover for the hardcover edition.


Hmmm, I’ve never seen the anime for this light novel, but I know I’ve heard good thing about it and would definitely want to read it if I had access to it. But I have to say I would be embarrassed to walk into a bookstore, have to walk up to the check-out counter, and hand them the book with that cover. I have a subscription to Yen Plus, so I’ll get the other cover. Maybe I’ll just order it online.
That said, the cover change is not a bad idea at all. But it could have been much more tasteful. I love the slip jacket, but I know no one else I speak to would even pick up the book with the original cover. I understand that only anime/manga fans would even glance at the book with it. But, really, with the way most people in America are a bout nudity being on books or TV, I can’t see it selling with that new cover either. My mother would spazz on me if I showed her that cover. I’m personally fine with the nudity, because I read manga with it all the time. Buuutt, we are in America, where people freak out about stupid stuff.
Haha, I’ll probably buy the novel anyway, just because I’ll already have the slip jacket. Oh, and on the topic of light novels, is there any chance of Yen Press picking up Chrome Shelled Regios?? I absolutely adored that anime, but it had next to no character development and wasn’t all that long. I would love the chance to see how the series ended up!


Hurray for Spice and Wolf!
I honestly don’t have any problem with the new cover…it’s just a picture. The content is what we’re all after (or what we all SHOULD be after, at least.) Besides, the original version will be available to anyone who wants it (and if someone can’t shell out $9 to get the original cover, then…I guess you don’t really want it then, do you?).
I for one am happy that Yen is trying to market it towards a wider audience…this way, Spice and Wolf will, you know, sell well. If this novel sells well, that means Yen will be able to easily continue printing the remaining volumes of this series. And if they get more money, they will also be able to bring over more great titles for us to read (it’s that whole economics idea that’s at work here…I guess all those “fans” who cancelled their copies of the novel will never get that lesson. What a shame…)
I think we should all trust the decisions that Yen Press is making. They’re making these decisions for a very good reason, and they’re the only company that hasn’t failed us yet!
In short, thank you Yen Press for being the only publishing group that brings us superior-quality products. You’re all doing a great job, despite what the haters are saying. Keep up the good work!

Holo is not amused

Damn, what a huge let down. Why did Yen Press change the original cover to this? And I don’t want to spend $10 more on a magazine issue just to get the cover with the actual Holo on it. I’m usually a big fan of Yen Press’ releases but this is just a huge disappointment.


Love some of the comments. I mean yeah lets not support the release and let the book fail. Sure the series could get canceled but I want my purty animu cover!
I hope some you people realize light novels do not sell well. Look at seven seas light novel line; failed and their second attempt failed. That could have been because of the small size or lack of advertising or something but the point is they failed. This could be good.
Anyway maybe I’m desensitized but I kinda like the cover. The only bad thing is that the mouth and the hair REALLY make it apparent that it’s CG. Looks bad and sort of distracting. But I’ll be buying it and yen plus. I do have to say that this is a good alternative to having no option of getting the original art but maybe you really should have sold the slip cover with a special bundle of the book and charge extra for it or something
Figure you guys could have some positive-ish feed back. As opposed to the epic fan hissy fit I just read. Ugh. I feel disgusted.


Oh wonderful, only let people who can track down a copy of Yen Plus get a decent cover. I’ve never seen Yen Plus on a single newstand anywhere ever, and I live in one of the 10 largest cities in the US. My other choice is to subscribe to the magazine for $30 to get 6 issues of stuff I really do not care about.


I am really surprised that people are all up in arms over the fact that she is naked on the cover. Anyone who has read the manga or watched the anime should know that she spends a lot of time naked at the start. I liked the Chibi Vampire novels that were being translated before lack of market had the translations cancelled so i am very happy to see that this company is committed to trying to increase the market by getting people already not familiar to the series to pick it up. I don’t know about the other fans but i want to read whole series not just the first few and sales are the only way thats going to happen.
As for the whole Holo versus Horo discussion Holo is the correct name. Horo was a mistranslation by one of the first fansub groups to pick up the series since the actress that plays Holo’s pronunciation sounds like she is saying Horo.


I will not buy this novel unless they release it with the original cover. I will not be caught dead reading a book that looks like a trashy fantasy porno novel in public.
Sorry Yen Press, a slip cover isn’t going to do it for me. Half of the reason why one buys a book is for the satisfaction of knowing that a story you love is tangible and proudly on display in your bookcase. Knowing that such an atrocious cover lurks beneath the beautiful original cover would bother me deeply on a subconscious level.


Like most people here, I understand your decision behind choosing this particular cover for the English release of S&W. Although I, like many other “hardcore” fans am not particularly pleased with the current cover design, I can at least respect your decision to trade the authentic cover for one which may, as you expect, put the foot of light novels in the door of more English-speaking readers. However, I am troubled by the proposed means of distributing of your distribution of the slip cover. Frankly, it comes off as a ploy to sell more copies of Yen Plus, and seems abusive to the hardcore fanbase which is more likely to desire the slip jacket. To be honest, I, as well as many other hardcore fans, have already read a fan-translation of the first S&W novel online long before Yen Press acquired the rights to it. As a fan, I fully planned to purchase the novel, if only to have the satisfaction of owning an official copy of material that I had read online previously. However, because my only reason for buying the novel was to have a solid copy to provide me physical gratification, a sense of ownership, if you will,(rather than gratification via the novel’s contents, which I had already read) I want for the novel’s presentation to be appealing. In short, I think that the Yen Press cover is ugly and unappealing, and by choosing to use such a cover, you have taken away my only reason for buying the novel. Please reconsider the means with which you plan to distribute the slip jacket. I believe that you owe it to your true fan-base to include the slip cover with the light novel itself.


Sure, I understand you’re trying to get other people to read light novels too… but it’s impossible to do considering they’re just put in the manga section anyway. At the Borders store I work at, it all goes in there – everything from the Haruhi light novel to Yu-gi-oh manga.
I also don’t agree with the cover, considering most of the public already dislike ‘furries’, so that wouldn’t exactly get more readers when they see a cover with a naked girl that has ears and a tail. Parents wouldn’t like it with a naked girl, either, so there goes that crowd.
I’m honestly not sure who you’re trying to woo with a cover like that, to be honest. It’s just making me want to go back with my original idea of buying the light novels in their original format and painstakingly going through and reading them that way. I’m seeing a massive uproar in anime communities about this already (dozens have canceled their pre-orders and/or are not buying this at all – not to mention having us pay extra for the Dec issue of a magazine just to get the slipcover? What? ), so I know it’s not just me either.


Here a Idea make cover that does not suck next time. If that doesn’t work out Go back to the original cover. Now is the novel any good. then I will buy the book.


I’m never buying anything from Yen Press. Changing the cover is B.S. whats next redraw the novel’s illustrations and manga so its more westernized.


Anyone who would cancel their pre-order of the book just because of a cover change is a moron and probably not someone who really cares for the series. I think what you are doing is a great idea since Anime and Manga sell so poorly in the U.S. and Light Novels tend to sell even worse, however I must agree that this is really not the cover to go with. It really doesn’t capture the series to well and gives off something of a bad impression to those unfamiliar with the actual story of the book.

The Internet

That’s possibly the ugliest cover I’ve ever seen on a book, period.
I guess nobody told these guys that Holo appears as a young adolescent girl in the novels. And what is with that smile? It’s creepy as hell…
1 sale lost.


I freaked out when i saw the cover. I’m from EU and there’s no way i can get the magazine for the normal cover and this made me wonder whether i should buy this novel. I mean i love the story AND the art. If they change the art well, you lost one extra person who would have bought this.
It would be good, if you could order a specified version where you decide which cover/artwork you want in the book.


I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed about the cover. I would have loved a version with the original, but I can’t really justify paying extra for a magazine I won’t be reading, no offense intended.


While I can understand the decision to change the cover for the US release, I think the decision to put the original art on a slipcover in Yen+ is stupid. Here is what is going to happen, people who want the cover will have to spend extra money buying a magazine they might not have purchased otherwise, and a bunch of people who buy the magazine regularly may end up with slipcovers to a book they don’t own. Now does that sound very economical to anyone here? It’s inefficient and a waste of a consumer’s money. What should be done is like the Haruhi novels, offer a nice hardcover with the original art for the fans and collectors, and have the US artwork on the paperback. For consistency, throw a slipcover of the US art on the hardcover so both versions look the same. Then those that hate it can remove and burn it to satisfy their rage. I would much rather pay $20 for a nice hardcover version of the book than $20 to get a paperback and a magazine just so I can get a slipcovered paperback version. This is something Yen Press should seriously think about doing.


I can absolutely understand you guys’ reasoning for changing the cover.
As sad as it may sound, we still live in an age where comics aren’t taken as seriously as “real books.”
In any event, I’ve not had any real exposure to S&W so far and, while I’ll admit I’m not as fond of realism as I am of stylized ‘cartoon’ artwork, I think this is a really eye-catching cover revision and thus has the potential to draw people in.
In the end, you guys have brought fans Spice & Wolf in all its forms, you’ve proven time and time again to be diehard fans who pour all your hearts into producing the books, and are doing everything above and beyond to please fans and grow the fandom.
I absolutely love you all for that, and I know you’ll achieve everything you set out to do! <3


If you want to be tasteful, and keep that line of covering, at least make the model wear the same clothes that holo wears in the original cover.
I dont really even care if the naked holo is distasteful, its just the fact that it gives people a totally wrong image of the book.
At least have a unofficial contest for people to send in their own illustrations, and then you can choose the best one, or to manipulate it a little to get the desired effect. That would increase the chance of finding a good cover that you can use in the future as well.
-A reader from europe


Remove the retarded smile and spend more than 10 minutes in photoshop adding the necklace and the tail.
Better yet just make the cover brown with the words on it. the ugly naked girl in the shadow is a terrible idea.


Meh, don’t listen to the little whiners. I understand what you’re doing, and I think the new cover looks great. I only wish Tokyopop did the same to Good Witch of the West, a light novel series I fell in love with and which they totally butchered the release. This looks fantastic, and I went ahead and pre-ordered two copies for the bookstore I work in. I’ll make sure to put it on our Supernatural display with Twilight, Bitten, and Vampire’s Apprentice.
Manga/anime fans for the most part seem like greedy idiots who don’t understand it’s common practice for a book to obtain a totally new cover when it’s licensed in another region.


Well now , when I saw the news about the sneak peek of the cover , I simply rushed to see the cover.And God , what a mess..
Now , don’t think that I blame you for your idea , you have a point in your thinking , but after two anime series and thousands of hundreds of wallpapers/fan arts etc. this cover is too much.The second one is just what people are expecting to see when they go to the local store to buy their favorite book.Looks like I’ll have to buy the December issue and hope that there’ll be the cover.
(I hope that the issues that are shipped for the UK have the moving cover)


Why not just include the “western” cover as a slipcover over the “original” cover. Then the fans of the series can choose to remove the “western” cover and keep the original!


Ideally, we’d get the original cover.
However, I realize the market is not ideal for light novels; the anime style may undermine it’s content to a mainstream audience.
That said, couldn’t a better cover have been designed? I mean, seriously. This is just terrible artwork.
First, it’s too erotic. I’d be ashamed to read this in public, even the original cover looks more socially acceptable – despite it’s anime/manga depiction.
Secondly, it doesn’t represent the novel well. There should be some open fields, a village in the background or something that relates better.
Finally, it’s just scary to look at. The model’s teeth are just creepy, that area should’ve been obscured at least. The tail looks like an unknown foreign object or a bad photoshop, and the background is bland and boring. The excessive focus on her pouch is just confusing in every way I can imagine.
While I don’t mind greatly if the original cover is not use, at the very least I’d expect a professional replacement – not something quickly put together with no taste whatsoever. I will most certainly not be buying this.


Well. I’am fan of S&W too. I finished 2nd season of anime just day ago. And while I think idea about different cover is good and this particular one is interesting idea, her expression, even only teeth is completly different from how Horo (YES SHE IS HORO FFS, just watch anime and hear how her name is pronounced) is portrayed. She is lonely almost-god who wants to enjoy her time with Lawrence, not some flesh-hungry beast. It may be OK if you fix her expression, but not like this 🙁


That cover looks ridiculously bad. I mean you really didn’t consider your target audience. It looks like a filthy American adult novel. Get back to the drawing board or we ain’t buying. Actually, throw the drawing board down, cause all we want is what the Japanese got. That’s what really defines us anime watchers and manga readers. We’re just a group of weeaboo.


Is it too late to do what they did with The Beatles’ “Yesterday and Today?” You know, pasting a new cover on every issue before shipping?


Really bad cover. Instead of manga fans, you’re bringing in Twilight fans and sleazy romance novel fans with this.
Don’t say you’re “appealing to a wider audience” because you’re concerned that the novel won’t get the attention it deserves. You’re doing this to make more money. Anyone should be able to see that. There’s nothing wrong with trying to make money, but there is if it’s at the expense of the product. Most fans of S&W would not want to have a book with this cover on their shelves. I certainly don’t.
Bad idea, if your intention is to do S&W justice. But, if it’s to make a bit more money, then you’ll probably succeed.
Really though, even if it was a great cover, I wouldn’t be satisfied with anything but the original. Guess I’ll just have to learn to read Japanese, since “adaptation” like this isn’t exactly anything new.

Beowulf Lee

I think you’re not only driving a lot more people away by having a picture of a naked woman on the front of your book, it’s also alienating the anime fanbase. That smile she has on also looks like it was taken from the Joker if he crossbred with a horse.
If you wanted to appeal to a more general audience, you should have gone with something abstract.


I absolutely have no problem with changing the cover to appeal to a wider audience, i want the book to be a success so more of them get translated. However, i do have one comment. Whoever drew that should be fired. What the hell is wrong with her teeth? Going with something minimalistic might be a better idea.


I’ll laugh so much when this backfires and you end up releasing a version with the original cover anyway in an attempt to win back the fans you’ve alienated.


I’m sorry but that cover is terrible and is making me seriously reconsider my intent to purchase this novel, petty as that is.
The whole thing just looks like an amateur photoshop attempt. The “tail” and wheat pouch are poorly done and look two dimensional, the background is terrible, and the model should’ve had braces as a kid. This all, of course, is ignoring the fact you’re putting a NAKED WOMAN on the cover of this novel.
This is not something I would feel comfortable reading in front of others. Its not something I’d even give more than a glance at on the shelf, let alone pick it up and read the back cover. Not because I find sex verbotten or anything, but simply because the cover looks *tacky*.
It looks like that of one of those trashy sex-romance novels my mother used to read while wishing my father was more of a man. While a healthy part of S&W involves romance, it certainly isn’t the trashy novel sort of romance.
I completely understand and support the reasoning behind giving the S&W Novel’s cover a more general appeal, but its my belief that THIS is not the right way. Please consider a design change, or do some focus group testing or something. This cover does not appeal, in my opinion.


“and we’ll be exploring their feasibility. In the meantime, we remain pleased to be able to provide jackets in the December issue of YEN PLUS, which at the moment represents the widest and most efficient means of distribution”
“most efficient means of distribution”
Wouldn’t the most efficient means of distribution for the cover be to actually put it with the book?
I don’t care much for this new cover but, I will still buy it regardless and the Yen+ for the other cover. Hopefully in future releases an alternate cover will be easier to attain.


OK, changing the cover for a US release to appeal to a wider audience is basically a good idea.
However I personally find the execution to be somewhat poor: The tail and the pouch look two-dimensional and artificial, and the yellow/orange gradient looks cheap and tacky. The whole thing kinda looks like someone’s practicing his first steps in Photoshop.
Also, what’s with that bucktoothed smirk?


I really don’t like the cover (what is up with those teeth), but I will still buy it. And for once I’ll buy the magazine to get the original cover.
But what I’m wondering about is the following: what about
the next volumes? Will it be an new cover or the original? If it is a new cover, will the original cover be included or will it be offered as an extra in the magazine and by doing this aren’t you punishing the people who have been loyal to you guys from the start by taking extra money from them for wanting a product in their own language (or at least a language they can read) in the most original way?
You’re also saying that the cover will be an special edition with the magazine, but can you guarantee that non-US fans that buy your manga and novels will also get the opportunity to get their hands on the original cover? I would have to order the magazine online, because they don’t sell it at shops in my country and by doing this I won’t be sure I have the cover before it arrives at my door step. I also don’t order it in a US online shop but one in Europe, because the transport rates are sometimes ridiculously high and I don’t want to loose $10 for making a wager to get the cover.


I don’t like it.
Why can’t this cover be a slip cover? Keep the real cover, just put a slip cover of it. Wouldn’t that solve everything?


I’m sorry, but I’m afraid I have to disagree with you guys at Yen Press on how the cover should be handled. That new “Americanized” cover, is just ugly, and doesn’t capture the spirit of the books or the character Holo herself. Plus, it just paints a very incorrect image about the series IMHO.
The original cover was bright and colourful and depicted, in a sense, the playful nature of Holo. This new cover, is way too dark and unappealing, and does not show Holo’s playful side. IMHO, This would be like deciding that the cartoon ish Harry Potter covers weren’t “marketable” enough, and then they changed the cover to something far more different than what is actually inside the books.
Now, I realize this may not change your opinion on this matter, and I doubt I can do anything else other than voice my personal gripe with that awful cover, but can you at least let us, the fans who will be buying these books, have a choice in this matter, rather than forcing it down out throats?
Yeah, I know we’re still considered a “niche market” but really, having to change things, such as this cover for example, completely alienates the people who are going buy it, both the people of the niche market who know what this is, and the people who don’t know what this is, who will be completely fooled into thinking this is something else.
I mean, look at the controversy GhostLight (UK Games company) faced when they tried to change the cover of Agarest Senki from the wonderful manga drawn covers to the absolutely hideous 3D Rendered Westernised cover. People complained, a LOT, and GhostLight were forced to change the cover back, as not only as the new Westernised cover absolutely hideous, it also gave the wrong impression about the game. Slightly off topic I know, but it’s essentially the same thing in a nutshell.
Not only that, but there’s the concern about that optional slip cover that you will be offering in one of the issues of your magazine, Yen Plus. Now, I honestly do understand what you mean to do if you do go through with this (Which is a tremendously BAD idea!), however, what about the people in the UK/EU who CANNOT get a hold of your magazine? We’d have to be stuck with this disgusting cover and you’d more than likely lose a lot of sales.
Look, I know you want more people to read it, and yeah, in essence that’s a good thing to hope for, but in actuality there are some things that are better left untouched. The original cover was PERFECTLY FINE. This new cover, it’s really unappealing and ugly.
All in all though, if you try to use this newer cover, you’d be faced with a lot LESS sales than originally anticipated, and that’d be a really sad thing, as you guys do a fantastic translation with the series you license, but, in this case, in order to gain interest, in order to sell a fantastic book, you need a really bright and colourful cover, which is what the original cover is. Please, just give the original cover a chance okay? It’ll make a lot of people happier in the long run and it’ll avoid a lot of unnecessary controversy.


Forgot to add to my first comment but as a summery S&W now looks like a cheap erotic novel.
Way to reach out to a bigger audience yenpress. (Seriously whoever came up with that cover idea needs firing)


Almost forgot. Quick question to sate my curiosity, if you don’t mind:
How do you guys go about deciding on and designing the logos for the series? (i.e. their name’s typography, etc.)

Lady G.

I am not liking that new cover that much. It looks too much like a scifi/fantasy “trashy romance novel” for my tastes. This is going to look extremely out-of-place in stores that group their Japanese light novels in the manga section. It’s also not indicative of the product you are getting; I foresee readers picking this up and leafing through it only to be turned off by the manga illustrations and complete lack of smut. Personally, if I saw this on the shelves without expressly knowing what I was supposed to be looking for, I would unconsciously skim right past it and never realize the first book had been released! We may be adjured to “never judge a book by its cover”, but the truth is we all do it with unfamiliar series/authors.
I am also not a fan of the idea of ONLY being able to receive the original cover by purchasing a magazine issue. I would suggest offering the slipcovers via another method as well for those of us who have absolutely no interest in buying a serialized manga publication. Perhaps a mail-away offer as a secondary source?
(Regarding the difficulty in selling light novels in the US, instead of radically changing covers and dividing your potential “core” buyers’ opinions, your efforts would be better spent informing retailers in which section they should be stocking them for best sales. Depending on the series and/or store I go to, they could be in Young Adult, Sci Fi/Fantasy, or Manga – quite a divisive and confusing effect.)


I think some of the people posting are clearly out of their minds here. Smutty? Trashy? Not representative of what’s in the book? This cover is spot on with what’s in the book! I bought the original light novel to help practice ny Japanese and after seeing all these comments went back and pulled the first off my shelf. One of the first black and white illustrations is a picture of Horo (sorry Holo’s) bare rear! If you’re so offended by this, why are you even interested in Spice and Wolf in the first place?
I think this cover is huge win. Kudos to Yen Press for making the right moves to actually make new readers buy these books. I’ll be buying two: one for myself and one to make up for some of the dullards making these inane comments!


Again, I really must push this.
There is NO REASON to not have the novel’s tagline added to the SLIP COVER.
I mean, the SLIP COVER is the one intended for fans. It has the original image for the cover. So why is the original tagline “Merchant Meats Spicy Wolf” missing?!
Please, Please add this tagline to the slip cover. Please!


i think u guys did a good job! At first i wasn’t into the new cover at all and i was one of those people who thought it looked perverted and trashy. But i was curious if people who dont read manga would like it so i asked a very close friend of mine how it looked in her eyes, turns out she thought it was cool looking. I know that what my friend says means barely anything but if this cover does succeed in getting more fans THEN I SAY LET THEM BE DIFFERENT! My favorite light novels have been canceled because no one buys them (ex: zero no tsukaima….not one vol came out)and id really like to read them because i love japanese stories!
But then again if they fail…ill be very dissapointed.
Thinking about it succeeding makes me happy because maybe more light novels could be licensed like toradora for example! I’ve been waiting for a companie to take a hold of that masterpeice!
ill be buying the novel and magazine for the cover! And i hope u guys can share the results if it sells well… so we could… maybe change back to the old covers(?) (if it fails of course)


Well, I’m not a huge fan of the redesigned cover, but I’m a Yen Plus subscriber anyway, and so I’ll have the slipcover, and that’ll be the cover on my copy. You should probably consider just putting out two versions– one with your cover, and then one with the original, if you don’t want to alienate fans.

Garrett Albright

http://yenpress.us/?p=1696#comment-8101 – I want everyone to go back and read that comment, if they missed over it previously. It’s the best one yet.
Yen Press, you really should ignore your own and your parent company’s experience in selling books internationally and just do what would appease vocal fanboys. You should also splay horrible misspelled Engrish on your cover; professional appearance be damned. Also, the thing with putting the original cover with the December issue of Yen Plus – *clearly* that’s an attempt to sell more magazines to fans, and in turn possibly get them hooked on the magazine and subscribe. Why the hell are you trying to make more money instead of playing to the wishes of angry otaku who probably wouldn’t bat an eye at the thought of pirating your products anyway? Just what kind of company are you?
Otaku entitlement syndrome rears its ugly head once again!


While I don’t care about a cover change that is seriously creepy. That smile will give me nightmares. An abstract cover would seem like a better marketing decision. Something like the alternate covers of the Harry Potter books maybe.


Okay first of all, I’m a big fan of Spice and Wolf (I’ve seen both seasons of the anime). And I love Spice and Wolf, it’s my favorite series, a truly beloved masterpiece of medieval economics, pagan mythology, fantasy, and of course it’s growing development of romance between the two main characters: Lawerence and Holo-(I’d prefer Horo, but “Holo” is technically the correct version of her name, and I’m not going to dispute this any further). So being a S&W fan, I’m going to buy this novel and LOVE it and ENJOY it!
Now with regarding this controversial issue; well it brings me great disappointment, that many fans will not help support this wonderful series, by not purchasing the novel only because of the radical and drastic change of the cover. Although I’d must admit, that at FIRST I was displeased by the choice for the cover, and would have wanted the novel in it’s original cover. But I support Yen Press idea, because they’re trying to get Spice and Wolf a bigger audience, and sell as a successful novel. What I believe is more important, is the success for this novel, so that it can continue to be published here in the US, and not be dropped early (like many other light novels). That way many fans of this series would be able to read the entire series, and enjoyed this fairy tale to it’s end. So bravo Yen Press for bringing this novel to life for us to read.
And I would like to add, that I might get used to this cover design, in due time (hopefully) but if it’s a REALLY big issue, then buy the Y+ December issue, for the original slip cover. Yes money might be an issue, but if anyone is desperate for the original, then spending a few 10 bucks wouldn’t do anyone harm (although I agree with everyone, that Yen Press should include the original cover, along with the release of this novel). But I’m pleading for all the frustrated fans out there, to please help support this, wonderfully captivating series. I would love for the continuation of this series, and not have it dropped early on. So please I’m begging, because I truly love Spice and Wolf, like anyone here. And I want to embark on this journey with Lawerence and Holo, until their journey’s end.
I’m not trying to sound like a hypocrite, but I’m being truthfully honest, by begging from the bottom of my heart, and hoping that every disappointed fan might have a change of heart. And if this plea doesn’t reach anyone, then all I can ask, is please don’t do it for me, or Yen Press, but instead please do it for Isuna Hasekura! Help spread the love for this series, and support the creator Isuna Hasekura. So please I’m honestly begging, for everyone to change their mind about this, or at least reconsider. Thank you.


The new cover is horrible.
If they wanted to avoid the manga look of the original cover, they could have made the new cover a simple design, like some coins and wheat or something like that.
I’m probably not going to buy this due to the cover.

Ha Na

I laughed so hard at the fact that a company chose the worst economical decision to help a book about economics sell. Did anybody at yen press even read the book?


… I blame marketing for this… This is like the stupid differences in American video game covers. I was expecting more from Yen press then bowing to what marketing says will sell.
I honestly feel you’ll lose potential readers with this.


Great news for Spice and Wolf fans and great marketing for western audiences. However, like many previous comments. Why do I have to buy the magazine to receive the original J cover? I don’t mind paying the extra $9 for a special edition. But why would I buy a magazine that I won’t read. I think others feel this way as well. It seems like a waste (more than just a lackluster deal) to purchase a magazine and throw it away just to get a cover.
My suggestion is to either:
1) Offer a special edition with original cover art for sale at additional cost.
2) Offer the cover for direct sale. Although this may not work in your case since you operate through a retail distribution system.
This is one situation where offering the cover as a cross-promotion extra doesn’t seem like good PR.


But wait, the cover of the novel will be removable, right? (so that we can change to the one that comes with the magazine)


I completely respect what you’re trying to do with the cover, but like others have said, the execution is terrible. I have no issue with trying to appeal to a larger audience, I don’t even have an issue with the naked girl (Horo was naked quite often early in the series), but the actual cover here is very unappealing.
And what annoys me most of all is the “fan” cover. I have never seen Yen Plus before, I never knew it even existed before today, but I want that fan cover.
If no bookstore in my area sells your magazine (and I do live in the States) how in the world can I get ahold of it? I am not going to buy a subscription to a magazine because I want one thing in one issue.
Please tell us how we can obtain the December issue of your magazine through reasonable means.


Um, I think it’s supposed to look kind of fake/badly shopped.
I think (almost)all of us understand that Yen Press wants to make more money by appealing to a larger audience, but there are a lot of ways to do this that in my opinion would be much better than this. I will be buying it, since I’m a fan, but I probably won’t be reading this outside of my house. Also, there are a lot of younger Spice&Wolf fans out there.


I think that it’s a great idea to promote light novels as much as possible, it helps non-manga readers to get their “start” in the manga world. And those who are bashing at the new cover are overreacting. THE COVER ISN’T PERMANENT. I mean just because it’s a new cover it doesn’t mean that you can’t cover it. Just get the slip cover and be happy.


As much as I’m grateful that you’re translating these novels and I’m aware that changing the cover of a light novel might make it more marketable, I don’t like your new S&W cover at all. As many other people have pointed out, the new artwork makes the book look like one of those trashy novels you can find in almost every grocery store and doesn’t represent the series well at all.
I don’t find this particular cover to be as good of a marketing ploy as it should be either. You’re alienating a lot of fans who will not buy a book with this cover or pay the ten extra dollars just to get the original cover. It’s not a very good long-term strategy as well. A person who buys this book for the cover will buy it expecting a slightly smutty paranormal romance, only to find out that it’s more focused on medieval trade economics and character dynamics (and complete with those manga-style illustrations you tried so hard to edit out of the cover). Those people won’t likely finish the book, and there’s an even slimmer chance that they’ll buy any other books in the series.
Bear in mind, this is my own opinion, but wouldn’t it be a better idea to release a paperback version with a picture of something like a horse-drawn cart with a bunch of apples driving through a field of wheat? it might be a bit generic, but it represents the contents of the book well and would likely appeal to a large amount of potential readers that would be scared away by a book sporting a naked girl with a strange, bucktoothed smile and a wolf tail on the front. Then you could ship a separate hardcover copy with the original art like what you’re doing with the Haruhi Suzumiya books. While it might just be the series itself, it seems like both the hardcover and paperback versions of that are doing well, with both appearing in the list of the top five best selling light novels from Barnes & Noble at least.
At any rate,I hope you’ll at least keep comments from me and others in mind. Even if you cannot do anything about this volume (though I hope that you’ll give us the option of buying this book with the original art without having to buy that issue of Yen+), please do not make another cover like this for any other books in the series. I will buy this because I want the series to succeed, but it seems like many others will not, so consider that before you publish any more with covers like this.


I was planning on buying this, but now I think I’ll wait it out for a few volumes and see what happens.


Just wanted to make it known that I have no interest in Yen Plus and that I won’t be buying this release. If a proper version comes out at some point I will gladly hand over my monies, until then I will keep getting my Horo fix elsewhere.
Will keep buying the well done Haruhi hardbacks of course (which curiously have sales rankings much higher than their paperback counterparts on Amazon and B&N). Good luck expanding that market though, maybe someday you won’t need the hardcore fans anymore!


You’re completely missing the point here. One is depicting a scene from a section of the story, the other is the actual cover for the book. While a cover that reflects the content inside certainly isn’t required, a cover like this that implies completely the wrong type of content certainly doesn’t help either.
I’m not even gonna bother with your statement on the in-novel illustrations, anyone can see how different those are compared to this new cover, especially given their different context. Besides, the nudity isn’t the issue here, the issue is how it’s used, and how bad the end product ended up being, that people aren’t happy with. It’s like what many others have said, right idea, but horrible execution.


I mean, leaving aside the fact that when I showed my wife the picture, she immediately thought the cover was for a porn novel… as one of the linked articles points out, since when is Holo’s tail *grey*? In the anime, her fur is quite clearly reddish-brown, and her tail is reddish-brown with a lighter brown tip.
Unrelated, but I kind of thing any S&W cover without apples on it is a mistake…


what happened to the “Merchant meats spicy wolf” that is imprinted in every volume of the Japanese novels. its quite a popular line for the series.


That cover is just embarassing to anyone who knows Spice+Wolf, making them spend another 9$ to conceal that trash. I understand people NOT buying a novel because of the cover, but buying it BECAUSE of the cover isn’t something I can imagine many people do.


I won’t buy it. It’s that simple. As long as publishers don’t learn to just translate foreign books/movies/whatever, but feel the need to edit/localize them I won’t buy it. And I hope nobody else will buy this either.


To anyone complaining about the use of the name “Holo”, if any of you bothered to watch the second season, you’d see she actually writes her name on a contract. In English. As Holo. With a very defined L. It’s plain as day, and anyone who argues that is a dead-set “Japan > *” idiot that needs a slap in the face.


ofcourse they have to change the cover,
i think westerner still thinks manga as childish stuff,
by changeing the cover, it will probaly attract more readers. especially those who are not familiar with japanese culture.

Dark Dio

I will look forward when some dirty guys get this novel and found no porn or any sexy moment. I think this book will target wrong group in the market.


I don’t see why it’s necessary to screw over the people who are actually, you know, *fans* of the series for some vague and prejudiced “mainstream market” that probably doesn’t even exist.
Catering to this “mainstream market” can bring nothing but an inferior product.


@Dick: I agree. A cover that’s just brown/white with the words would be vastly preferable to this. It’s not the real cover, but at least it wouldn’t make bile rise in my throat everytime I saw it.


I’m kind of confused about how you guys treat light novels. You try to make them appeal to non-manga fans by removing the cover artwork, but most of the time light novels get placed in the manga/graphic novel section in stores anyways…where no non-manga fan is going to ever find them. 🙁
Yes I will still probably buy this, just like I bought Haruhi and Kieli, but I’m disappointed. Please consider a hardcover edition with original cover art next time.


I have to agree 100% with not being convinced light novels can’t sell. I actually really admire the way you’re approaching bringing light novels to the US market – changing them up to appeal to a wider audience. I think it’s a step in the right direction for making a light novel market. =]
I believe they’d work…if they weren’t misplaced in the manga/graphic novel section of the bookstores. I’m not sure if an inquiry from the original distributor or fans about relocating the novels to a different spot would do anything, but I would think it would be worth a try.


Great, now you’ve got this bizarre book in the manga section. That will generate many sales from non-fans. I’ve bought books even after buying the omnibus that includes those books because I like the cover. This is one book I’m not going to even touch.
This isn’t about the issue with nudity you often get with the West. How does the cover even reflect the book’s content? It doesn’t. It’s also damn misleading.
The worst thing about this is an attempt to pass off more magazine sales as an efficient means of distribution. Wouldn’t the most efficient means of distribution be including the slip covers with the book?


I understand why they have to try and make this appeal more than just the people who would normally read light novels. I kinda like the idea of alternative covers, just not quite the execution. The new cover art makes it look like a s3xual fantasy, LOL and to display Horo’s body like that, wow. I would have a least picked a different design.
And another thing, it IS kinda tricky to include the original cover design in your magazine. The original cover design should ALREADY be included along with the light novel. Not everyone checks this website and will know that there is an alternative cover (not a good move).
@Kendra: Not all bookstores put light novels in the manga section. My local bookstores put theirs in the science-fiction/fantasy section.


What amazes me is that nobody at Yen Press is replying to the comments or is even making another statement. Every site I visit about manga and anime is talking about this cover and not a lot of people seem to like it. Lot’s of people are even refusing to buy the LN like this.
On the other hand, maybe this is all a publicity stunt (which I dearly hope) and we won’t have to buy the magazine to get the slip cover.


Hi Jessica,
Actually we have responded to comments both here and at the AnimeonDVD forums to say that we are already looking at alternate means to make the jackets available to interested consumers based on the feedback we’ve received. Unfortunately, though, we cannot reply to each comment individually. When and if we have more information to share, we certainly will.

Yen Press enthüllt die S&W Light Novel |

[…] Nach vielen Monaten nach der Ankündigung von Yen Press, dass sie die Lizenz der Light Novel “Spice and Wolf”  von Isuna Hasekura erworben haben und nach vielen Spekulationen bezüglich des  möglichen englischen Covers hat Yen Press vor wenigen Tagen das Cover enthüllt: […]


I’d like to reiterate that if you look in the teen section of any bookstore, you’ll see lots of books with covers like this. The cover fits right in there.


I really dislike the cover a lot actually. I think there should be the including of the slip cover of the original with the book, at least. I’m a huge Spice and Wolf fan, I must say I’m disappointed.
But, being a huge fan, I’m going to purchase it anyways since it’s still the series I know and love. Is the thing about the slip covers in the December issue going to be one of those contests where you’re only giving a certain number away out of a drawing? I always fail miserably at those things, with my luck this won’t be any different. I’ll try for it anyways though, since I’d really like the original.
Also, what’s up with making it look like a sexual book? As a fan, I understand why she’s nude, but a lot of newcomers could take it the wrong way. Doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of changing it in the first place? Plus I’ve heard of a lot of people saying they’re boycotting the series because of this, I think that would make everything a bit pointless personally, but that may just be me. It seems like trying to appeal to non-manga fans who like to read novels, you’re getting rid of the appeal to people who are manga fans. Besides, won’t it just be put in the manga section anyways? No one who doesn’t like manga is going to find it there, if they don’t like manga they’re not going to go looking for books in the manga section. It seems to me that by trying to get more sales, you’re only going to end up getting a lot less. I don’t know, it just doesn’t make any sense to me…


So basically you browsed through?
I’m not trying to sound mean here, but seriously.
There are some brilliant ideas posted on here. I think that everyone on the S&W project at Yen Press should read through the comments here and change the cover to appease the general public because we are who you have to rely on to actually buy the novel. The ‘normal’ people won’t see this in the manga section because they just walk by. And to add, when it’s somewhere else, they would just browse right past it unless they think that it’s a smut novel of some sort. Now, I plan to buy the book. But only if I can actually get a hold of the Yen Plus mag from that month. It’s just about nowhere. You guys say that they’re in Walmarts across the country. Well, they’re not. They’re in select book stores in the richer neighborhoods.
Oh. And a subscription is crap because I, like most, am too poor to afford it. It would be a better idea to have us pay a dollar or something more to get the original cover with the book.


i think that cover is real ugly now i have to sub to yen plus oh well i was planning on subing to yen plus anyways


I looked at the cover but the light seems off to me where is the light coming from to have the wheat pouch that bright but her body is covered by shadow? I was also wondering couldn’t you have also instead of looking into young adult novels look into the covers by George R.R. martin works like A song of fire and ice series covers as he sells alot of books as well considering how much they have been reprinted by various publishers.
I would say a good way to get readers would be have a good synopsis on the back of the book since thats where most people look to see if a book is interesting plus through word of mouth not a cover that doesn’t gives any hint of actual economics at play in the s&w medieval setting or it being pretty much integral to most of the plot.
Also I’m glad you went M rated on S&W manga since I do have the original manga and it would’ve been sad seeing the artwork cut to an audience level that would have parents complaining about a random manga title in newspapers over nudity in few panels in libraries etc.


@Jessica. Apparently, when you think that the high-ups aren’t listening, their listening VERY LOUD AND CLEARLY. ^_^


So I just wanted to give my 2 cents, and it would be nice if this gets read. First, the cover with Holo. I just wanted to remind the fans that if you remember how Holo and Lawrence first met, it was after Holo had “come out” of the wheat, and was naked. There is an insert in the Japanese version, that illustrates that perfectly. quote: http://www.baka-tsuki.org/project/images/7/73/Okami_002_003.jpg
However, personally, I would rather have seen it as an insert, not the cover image…because the cover image gives a little bit away about what the story is about…and it’s not “about” Holo naked. But I mean, it’s no different from the Japanese insert.
My real dislike of it really deals with that smile…there’s nothing really wrong with the cover, except that it probably will have the tendency to give off the wrong impression, which really isn’t that big a deal. It’s that smile…it looks so…I don’t know…crooked…plus it’s missing her canines ^_^.
I’ll get the book, but I’ll be looking for a cover for it. I hope Volume 2 doesn’t go the same way as Volume 1, and you guys choose a cover that fits the story more than the demographic.
Thanks for the translation though!


The cover won’t change the words on the pages. Refusing to buy something because of that is simple-minded and counter intuitive. If you like Spice and Wolf, support it so that others are localized. Who care’s what the cover looks like? Some of you people complaining are ridiculously spoiled.

Spice and Wolf Fan

Ahem, perhaps you don’t understand something here.
“Merchant MEATS Spicy Wolf” is an intentional mispelling! Which the author says elludes to something that will eventually come in the novels but hasn’t been revealed yet! It’s not an example of ENGRISH!


Hi Jello.
We aren’t just browsing. We actually do read each and every comment and take them to heart. Unfortunately, the demands of our day do not allow us to respond to each and every comment. If we did, there wouldn’t be any time left in the day to actually release the books people are discussing.
There are some very good ideas here, and based on some of them, we are looking at our options in an effort to make sure fans are as pleased as we can make them without jeopardizing the final sales of the books. The decision to change this cover was not an arbitrary one. The reality is that had we gone the route of using the original cover on the books they would not be represented in stores in any meaningful way — if at all. So while existing fans might have been happy with the packaging, they would have had a very difficult time ever finding the books, and new readers would never have had an opportunity to find these wonderful stories at all. Ultimately, we would have been failing in our responsibilities as the stewards of the series in this market to get the books into stores and consigning it cancellation, the fate of practically every other light novel property in this market for these very same reasons. That simply was not and is not an option.
What we will do as I have said before is explore our options to provide interested readers with access to the original cover art in some way. We have already made efforts in that direction by including a slip jacket in the December issue of Yen Plus. However, based on some of the feedback we’ve received, we are looking into other possible means to make these jackets available. If and when we determine that such another means if viable (there are a number issues that need to be addressed before such a decision can be made), we will make a statement to that effect.
What I do wish everyone reading this would take away from this is that everyone at Yen Press is every bit as much a fan of Spice and Wolf as the people voicing their opinions. We are committed to the success of the series, but past performance in this category has made it abundantly clear that in order to succeed in this market, one has to reach out beyond existing fans in an effort to bring new readers into the fold. You may disagree with the direction we’re taking, but in the end, I think we all share the same goal.
Thanks to everyone who has made their voices heard. We will keep listening.


Hassler – if I’m doing the maths right, the slipcover for S&W is going to be something like 7.5×15 inches (based on the 5×7.5 inch trim size of the novel), and unless my ruler shrunk, Yen+ has a 7-1/8×10 inch trim size… meaning the slipcover is going to arrive with several creases, right? That seems… suboptimal, to the purists, of which I am not one. (There seem to be several of us Mikes posting here.)
You said “We are committed to the success of the series, but past performance in this category has made it abundantly clear that in order to succeed in this market, one has to reach out beyond existing fans in an effort to bring new readers into the fold.”, and I’m curious if you’d be willing to elaborate on just what you see as the demographic for new readers to be brought “into the fold”?
It seems, from this end of the internet, like the strategy is simply to make the cover show no hints of the book’s Japanese origins (because Japanese = scary = disappointing sales) and hope for the best. I and undoubtedly everyone else would be somewhat relieved to know that there’s a plan which is a bit more thought out than that, so it’d be somewhat nice if you could say, for example, “we believe this book will be enjoyed by fans of Jim Butcher, Steven Brust, Martha Wells, and Emma Bull”, or, you know, “Bestselling Author A, with considerable name recognition among genre-savvy 14-24-year-olds with above-average levels of disposable income, has read an ARC and provided a glowing endorsement, which we intent to capitalize on in print and online marketing campaigns.”
That would, be, yeah, encouraging, you know? 🙂


I’m glad to hear you guys are looking for other options, but I have one question about that: what about non-US markets? I think you can’t ignore for instance the European market, because I know that lots of people in Europe (including myself) are buying a lot of manga and anime being published in America. I think that my collection exist about 5% licences in Europe and 95% from the US.
I’ve read the animeondvd forums and some of them are talking about mail-in or a special order online, but this means that the European fans will have to pay a lot more again.


I’m fine with trying to bring Spice & Wolf to a more general audience and making slight changes but THIS? Why would anyone put such trash on ANY book? Clearly, nobody has seen an anatomy book and the face looks friggin’ horrifying. Even if you’re trying to hook people in with a naked wolf girl on the cover, like the Japanese did, that has NO appeal whatsoever. Honestly? It’s degrading to the story of Spice and Wolf.
I’m a casual animanga fan and I enjoy plenty of other books too. If I walked by this in my bookstore, I would not even pick it up. I don’t judge books by their cover but that is an immediate repellent right there. If you published Spice and Wolf, half with that cover and half with the original cover, I’d bet on the original getting the most sales simply because it doesn’t look crappy.


I recently discovered Yen Press, and grew excited when I realized they were publishing Spice and Wolf in English. However, after seeing the disrespect they show the original work by photoshopping (badly, in my opinion) a naked woman instead of the original artwork, I’m reluctant to give Yen Press my money for the book, let alone even MORE money to get an appropriate cover.
I never liked companies who cater to a general audience, and in their attempt to appease as many people as possible, they invariably drive away the fans who would give them the most business. Yen Press has lost a lot of my respect, not to mention possibly my business. Maybe I’ll buy and/or download a fansub?


How about this, why not make a copy of the book with the original cover art available only online? That way, you can print copies of that book on-demand, allowing you to cater to that market without cutting into your bookstore sales. If you don’t think you can manage that logistically for whatever reason, make a deal where people who preorder the book online will get a copy of the book with the original cover art. I don’t think that would be an unreasonable demand for any book publishing company, as they would have around two to three months to figure out which books they should print with the original cover art and which ones they should print with the revised cover art.
For people that really care about this issue (like myself), they will go the extra mile just to get a book with a tasteful cover. I think much of the discontent over this issue concerns the fact that us consumers aren’t even being given a choice in the matter and not being given a choice will ultimately result in fewer sales.

Light novel fan

My interest has always been in the translation itself, mostly because I want to know if Holo’s yuujou-go is translated any differently than other characters’ dialog, and whether she continues to not call Lawrence by his name in the english version and all that.
I’m in the I-understand-the-reason-I-don’t-like-the-cover group, and I already subscribe to Yen+, so I’ll be getting the original-ish cover with my December issue (I’m also kind of hoping to see Merchant Meats Spicy Wolf on there but I understand if it doesn’t make it). My understanding of the publishing process is that once a cover is decided upon it’s not going to be changed even if (or especially if) the author himself hates it, so I’ve not got my hopes up for a different cover design or anything like that, but I do hope that in the future covers more indicative of the actual content of the book are used…
I have shown the covers to some other people. Of the two people who previously had heard of the series and were maybe thinking of reading it one of them was vehemently against the cover (but will probably read my copy anyway), and the other one really didn’t care. Of the two who hadn’t already heard of it, one of them thought the new cover was porn book-y, and the other thought it might do its job of attracting new readers, so really I’ve heard every opinion on the matter.
My only other thoughts are wondering about what future covers will look like, since one of my favorite parts of the illustrations (especially the first book’s cover) is Holo’s clothes and she’s, well, not wearing them on this cover. It would be nice if the original art for future volumes was offered somehow, and I don’t think I’d be opposed to paying a few extra bucks for it myself.
Finally, though I don’t particularly like this cover, I do hope that the book is successful, and I can tell you that my purchasing this and future volumes is definitely guaranteed.


@Hassler – I knew J releases were tough sales, but after reading your comments I had no idea J light novels had such a hard time finding shelf space. I guess that would rule out any separate special fan edition.
However, I do agree with Ideaman about releasing online. Not about the on-demand printing. But releasing the slipcover online. You can put them though e-tailers as a separate line items. That way they can be purchased separately (with bundled shipping mitigating any consumer overhead) or though a “promo” bundled where the two items are sold together. I don’t think there’s any shortage of e-tailers willing to do this– they’ve shipped out DVD pre-orders with keychains, toys, and other swag before.


“But releasing the slipcover online. You can put them though e-tailers as a separate line items. That way they can be purchased separately (with bundled shipping mitigating any consumer overhead) or though a “promo” bundled where the two items are sold together.”


>_> >_> >_>
Hassler, look, I really don’t care anymore that the cover is like that. I’m going to be buying it, and I’m getting the slip cover. I’m fine with that.
Please, Please, answer this question!
I realize you cant answer fans directly usually, so PLEASE JUST REPLY TO THEM IN GENERAL REGARDING THIS.
Please reply about this….please. 🙁


>How about this, why not make a copy of the book with the original cover art available only online?
This times a million. I don’t care if I have to pay 20, 30, 40 dollars, I just want a real copy of the book and not some watered-down mass-market trash.


You seem to be missing the main point of people’s anger here.
The issue isn’t “why has the cover changed” or “how am I going to get hold of the origional”
This issue is why has the cover changed to something that looks even less socialy acceptable then the origional cover?
If you look at the substitutes for other books with cartoony covers, they look pretty tastefull, something you wouldn’t be ashamed to take up to the counter at your local bookstore or read on the bus. eg.
(The colour of magic origional cover http://www.e-steve.co.uk/Jo/Discworld/Images/The%20Colour%20Of%20Magic.jpg)
(The colour of magic more marketable cover http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_uEqxUFfsfwA/SqTgbTzfp9I/AAAAAAAABoQ/VolLjO_nkd8/s320/colour+of+magic+2.jpg)
(Harry potter book origional cover http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_sm_uC2KexAw/Rgqhr_I-ihI/AAAAAAAAAAc/pVg4qeqvZvU/s400/childrens+british.jpg)
(Harry potter book adult cover http://harshitpandey.files.wordpress.com/2007/03/deathly_hallows_adult_cover.png)
If other publishers can make their books “more marketable” without making them look like trashy porn novels why can’t you?
THIS is the real problem.


Maybe for the second novel you can ask the Fans to contribute illustrations in non-anime-style. There are so many talented artists (f.ex. make a contest on DeviantArt), who are able to create awesome real-life Holos, Nolas and others (I want a Diana Cover XD ).


I can totally understand the need to appeal to a wider audience- but I feel like the cover you chose definitely doesn’t suit the book!
Aside from looking like a trashy romance that my mom would have under her bed, it’s not even well made! It looks like something I could have make in Adobe PE in under 20 minutes, and my skills are very much lacking in that area. There are plenty of fans with extroardinary talent, such as on DeviantART, that could make a much more aesthetic cover.
While this won’t stop me from buying the book, it will cut off a lot of advertisement, as very few would be willing to read it in public! Also; forcing fans to buy two books in order to have a nice cover which they can use to get their friends interested? That’s a nasty trick, in my opinion. Why can’t you just release two editions? Many books do.
I appreciate the translation, and look forward to reading it, but I am thoroughly disappointed in your chosen cover. I hope you do better with future volumes of Spice & Wolf.


Please do NOT add back the horrid original tagline, “Merchant Meats Spicy Wolf,” to the original slipcover. It’s rather cringe inducing. Maybe for those who seem to be asking for it you could add it on the inside jacket?
Anyway, I have to agree with the 90+% of the people here who say photo-shopped naked girl on it is pretty ridiculous and embarassing, and please listen to Iduno’s reasoning on that one. There are lots of superior options to make the cover more appealing to the mainstream and fantasy crowds that don’t involve alienating large swaths of your fanbase or potential fanbase.
Thank you for taking our feedback seriously, though, or at least seeming to.


I really like the cover. I picked up Kelly Armstrong’s new book, Frostbitten, the other day, and the covers are actually pretty similar. Except Armstrong’s book has New York Times Bestselling Author splashed all over it.


To be perfectly honest I full heartedly agree with Iduno, I feal that actually the new cover will actually make the book look worse for sales. The cover looks like something my 40 year old mother would read. The issue isn’t the change, It’s the cover art itslef. I will however still be purchasing this book to read, I mean those who have watched the fansubs on the net SHOULD PURCHASE the books in respect for the original author. I just hope this doesn’t turn into something like Kino no Tabi(Kino’s Journey) I looked forward to the sequel only to find out after reading Tokyopop f’d the liscence up.I wait warmly for the sequel to this as well and hope the cover art itslef is taken in another direction. Good luck Yen+ and God Speed.


Please consider selling the cover standalone. I don’t want to spend $10 for a Yen Press issue just to get the new cover.


This makes the book look like a trashy porno.
PLEASE don’t make this the final cover.

Spice&Wolf Fan

I think that the cover for the light novel could have been better, but its not necessarily bad. Holo is shown to be naked quite frequently, it’s not really that misleading. Perhaps the only problem is that her smile is a little creepy looking. Perhaps the best method to promoting this unique and great light novel series to make sure they are not automatically placed with where all the manga are. They should be placed with such titles as Twilight and the like. This is not to say that Spice&Wolf is like Twilight, but rather the demographics could be similar and it would allow the light novel to become popular. Upon publication a notice should be given to book stores to promote these light novels with Twilight and similar stories. These would allow the series to be viewed by a much bigger population than being stocked in the Manga section. I appreciate the slip jacket too, I really don’t understand the problem presented. Having the slip jacket put with the novel somewhere might cause it some damage. The magazine is sealed which would allow the jacket to get to the fans with reassurance that it would not be damaged. Needless to say, I am excited for the publication of this light novel and waiting to pick it up :).


Aren’t your readers going to be disappointed when they don’t find shewolf prn anywhere in the book?

Chibi Kaji

I can understand the need to appeal to a wider audience. But you could definitely do a better job with it. As it stands the cover are you posted looks like it belong to a trashy romance novel and if I didn’t know any better I would assume it was and completely ignore it.


I have to say, while I understand what Yen Press is doing, this particular cover isn’t working for me. For instance, the Haruhi novels had a change in cover. I didn’t really mind those. Granted, I still go the hardcover editions because I like the original artwork, but the cover changes weren’t that big of a deal. I didn’t find those cover changes bad, and if it attracts new readers then that’s fine.
I want more light novels to get translated. I want the light novel audience to expand, giving more of the less popular novels a chance of translation. A chance to shine.
This cover, however, I do not like one bit. As stated many times before, the cover doesn’t fit Spice and Wolf. I don’t know who exactly this cover is aiming for. It looks completely generic. Everyone is doing that “Dark background with pale/light images that stand out mysteriously” since Twilight. Putting some naked chick on the cover won’t help. Hell, I’ll probably just get the December issue of Yen Press and not the novel in hopes of the cover art getting a reprint.
I saw some nice ideas here. Ideas that actually catch the spirit of Spice and Wolf. Silhouette of a horse and carriage, wheat fields, etc. Those are the type of things that more accurately portray Spice and Wolf. Certainly not a naked lady with a creepy grin. There are tons of things you could have done with this cover to make it appeal to a wider audience. This is probably the worst thing you could do with the cover though. I’m not saying you should have some classy cover with some deep meaning behind it, but just something that relates more to the series and isn’t as explicit.
The audience those cover will attract probably won’t keep interest in the novel. They’d be expecting some erotic story with tons of sex scenes, only to be disappointed and put the book down.
As stated before, I can only see the Spice and Wolf fans picking this up. You may get a few curious readers to see what it’s about, but I’d imagine a majority of your sales will STILL be coming from the Spice and Wolf fans. Only, since this cover drove some of them away, the newer readers may just be replacements for the ones you pushed away with this cover. Really, I don’t think the cover change would have caused too much of an uproar if it was just change to a nicer cover. Something that you wouldn’t mind on your shelf, even without the original artwork. It’s funny, because a lot of Haruhi fans I know who got the softcovers only did so because when they read it in public they don’t want it to seem like a little kid’s book. But a lot of Spice and Wolf fans I know are getting the slipcover because they’d rather it not seem like some cheesy sex novel.
I was glad to read that Spice and Wolf was getting translated. I have the original Japanese novels on my bookshelf, but since English is my primary language I enjoy collecting books in both languages. This is a title I won’t be getting as soon as it comes out, in hopes of a cover change.


I’ll add my two cents to this discussion. I only read about the first quarter of the posts so I apologize if this has been said before.
I don’t like the new cover. I don’t care that it’s been changed, I like the idea of marketing the novel towards people other than manga enthusiasts. However, where would I read a book like this one? I couldn’t bring it to class and read it because of the naked woman on the front. I couldn’t bring it and read it on my work break because of the naked woman on the front. You should have gone with a neutral cover. Just show a wheat field or don’t even have a picture. All you’ve done is replace one embarrassing cover for another.
Also, the woman on the front of the book has ugly horse teeth.

Christopher Wood

I’m going to buy this, but not read it in public. I am by no means a prude, but this is the kind of cover art that makes me feel like I’d need to make excuses for reading it. You’re borrowing from an idea that worked for Twilight and its sequels, but I don’t think it’s right for SaW. As a fan of this series, I feel alienated by your choice for this cover.


Same person as before. I’d like to request that even if you don’t like the cover, you try to support it anyway. I do not want the light novels to fail and discontinue. I can’t see how this new cover would generate more sales, which is why I’m kind of upset. I cooled off from my last post, but still feel slightly disappointed.
I want to say that it’s not the fact that there’s a nude woman on the cover that I’m bothered by. Not at all. As someone who’s read the originals, I know very well the type of illustrations in this novel. I know Holo’s playful nature, how flirtatious she can be. But it’s this cover, I don’t know. It’s probably the bad photoshop and angle that makes it seem so much less appealing.
I’m pretty sure people would be bothered even if she was photoshopped clothes on. What makes it look bad isn’t so much the nudity, it’s how poorly edited it is. I’m sorry if I offend whoever edited the image, but really, it doesn’t look well. That “sloppy” look makes the whole image look sloppy, trashy. If the cover of the book looks like it hardly took any time to create, what does that say of the content in the book?
As I said before, I’m getting the December issue just in case. But I won’t be buying the novel for a while, in hopes of something turning up. I’ve already read and own the original, so maybe this is just me.
I really don’t want the light novels to fail. I agree 100% with your idea to market to a new audience. I just don’t think this particular cover does the job well.
I’ll finish this up by seconding the idea of making a limited edition version as online sales only. I’m sure you could easily work this out with online distributors such as Amazon.com.
Or, if you can’t do that, then simply have bundled packages being sold on Amazon. I’m sure that’s even easier to work out. A bundled package of the novel+slipon cover for an additional cost. Seems pretty fair to me. especially since, with a cover like this, people will probably be buying this online instead due to the embarrassment they’ll face.


While I hate to reiterate what everyone else is saying, I have to say that this cover disgusts me. I get the idea of changing the cover. I can see where this would, unfortunately, be necessary. But seriously? A naked woman? People who don’t know what the story is about and don’t like carrying around books with a naked woman on the cover are going to be repulsed and not buy it. People who don’t know what the story but kind of like the idea of there being a naked woman on the cover are going to be sorely disappointed by the actual storyline. And as for the people who know the story, I think you see their reaction.
I think it’s shameful that you feel you have to resort to a cheap tactic like nudity to sell this book. Honestly, I would have snatched this book up the moment I saw it if not for that cover. But I have no interest in buying, carrying around, and trying to explain to my friends why I’m reading a book with a naked woman on the cover.


I posted this over at the AoD forums, it’s a mock up of an alternate cover which came to my mind when I was thinking of something that would have been more appealing for a mainstream cover. I whipped it up in about half an hour so it’s pretty basic and not perfect, but it’s just to get the idea across. In my mind I saw a red faux leather cover with gold embossing:
Not sure anyone is even still reading this thread though…


I can only imagine the comments that were removed because of profanity, and general ill will towards yenpress. I also must add that the cover is horrible. I am glad that an American artist was payed to do concept drawings, and a few guys looked at them and chose one. But, all of those people should get a pay cut. You have either done yourself a horrible dis-service, or you are trolling on an exceedingly high level. I think I still remember how to use a paper grocery bag to cover a book from back in high school. That skill may come in handy again soon. In short, it was a bad decision, and whoever made it should feel bad.


Terrible, terrible cover. I’m not sure if I’ll be buying the novel or the manga anymore. I really want to support Yen Press but this is going too far.
Make a hardcover edition or something like with Haruhi instead of making fans spend $20 to get a book with the correct cover. Or have a reversible slipcover on the novel.
also horo > holo


I hate the new cover so much that i have half a mine to not buy it but I like Spice and Wolf too much to pass this.
If yen press keeps on doing this then I don’t think its going to sell that well


>As a fan of this series, I feel alienated by your choice for >this cover.
>I think it’s shameful that you feel you have to resort to a >cheap tactic like nudity to sell this book.
Of course, since in the Japanese version there is nooo nudity at all? Who are you kidding ><


I have to say that I have been looking forward to this light novel since the moment I first watched spice and wolf. However the changes they have made are just …. bad… I can stand the cover to a point the smile would have been better if there was no teeth showing and the hair was the right color I think then it would have been agreeable or at least have some clothes on and try to imitate the original. Second I don’t even think I can read it now. Changing the characters name? How can you do that? yes its only a R to and L but still thats just wrong I can’t look at that name and even like it. They are destroying the story by just doing that. Holo … it just doesn’t even come out right. When you change a work of art 9 times out of ten you ruin it. I am considering learning to read in japanese and buy from them. I would rather do that then have a broken and mangled piece of work. How could the author agree to change the name. I could have dealt with the cover…. I could have dealt with buying the magazine… But I CAN NOT deal with a name change.


I would also like to add that ****in people who buy Twilight are buying this which is a sign of disrespect to the LN to me


Why do people think setting up a blog makes their opinions mean jack over anyone elses?
The guy obviously cherry picked a few arguments that he could use as strawmen and ignored the main issue.


Hakkai687: If you really want to scold someone, you should be talking to the fansubber who botched her name in season one. In the second season of the anime, there’s a scene where Holo ends up signing a contract with someone. If you look at her signature, you can tell that it’s clearly spelled “Holo”. It has always been the author’s intentin for her name to be spelled and pronounced as Holo, and the only reason it wasn’t spelled this way in the orignal light novel was because “lo” doesn’t exist in the Japanese syllabary. Just as Lawrence’s name is spelled and pronounced “Roransu” in the anime and light novel, “Horo” is just a romanized form of the Japanese spelling of her name. The guy who subbed the first season just had enough sense to use the English form of Craft’s name.
Regarding the new cover, while I’m totally in support for mainsteaming light novels and such, I’m still tying to figure out how I’m going to explain to my friends why I’m carrying around a book with a naked chick with a tail and black smudges for nipples on the cover.


>Changing the characters name? How can you do that?
are you kidding? Do you still not understand that the Japanese decided her name?
Please tell it to the fansubbers, because it’s them who changed the spelling. Her name has always been Holo, this spelling has been used in Japan even before the anime started airing.
And HOLO WRITES HER NAME in the second season … so you won’t be able to watch that one I guess x_x


@ Hakkai687
Just to reiterate something that has been mentioned before, we haven’t changed any names. Per the original publisher and author, the correct spelling/pronunciation of the character’s name is Holo. I believe you’ll also see that reflected in the anime.


Cancelled my pre-order. Maybe I’ll just pick up the manga. I’m a bit of a weeaboo so it’s not like this marketing effort was made with people like myself in mind. If this is the kind of modification necessary for LNs to sell stateside, maybe it is a medium better left in Japan. I’ve already read the novel, purchasing would be purely for collection purposes and support – just like I did with the Haruhi novels (both versions). Neither the original cover nor Yen Press’s version do the story justice, but at least the original was done “professionally.” I’m not content with a slip cover I’d have to pay extra for, let alone wondering how future volumes would be handled; assuming the sales would even warrant its continuation. I love most of Yen Press’s manga releases, and their Haruhi novel, which leaves me wondering why the apple fell so far from the tree with this cover.


@ Hakkai687
Okay first of all, “Holo” is the correct spelling of her name. In the Japanese language system, the “lo” does not exist in their syllabary, that’s why it has been romanized to “Horo” for the Japanese audience. And another thing, the author, of the series, and original publisher confirmed that her name is spelled Holo. And if you want more proof, then watch the second season of the series, where she actually spells her name Holo in an episode, and no, to many misunderstood fans, she did not spell her name incorrectly. Seriously if people make it such a big deal, then go make a complaint to the fansubber who mispelled her name in season one, or I guess the author for having her name spelled out as Holo.


>If this is the kind of modification necessary for LNs to >sell stateside, maybe it is a medium better left in Japan.
Yea, keep all those awesome stories in Japan just because of anime style covers x_x A change of the cover is such an incredibly big modification, impossible to bear with it in order to make more people read a great story. Since the cover is so much more important than the content …


I am now so disappointed and sadden.
Disappointed that yen press had to do something like this to try to get more buyers.
Sadden because fans are no longer supporting spice and wolf which is an excellent LN.
I hope this does not continue.
Spice and Wolf deserves better.
First the cover gets change in to something horrible and now fans are not supporting it.


I agree, I still support S&W despite the cover change. I don’t like the cover change, but still have plans on buying it. I won’t be buying it when it first comes out, but if there really is no hope of getting one with the original cover, then I’ll settle for buying it. As I’ve said before, I’ve read the originals and have them on my shelves. But since Japanese isn’t my native language, I find it’ll be much more enjoyable reading it in English.
I want S&W to live, I want the project to continue on to the very end. I don’t want to see the novel translations canceled. With these reactions, I can only imagine how you guys at Yen Press are taking this.


“I posted this over at the AoD forums, it’s a mock up of an alternate cover which came to my mind when I was thinking of something that would have been more appealing for a mainstream cover. I whipped it up in about half an hour so it’s pretty basic and not perfect, but it’s just to get the idea across. In my mind I saw a red faux leather cover with gold embossing:
Not sure anyone is even still reading this thread though…

That’s pretty good, definately like the boarder. would prefer a less garish background colour but it’s very nice and certainly much better then the current one, maybe you should try emailing it to yenpress as well as posting it here.
Hell it could save them some money if the “artist” (I used this word VERY loosely here) who did their idea of a cover is being payed on a percentage of sales of the book using it.


@hassler I’m sure you could try to see if you could get berserk (DH) fans interested in this title since they are already reading a medieval fantasy manga, I couldn’t see why you couldn’t have done for s&w like dark horse did with berserk covers have it look faux leather bound book with synopsis on the back and use original cover that way since you have to admit berserk sells extremely well for a seinen title in america.


I was going to buy this, but that cover is just horrid. I’ll just buy the DVDs when Funimation releases them and pass on the light novel. I don’t have a problem with changing the cover art to appeal to a larger audience, but you guys gotta come up with a better cover than this.


Hi, I’m a bookseller, and I just want to say I love what you guys are trying to do. People buy way, WAY more YA/romance novels/Twilight than manga, and the cover hits the marketing target.
Plus, most of those saying they won’t buy the book because of the new cover a) will buy it once they calm down or b) would have never bought it anyway.
The only thing–can you get stores to shelve this in their YA fiction sections? Because the manga aisle is where light novels go to die.


there’s one problem with putting the cover in the magazine (which i’m sure’s been said loads) and that is ONLY AMERICANS CAN GET IT 🙁 i’ve tried to find a way to import it to the UK for years but it’s impossible. and i actually really don’t like the cover available everywhere, it kinda misleads people as to what kind of book it is >.< am sad…


To people disappointed at us fans not buying it and supporting it: I am not buying this because I will not support borderline false advertising and neither will I support such a practice to continue in this market. This is a disgrace to Spice & Wolf, an excellent story that deserves far more than trash printed on its cover.
If you want to support it, then by all means you have the right, but you buy the original Japanese light novels to actually support Spice & Wolf first and THEN complain towards us fans who refuse to buy this.
After calming down, I am still extremely disappointed at Yen Press for doing this as I was looking forward to buying it and reading it. But I can’t support such a practice and the whole “we’re putting the good cover in our December issue” is just shameless. If there’s a cover change though, I’ll reconsider.


I don’t really mind the cover, although I prefer the original; however I have a subscription to the magazine already, so getting the original won’t be a problem anyway.
I like the idea of changing the cover to get a braoder audience – Spice & Wolf deserves it – but I think this cover goes a bit far, for people new to the series or the art form in general.
I also really like the idea of making the original cover available as well – my only concern is whether or not the covers will be available for ALL of the novels?


I don’t like the regular cover (I liked the standard Haruhi novel cover better), but then again, I’s a self-proclaimed “otaku”. Good thing you’re very lucky enough that I plan on subscribing to Yen+ for a few decades.
I have to agree with any above comments that the cover looks “generic”, but that means its style looks pretty much exactly like all those “regular” novels that seem to be doing so well. If only you can convince B&N to display it on a table near the young adult section, Orz.
Also, will there a special edition hardcover with the Japanese cover? If not, could you have another print run with the Japanese cover, even if you could only supply them through online retailers? (RightStuf is good, nearly all your stuff I gets from them, anyway).


P.S.- Srsly, “Holo”, Hassler-dono? I thought you understood Haruhi enough (through a comment from Japanator) and by association, otakuism, that you’d know the fan-preferred romaji was “Horo”.
But then, you’re technically correct, since the AUTHOR HERSELF said so (if only the DS game made an effort not to pronounce it “Horo”, d-oh!). I guess I’ll just have to try to try to change my speech habits (like when I pronounced Sakura “SAH-KUR-RAH” in the 90’s and had to make an effort to learn to say “saku-RA” by 2006).
(I still have trouble with “Churuya”).


Whoops, sorry, author’s a guy. The internet’s got me all in confusion.
(I wonder if this explains the popularity of futa and genderbending in Japan?)


Been following this thread on a daily basis ever since it started through RSS feeds and I have to say I’m a little disappointed that Yen Press isn’t really budging on this issue in spite of numerous fans imploring that they change their minds or offer some kind of alternative.
Before I begin something of a tirade, first I want to dispel the criticism that “people who are complaining about this wouldn’t have bought it anyway” or conversely, that “they are going to buy it regardless of what the cover looks like.” I spend a lot of money on books. To give you an estimate of how much, I’d say at least $600.00 to $700.00 a year on books on average, which is a lot for a college student who only works part-time. About a quarter of this is spent on manga alone.
When I pay for books, I don’t spring $20+ for the story. While it’s a given I would not pay for a book I don’t like, it does not follow that I would pay that much solely for a book’s content. If I wanted to know the story of something, I could easily just go to a library (which I often do) or read it online. When you buy a book, you buy it because you want it as a tangible object in your possession. You pay for its form, not its content.
I think this cuts to the heart of the debate. There are those who would argue that the content of the book is what matters, not the cover. I, however, would argue the exact opposite; I’m not paying $30 for a story I already know, especially a TRANSLATION of said story.
Yen Press needs to think long and hard about how they want to treat the existing fans of this series. If their gambit succeeds and they manage to snag a good portion of the romance-novel audience, then all is well and everything went according to plan. If it fails, however, then Yen Press will have virtually no sales since they will have alienated both their intended audience and the dedicated fanbase with this cover. The only saving grace in the case of a failed US release would be to cater to the existing fans of the series, since the sales garnered from that would at the very least be enough to cover the overhead.
Hopefully Yen Press seriously reconsiders this issue. I’m keeping track of this thread until the release date.


Also to all the people talking about it being like Twilight, I have never seen nudity on the cover of one of those books, unless the covers were changed for England in what way is an offensive cover featuring nudity similar to an object on a black background?


I understand what YP is trying to do with the cover (and it’s great), but I shouldn’t have to buy the magazine just to get the original cover. And like someone mentioned above, will this happen for all the volumes?
I like what Little Brown books is doing with the Haruhi novels, that is printing their own cover for the paperback and the original cover for the hardback. I would certainly pay the extra $5 for a hardback of Spice and Wolf with the original cover. The current ‘generic’ cover makes me hesitant to buy it.


After the first handfull of comments, it was all just a blur…I wonder if I’ll be hazed if I said I don’t care what the cover is, as long as it’s here… XD
Judge not a book by its cover.


@MichaelJ i don’t think you get it
most of the people in here already know that it has a great story but the cover is just really bad
YP could have just did the same thing that they did with the haruhi LN
those are selling ever well


Ugh, I WILL NOT buy this book with that cover. I do not favor censorship in anyway… even if it is to try and gain an audience. Even worse is to make people that want the original cover spend about $10 MORE to get it. It makes me sick.
have you taken out the insert artwork too?
This is just what Square Enix did to Dissidia. Hack it to pieces to pander to a “Western” audience.
After hearing about how you don’t finish stores in Yen Plus and now seeing that abomination… I’m this close to just NOT buying another Yen Press ANYTHING. I’ve already done it with ViZ and TokyoPop.
The Vampire Hunter D novels seem to be doing well with the Amano artwork on the outside.

A conserned fan

While I can certainly agree with yen presses idea to try to market to a wider audience, I think you need to keep in mind that the original material is written for otakus and similar people, so if your marketing strategy alienates the audience the material is written for you are doing it wrong. I think the proposed cover (http://s61.photobucket.com/albums/h42/jlherron/?action=view&current=spicewolfmock-1.gif) is much more tasteful than the one presently in use. I hope something is done about the cover before it’s too late. Also while I realize non US buyers are of no concern to you it is quite a shame that it will be almost impossible for them to get a hold of the proper cover and again I do hope another method of distribution is considered, possible the hard backs with the proper covers(which from what iv seen with haruhi sell much more than the paper backs, that should indicate something there) or at least a way to order the book with the slip cover. I personally will not be buying it unless I can order it with the proper cover.
I want to say I wish yen press luck with their marketing strategy but honestly I hope it fails, it would be a shame to see it happen to spice and wolf, but a sacrifice to teach you not to mess with covers might be what this turns into.


Had intended to import this through Amazon but with the cover change, my purchase plans are now on hold until one with the original cover gets printed (if that ever happens). If it still doesn’t materializes, there’s always a website that has already translated some of the Spice and Wolf volumes for me to turn to (an irony since I read some of the Spice and Wolf’s translated volumes there and liked it so much that I had intended to purchase it upon hearing the YP is releasing an English version of the LN).
Plus, I’m not going to spend extra money just to buy an additional magazine which I don’t need. It’s bad enough having to deal with currency exchange and shipping costs.


When Tokyopop released the Scrapped Princess novels, they essentially did the same thing. They put a generic crown on the covers of all three.
They made it to volume three of thirteen before they stopped releasing them.
The Kino no Tabi novels they released were a bit better, as they integrated some of the original interior artwork in the cover. However it was highly stylized, and without the distinct feature of anime-style artwork. It could “pass” as a “regular” novel.
And they were only able to release the first volume of eight.
However, the Twelve Kingdoms novels have some decidedly anime looking characters on the cover, and they’ve made it to volume three, the most recent being printed in March 2009, with word that Tokyopop is still dedicated to publishing them.
So in conclusion, by removing the original distinctive covers and putting an anonymous naked wolf girl on the cover:
A) Already has a history of fail (see above)
B) Is not gonna get me, a straight female, interested in buying. In fact, I’m gonna speak for all straight women and gay men and say that it’s going to turn us away. The original cover was cute, and would probably warrant a leaf through from even fantasy fans SINCE I’M PRETTY SURE THE ANIME AND FANTASY COMMUNITY OVERLAP SOME WHAT. (Yeah, some regular nerds hate otaku, but they’re not gonna pick up anything by an author with a Japanese name anyway.)
C) Makes this look like some furry manual. Anime animal ears are expected, but nobody likes IRL furries.
Also: start putting Yen+ in Canadian retailers again. The latest one I’ve got is the one with the Soul Eater Poster.


What is that silly cover? I cannot believe that ‘the book cover’ is actually not with the book!!!
I understand your thinking to get a broader audience, but the art style is really too much, and you can’t expect the fans to buy a ‘Spice and Wolf’ that doesn’t seem like one…
Please, change it……………….


So, you are telling me that I have to buy a magazine I have no interest in, to get what I should be getting in the first place. Thanks. I’m so glad that you have decided that this cover is in my best interests, and it is what I really want.


I hate to say this but I will no longer be supporting the American version of this release (already have the JP versions but EN is my native language, I speak both.) This once again just goes to show that YenPress is another company that does not seem to understand the reason why works should NEVER, EVER, and I mean EVER be changed at all. You localize and translate the written context and that IS IT!
You do not remove illustrations, you do not censor anything, you do NOT CHANGE ANYTHING besides the text. This new cover disgusts me and I for one am appaled that you would MAKE us pay more just to get the ORIGINAL artwork for a book.
You have just lost yourself a reader and a consumer. I understand what you are trying to do based on a marketing standpoint but your consumers come first, not your stockholders wallets.
Terrible move YenPress, I am very very very very disappointed in you.


Not to be mean, but the cover really does look some kind of erotic-novel. I’m not against Americanizing covers but something more tasteful or generic might have not caused as much as an uproar about this.


Thanks Yen Press. Thanks for RUINING what I and many other readers have been looking forward to for years on end. I’m sorry, but if this is how things are going to be, you won’t be getting my money any more from this point forward. It’s bad enough that fans in outside of the Far East have to shove out an inflated amount of cash in order to enjoy the same content, but to give us the old bait and switch? This is an INSULT to both us as customers and to the original creators of the series and I hope to find that you have the license taken away from you.


In my opinion this is a bad decision. The new cover looks “cheap”; sexing it up is already wrong. This kind of cover will just put off many people who originally want to buy the light novel and the new cover won’t attract new potential readers. I think the art of the cover should be in a more “Old English” style, perhaps a “Middle-ages” style is also suitable, which is more classy than the current new cover.

Number FortyEight

This is going to fail for two reasons:
1. No one who doesn’t already know about S&W is going to buy a novel with that -THING- on the cover. Even fantasy nerds won’t touch it because that monster will haunt their nightmares.
2. By replacing the original cover with something that hideous, you’ve managed to piss off around half of the otaku community. You know, otakus? As in, the people who were going to buy this book before you royally screwed up the cover?
I’m going to guess that within three months of the release, Yen Press will come out with a “special edition” with the actual cover once this horror drives everyone away. This will be a desperate attempt to regain the support of the otaku community. And we may consider it, provided you never do something this stupid again.


I’m a huge Horo fan and I’d love to read the light novels, but there is no way in hell I’m going to put this book with this cover up on the counter at my local book store. It’s such a shallow, trashy cover that I’d be too embarrassed to buy it, wondering what trash the cashier must think I read. I know that may sound a bit prudish, but it’s not really the half naked model, it’s the entire amateurish and trashy look of the cover. It just screams “shitty romance novel/erotica”
Really guys, this is terrible. The original cover has such a cute picture of Horo, I can’t imagine what ignoramus thinks that this cover will sell better.
I can’t even order it from Amazon because I don’t want to have to explain to my significant other just what I’m reading.
Not cool. You’ve alienated a customer.
No thanks.


this is a horrible cover for this wonderful series. I work in a bookstore and we put the light novels with the manga this will be horribly out of place there. The fact that you are also trying to milk the hardcore fans by making them buy the magazine to get the original cover makes me lose almost all faith i had in yp. I will not buy this unless there is a option to get it with the original cover. Whats next removing the illustrations in the actual novel itself? This would make more sense if there was the option of getting either cover even if it is with online orders.


I’d like to add that the book, regardless of what cover you decide to photoshop and how “proud” of it you are, will be in the Manga/Graphic Novel section of any book store that it’s shipped to. WHICH PRETTY MUCH MAKES THE CHANGE COMPLETELY USELESS SINCE YOU’RE ALIENATING YOUR CORE CUSTOMERS AND NOT GETTING ANY NEW READERS TO BEGIN WITH.


I think you could of found a better way to do this, rather then put the silhouette of a naked women on the cover then poorly photo shop it.
You said you want to appear to “Non-Manga readers”
Light Novels are stored on shelves, are you hoping that the naked women will attract a non-manga reader that is walking by the section?


I don’t hate the new cover, and its a good idea to try and open up the novel to main stream audiences, but don’t forget the rest of us. You ought to try and release both covers, one for true fans one for mainstream audiences. That would be the easiest path and secure the most revenue.

c'mon son!

this is truly horrible and distasteful. who the fudge would want to buy a copy looking like that? and -1 for the cheap shot of offering the “limited edition” in the december issue of yen press. it shouldve come with the bastardized light novel that someone thought to ruined it with that sleazy art to cover up the distasteful art cover.


This sorry excuse for a cover sickens me and to make matters worse I can’t obtain the “original” cover because I don’t bloody live in the U.S. Spare a thought for your international readers would you or are we such an insignificant sum in your profit equation?


KEK, special cover in ¥+ December? Man, the mail people are going to destroy this cover…. They always fold my magazines, DX
And I have to admit, I don’t especially care for that cover.. Shoulda done a paperback and a original hardcover style.


I’m very confused as to why the cover was changed to that kind of cover from the content of the book. That kind of cover art goes with plain ol’ trashy love stories and the like of which I think the intersection with the current and would-be fanbase of Spice and Wolf narrows down to somewhere in the low double-digits. Spice and Wolf is a medieval-times story about economics with romance elements present, but larger than that it deals with a specific relationship more than it does romance initially. If nothing else go for the medieval-loving crowd and use something like the proposed cover: http://i61.photobucket.com/albums/h42/jlherron/spicewolfmock-1.gif instead. I wouldn’t have minded if the cover had been changed to something simultaneously more tasteful and simply better. I don’t mean to bash on the artist, but it is just a horrible piece of… goodness I don’t want to go any further because it’ll make me dwell on it more.
The problem with this marketing strategy is that it’s the same kind of strategy that was used during Pickett’s Charge in the American Civil War. First you had the advantage of a good title coming to these shores with an established (if not huge fanbase). Then you had the advantage of having much prior knowledge in the marketplace with having the history of light novel sales at your fingertips and a good bit of experience yourselves as I’m led to believe. Then you marshaled your force by announcing the date and charged whole hog right into the wrong place thinking that earlier announcements had softened up the fanbase to accept anything as long as they got their book.
As I stated before the people who will be interested in Spice and Wolf’s story and the people who be interested in books with *that* kind of cover are not all that great in number. Spice and Wolf is a unique series that deserves more careful planning than throwing out a cover style that is popular this side of the ocean- which, I might say, is what I believe this fails at rather than being a marketing ploy or a gambit despite what they say; this is just poor planning. You need to look at who you know you will sell it to and then look to those that you think you can sell it to then compromise between the two. This will not sell well with the trashy romance enthusiasts or whoever else this kind of cover panders to. It’s like what happened with the North America cover of the video game Ico ramped up to 11 by making it not even geared towards the main audience and then ramped up to indescribably large numbers by making it geared towards the COMPLETELY WRONG audience. The analogy between Spice and Wolf and Ico can be looked at closer in that both are set in previously explored world-ideas, however they take a completely different route each (Spice and Wolf does economics and growth of relationships rather than swords and sorcery while Ico goes for adventure, problem solving, and drawing on our humanity rather than… well, swords and sorcery) and as such need to be presented differently from their semi-contemporaries.
I would think it pretty obvious by now that this kind of action is going to do more harm than good and not only is something wonderful going to suffer for it, but so will the fans and others who would have picked it up if only it had a more tasteful cover. One more point I think I should make is that there is tasteful nudity, there is distasteful nudity, and then there is this- a horrible chimera of the two, possibly worse than the latter. I whole-heartedly suggest that you throw out this particular new cover idea and perhaps direct the artist to a company that specializes in trashy romance novels while trying to find someone better at representing the story visually. Black Mage Shooter had a good idea as well as the cover suggested by Herron- here are both once again:
Please, listen to the fans on this one. I couldn’t ever bring myself to buy a book with that cover or anything like it and there are obviously lots of people who feel the same.


Sorry for the hackneyed essay and lack of proofreading on it, but if your comments are full of hackneyed phrases and the news is only a few weeks old, then clearly there are a lot of people who feel strongly about it which, as salesmen, you should take into consideration with full sobriety.


I think the cover is hideous and should not be published. I feel betrayed that Yen Press would even consider replacing the original cover! Yen Press; do not publish this excellent book with this disgrace of a cover! You licensed a Japanese book, it is not your own work, publish it as close to the original as possible! You are alienating the very people you want to sell this book to.

Laughncat 1

I’m sorry, but that cover is HIDEOUS. I showed it to my wife (we’ve both been looking forward to this series for Christmas) and she was horrified (and she’s not a hardcore otaku by any means). Actually, her original comment was” Oh my god, look at those teeth.” And once she pointed it out, I must say that the cover does makes it look like Horo has more in common with your average river beaver then a wolf. The worst part about all this is that you expect buyers who want the original cover art to shell out even more money to buy your magazine. Just because I want to have some nice cover artwork with the book doesn’t mean I should have to buy a copy of your magazine as well. This is a rather shallow attempt at increasing sales that mostly just serves to make your customers angry.


I’m rather late getting in here to make my comments, but it certainly never hurts to speak your mind.
I’m one of the many who agree that changing the cover may be necessary for the success of the series, but I’m troubled with the state of the current art. The cover is fine in my opinion, but it is in need of cleaning. I really want to know that this isn’t the absolute final version that will be going to print. Others have already mentioned the areas that need attention, but to add my voice to it, the biggest issues are: her hair, her tail, and her teeth (she’s a wolf, not a horse).
If these issues are taken care of, I’d have no issue with the cover, though I’ll still likely get the slip cover. If this is the final cover art (please say that it isn’t) I’ll likely have to glue the slip cover over it.


Rather than changing covers, have you tried any other methods of spreading the news of how interesting S&W’s story might be?
“Word of mouth” can be a very powerful tool in garnering interest. Even the best advertising cannot counter the power of an individual recommending a book to his/her friends. Use Facebook or Twitter if you need to. Use your connections to spread the interest. Harness the power of those who loved Spice and Wolf.
I bought the Haruhi hardcover, lent it to my friends and also described the story to a few others and it has translated into actual purchases by them. Who says a light novel will not sell just because it has a manga-style art.
The new cover turns off a lot of S&W fans. I personally do not enjoy having to explain each time someone comes in and notice the book with such unsightly cover lying on my desk or my shelf. Those who did buy might be reading it quietly in their rooms and not show it to the outside world out of sheer embarassment (save for those lucky enough to buy the replacement cover). Whatever sales potential S&W fans can pull in is totally lost. A negative word put forth through the grapevine can do more damage than a cover on a shelf. By now, many in the anime/manga/light novel community would have caught wind of such disastrous change this well-loved title through the many anime blogs out in the internet.


this is getting quite ridiculous.
“When you buy a book, you buy it because you want it as a tangible object in your possession. You pay for its form, not its content.”
This is just awesome. Your point is: you don’t pay for the content, because you steal it on the internet?
are you kidding? Of course one does pay for the content. Usually you don’t get the story, i.e. the content, for free. Unless you read it on the internet where somebody uploaded it illegally, you have to pay for it (even when borrowing it in a library, at least the library has paid for it and often you pay as well, even if only a little).
and again:
“I think you need to keep in mind that the original material is written for otakus and similar people, so if your marketing strategy alienates the audience the material is written for you are doing it wrong.”
What are you talking about?
The JAPANESE DVDs have almost the same cover: A NAKED HOLO. Apart from the fact that she is anime-styled, she is just as naked or even more. Not to mention, the novel also has naked Holo inside anyway.
“but honestly I hope it fails, it would be a shame to see it happen to spice and wolf, but a sacrifice to teach you not to mess with covers might be what this turns into.”
more like a sacrifice to teach you not to publish any more light novels at all, which is of course what we all want … because the cover is oh so important x_x


Still gonna support the series and pre-ordered the book from Amazon. However, from a customer’s perspective, I wouldn’t be caught dead carrying this book to the front desk. I support the idea of marketing LNs to gain a bigger audience, but this cover is so misleading it makes me wonder if I’m buying erotica for teens.


The new cover is really awful. I admit that I am bothered by the mere fact that you are messing with the original cover, but even setting that aside, the new cover just looks bad. The smile, the tail, and the pouch are poorly done, and as others have already pointed out, sitting there reading a book with a naked girl on the cover is pretty embarrassing in most situations. You can try to make excuses and call people prudes all you want, but the fact is, plenty of people will be judgmental about you sitting there with a book like that.
Instead of making us buy your magazine to get a decent cover (it’s really quite ballsy to expect the people you have alienated with your choice of cover to go and give you even more money to correct the error), why not print the book with the original cover, and put your new cover as a slipcover over that? That way you get your “mass market appeal”, and we can simply discard the slipcover. It would also allow the bookstores to merchandise the book both ways. They could put it with fantasy novels as is, and also remove the slipcovers to stock it with other light novels near the manga.
I understand that you want to market to a wider audience. But if this is how you’re going to go about it, then you have lost my business. I think your core audience deserves a little better than this.


I understand the desire to bring these works to a wider audience, but… you seem to have gone from one niche to another. I have many friends outside of fandom who I would eagerly recommend Spice and Wolf to – the original cover would certainly have raised some eyebrows but this one is just embarrassing and juvenile. (for the record, my issue is not with the /concept/ of nudity on the cover, but the appallingly bad quality and cheap tone of such in this instance)
It makes the book look like the worst kind of trashy fantasy novel – off-putting to both those who know of the original work and those who don’t. I fail to see what “new market” you are going to capture with this, other than possibly one which will immediately discard it when they discover that most of the heated action is economic in nature.
If you feel that the original cover art is unsuitable then by all means substitute something more somber (although I would add a vote for providing the original cover in a more accessible form to fans than as a cheap way to promote your magazine – putting the new cover on a slipcover seems an obvious and sensible choice) if you feel that is what the market wants… but don’t try and misrepresent the book as something it isn’t, using a frankly amateurish piece of art that will drive away more customers than it attracts.

Mr. Half-Rice

the cover REALLY IS AWFUL. plus how the heck are people supposed to enjoy a fantasy book, which most avid readers carry with them anywhere, with a naked female up front for all to see? I imagine people would even be embarrassed to browse that on the shelves. How many GOOD fantasy books are there with naked women up front? scantily clad maybe but not stark naked with beaver teeth! Hello! we as fans understand you want to get the product out to a wider audience and appreciate the effort of bringing it to the english ‘reading’ world but as you say presentation is alot and with that UGLY thing, you just contradicted yourselves.
EPIC fail to whoever approved that thing…


I’m an Italian fan of S&W, and I was really excited when Yen Press announced an edition of this novel, in a language I can understand… I was looking forward to buy it for Christmas, but now I’m seriously reconsidering the purchase… I can understand your reasons, but there’s no way I could accept that hideous cover. Not because it’s completely different from the original (I was indeed expecting the original cover, I was almost taking it for granted, but that’s the lesser problem), but because it’s simply disgusting. It’s so flat and empty that seems like a joke. You should have done two different editions: one for fans (with the original cover and larger printing), and one for general audience (with the other cover and minor printing). I’m really frustrated and disappointed about this… I’m so sorry, but you’ve lost a customer for this series.


That cover is just awful. I understand your wanting to appeal to a wider audience with a different cover, but really, that’s an eyesore. It looks like the cover to one of those romance novels they sell in grocery store lines.


mini does, leave him or her alone, lol.
What a stupid thing to say. If a girl read that kind of book with that cover on a public transport it would be totally normal but if a guy instead, everyone would label him: PERVERT!
AND just for you I went and sorted the stuff on amazon.co.jp so you can see the covers for the novels yourself: http://www.amazon.co.jp/gp/search/ref=sr_nr_n_1?rh=i%3Astripbooks%2Cn%3A%21465610%2Ck%3A%E7%8B%BC%E3%81%A8%E9%A6%99%E8%BE%9B%E6%96%99%2Cn%3A466284&bbn=465610&keywords=%E7%8B%BC%E3%81%A8%E9%A6%99%E8%BE%9B%E6%96%99&ie=UTF8&qid=1255640139&rnid=465610
Now you tell this perverted me, where do you see a nakid lady?
Oh and tell me this too: Why should I read this(the american cover) at home in a corner so my parents don’t get the idea that their son is reading pr0n.
Can you see what we are saying here or is it still; “omg it’s just a cover.” If it was just a cover then the Yen press wouldn’t have a need to change it, and/or we wouldn’t have a need to scream about it.


Very disappointing.
When The Melancholy of Suzumiya Haruhi was released, I thought having two editions (one with a “mainstream” cover, and one with the original) released was a very clever move. I’m at a loss as to why it’s not being repeated with the release of Spice and Wolf.
Making efforts to ensure that this release is given adequate shelf space and presentation is a respectable goal, but the replacement artwork seems likely to be completely counter-productive. Just about any of the ideas put forth in these comments seem like they would have been significantly more palatable to both manga fans AND “novel readers”. I’m a big novel reader myself, and I can tell you with all honesty that the cover you’ve shown here would NOT make me want to pick up the book for a closer examination.
So, as a novel reader, I think you should have gone a different route if you wanted to make the cover more marketable. If I were nothing more than your average novel reader, I wouldn’t give it a second look. But then of course, I wouldn’t be here posting in this article if I were just a novel reader. The decision of whether or not I’m going to buy this is actually made much more difficult BECAUSE I’m also an avid fan of anime and manga. A concept that many consumers love to stand by is the idea of “voting with your dollars”. On the one hand, I very much enjoy the Spice and Wolf series, and want to see it (and the light novel market in general) succeed. But on the other, I don’t want to feel like I’m tacitly supporting the decision to replace what I personally feel was a lovely cover with a terrible one. I don’t like the idea that the things I enjoy have to be “disguised” as something else.
In the end, I think I’ll probably still buy the final product, out of love for the series, but I won’t be recommending it to friends like I normally would, and I most certainly won’t be reading it at work (the cover is horrible, and while I will usually happily respond to queries about what I’m reading at my desk, I have no intention of letting my co-workers see me reading something with ‘that’ on the front).
The only other thing I’d like to mention (I know I’ve gone on long enough already) is that there’s an important point to be made about the habits of the two demographics being discussed in the rationale for this decision (novel readers and manga fans). Manga fans are generally willing to shell out extra money for a bonus, and prolific novel readers tend to LOVE paperbacks. I can tell you from personal experience that I’ve purchased many books that I wouldn’t have otherwise considered, solely because they were in paperback, and I didn’t have to shell out for the hardcover.
If Spice and Wolf went the TMoHS route and released an original hardcover and a “mainstream” paperback, I would buy the hardcover, no questions asked.


so i saw someone mention this but why not have 2 versions, one with the crappy new art and one with the original art? is anyone else releasing this in english with the original art? im not a hardcore fan of manga in general, but i do feel somewhat betrayed by this action, yes i get what they are trying to do but, chewing out the original art and spitting it back as a slip cover feels like quite a slap in the face, why not have the original art and put the slip cover on that.
i wont be buying this mockery and will more then likely switch to another publishing house for my manga. quite a shame but this just feels to disrespectful for my liking.


>You don’t take a Spice and Wolf DVD and read it on the train.
But you buy it in a store and maybe put it on your shelf at home. But that’s not the problem anyway. People were complaining how the cover doesn’t fit the series. But it does. You see naked Holo everywhere, in the book, on the dvd cover and not to mention, in the anime itself.
You don’t read every single book you have on the train either, do you? Plus, with a manga style cover you get just as many weird looks, maybe even more (if you are a male adult). If this is really the only problem, you can just put a slip cover on it. Also, even if you read on the train not everybody can see the book cover (depends how you hold the book ;P ) or even pays attention to you. Do you really care so much about what other people think? Then just read it at home, where’s the problem x_x You usually finish one light novel volume quite fast.
“plus how the heck are people supposed to enjoy a fantasy book, which most avid readers carry with them anywhere, with a naked female up front for all to see?”
most avid readers will finish the book in a few hours and then probably stop carrying it around. I suppose they will survive even if during those few hours they absolutely have to read it outside all while caring so much about what other people are thinking.


Well, you’ve certainly sold a copy of Yen Plus magazine, because that cover is absolutely hideous. I mean, seriously: what were you people aiming for? Trashy romance novel? Porno?
There’s a difference between localizing material for Western audiences and simply pandering to the lowest common denominator. If you think an anime girl with wolf ears will drive away U.S. readers, then play up the intellectual angle. God knows how many copies Dan Brown sells that way, even if the research behind them is sketchy at best.
I’ll be buying this because I’m interested in the story, but I’ll have you know I have absolutely no respect for your choice of cover. (For what it’s worth, by the way, I’m just fine with the official spelling of Holo.)


You’d think with this many hate comments one on one news entry, they would actually consider TRYING to please the fanbase. It seems like they choose to ignore all the comments coming at them.
I think Yen Press should be ashamed of themselves, for using such hideous work on something so great as Spice and Wolf. I am not bothered by the nudity, per say, but the fact that the cover looks like it was done by an amatuer porn artists.
You can choose to ignore the fans opinions all you’d like, but people are going to remember this episode for a long, long, long time.
You’ve lost the trust of many fans, myself including, because we are afraid of what might happen to other light novels that may be ruined in the future.


Wow, I have to say that a lot of you guys are being really judgmental. So what if the cover looks bad? I buy books to read what is in it. Covers are nice, but I mostly care about content.
I’ll be looking forward to this when it comes out. If you truly cared about buying the book, you’d buy it anyway. I’ve bought a large number of manga with covers that seem a bit questionable(i.e. Mahou Sensei Negima) at a Barnes & Nobles with my head held high.
If you hate the cover that much,then read it at home where no one can see or make your own book cover. Just support the author.


i didnt really comment on the detail of the new cover and i feel i have to point it out since im a editor/cameraman and its really really irritating me from a professional stand-point. first the angle, why was the photo cut off half way through the girls nose? she looks disfigured now, its highly irritating too look at.
on the models note, her is not long enough to match the original character.
and im sorry but you guys say you think you did a great job on “holo’s” play-full spirt (now granted its my opinion) but i disagree i just dont feel anything nor do i relate to this new feeling of “holo”
BTW its Horo! not holo, how do you even get the name wrong, i think my brother mentioned to me before in a one piece manga that Zoro got changed to zolo, it was annoying to read.
let me guess, in your print its gonna be written holo the whole way through right? jeez that would annoy me (thankfully not buying this as it currently is, will by a original artwork one though, maybe i shld just learn japanese now though lol)
anyway i wish you luck with getting more sale, i really do, but i hope this version of S&W cripples you and no one buys it. also counting on other fans to avoid buying this monstrosity.
was mentioned before but alot of people have actually already read it or seen the anime. and i happen to be one of the ones that likes to buy a physical object of something i already saw because i really liked it and want to help the industry that made it. this new copy is too ugly to put on my shelf, i wouldn’t be able to sleep at night.


All aboard the fail train guys! This cover blows big ones. Trying to gain a wider audience with this cover!? YP, your joking right….honestly?
*runs out the door laughing her butt off*


Please, people, stop nitpicking over “Horo” vs. “Holo”. You can’t blame them for going with what the author wants, and as I said on my site, if people keep complaining about that in the same breath as they complain about the cover, Yen Press is going to think our problem is that they’re not using the original cover, not that we think their “new and improved” cover looks like a bad porno.
And yes, “you can’t judge a book by its cover” and all that…but who the hell would buy this on impulse unless they’re thinking with their zipper?


I won’t buy this, or any Yen Press publication, until a proper version of this volume is issued. I will also be encouraging others to boycott this as well. I would rather see the light novel fail horribly in America than have to have people assume that Spice and Wolf is some sort of tawdry porn title.
Poor show, Yen.


@T1: mini said that the DVDs had a naked Holo cover and could be referring to
I’m not familiar with S&W, so I wasn’t interested in getting the book before (I was looking for information about whether YP had licensed Higu past Tatarigoroshi-hen), and the new cover hasn’t done anything to change that. I don’t see anything wrong with making a new cover for the US market, but, unless you’re trying to appeal to the erotic fiction fanbase, there’s got to be a better alternate cover than the one shown there.


“If a girl read that kind of book with that cover on a public transport it would be totally normal but if a guy instead, everyone would label him: PERVERT!”
they would label him even worse when he reads manga XD Because manga equals porn and excessive violence for a lot of people and any normal guy reads porn, while freaks read “violent manga porn”.
“Why should I read this(the american cover) at home in a corner so my parents don’t get the idea that their son is reading pr0n.”
Because you seemingly have a big problem with people and even your parents (if you can’t even explain yourself to them … x_x ) labeling you by the cover of a book you’re reading for a few hours. Seriously I can’t relate to that. I don’t care what others think about the books I read oO;; and if I did, then I’d simply not read it in the middle of the street. For sure at home my family won’t label me as anything just because of this, since they kind of … know me a bit better.


To mini/Mochi/etc.
The cover really does make a difference. It doesn’t change the contents of the book, no, but think of a potential reader looking through the stacks. You naturally can’t read through every single book on the shelf, so you make certain judgments, rightly or wrongly, based on the cover. For example, a cover with Fabio on it suggests a book that’s a trashy romance novel, and this particular cover is pretty close to that. I think Yen is probably going to lose more readers than they gain, since the kind of reader who goes in for trashy romance probably won’t appreciate a story that’s largely about shady currency deals.
Also, I do read outside, and if I buy this book I’ll probably tear the cover off because hell if I’m going to have people see me reading something with that printed on the front.


Maybe they’re just trying to bolster sales of their own useless, probably failing rag with the offer of the cover in the magazine.
And then, the people who don’t buy the Spice and Wolf volume will make a killing selling those covers on ebay to anyone who caved and didn’t demand that Yen give the public what they wanted.
The only people, Yen Press, who will be looking at Spice and Wolf, are anime and manga fans. Stick it in the fantasy section with this cover, and you’ll only cater to those who are mislead by your cover into believing that there is a prurient content, and then, when it comes time to do the second volume, those people won’t be coming back for more, and the fanbase you’ve alienated won’t be either.


this seems to be getting worst more and more. ppl are complaning about this and yen hasn’t done a single thing about it. are they even read these comments?
a lot of ppl have good ideas.
i agree with everyone say that it should have been like the haruhi LN, i have both volume 1 and 2 and both are in the hard cover and from what i see online most ppl are buying the hard cover.
yen if you guys want to sell spice and wolf i think you should do what you did with haruhi


Can I just suggest something? How about set up a poll here at yennpress.us: “Which cover do you prefer? The Japanese cover or the new and ‘more mature’ cover?”
Let the outcome of the poll decides which cover the light novel gets. This is more fair/democratic than an “one-sided decision” and it should give Yen Press a broader view what the audience (including all other potential buyers) really wants; after all, we are the ones who buy/pay for our beloved Spice & Wolf light novels.


i am still going to buy it but i don’t think im going to enjoy it the way i thought i would and now i have to go out and buy the yen pluss that comes with the real cover


You know, Hassler says that they read all the user comments, and that they take them all into account. But seeing the sheer level of hatred for this new cover, I don’t believe they truly do.
A fan base is composed of just that, fans. They are the core of your industry. Neglect and ignore their desires are your own risk.
And in these economic times, can you truly afford to ignore the desires of the fans?
I assure you, that lurid cover you’ve concocted won’t bring in new readers as you suggest.
Honestly, who was the artist for that abomination? Did you guys pay money for that? Can you sue to get it back for poor workmanship?


Can’t we just give in to Yen Press to buy the Dec. issue of Yen Plus to get the special case, with the original cover art? Pay an extra $10, problem solved?


English to Japanese the r in japanese is pronounced L so most american translators rush through to make it holo
cover killed me… why cant they at least make a 2ed book with original copy… isn’t that better than buying your dumb magazine


first it was subs only then crappy dvd artboxes to save money and know this im not buying this lets keep it original thats what real manga reader whant thanks


I think as a publisher that you have to try this..Most Americans see a cartoon picture on the cover and immediately dismiss it as kid fodder.With this cover,I believe you at least have a chance that a non manga/light novel reader will pick it up and check the contents.Who knows,maybe they will get into the art and story of it ^_^


if i may, i think the cover is fine. i will buy Yen+ and get the original because that is my preference, but going all boycott on Yen Press is an act of a pathetic fool.
second, none of the interior art will be changed, so there goes that argument.
third, in the second anime series, her name is written on a contract in ENGLISH as Holo. it seems most of the complaints come from people who don’t properly understand Japanese pronouciation. there are no “El”s in Japanese, but there are no “Ar”s as well. when reading it, just think of the l as a very soft one, lightly touching the tip of your toungue to the roof of your mouth, just behind the teeth. and there you are.


“The cover really does make a difference. It doesn’t change the contents of the book, no, but think of a potential reader looking through the stacks. You naturally can’t read through every single book on the shelf, so you make certain judgments, rightly or wrongly, based on the cover.”
Of course you’re right. It can’t be helped that people do judge books by the cover. But here is an interesting statement concerning this topic:
“As a long-time bookseller, I consider the light novel the bookstore kingdom’s zorse (right): an odd hybrid with no ready-made place in the world.
Most manga browsers pick up a light novel, and realize OMG, words (meaning they can’t read it in the 30 minutes before class starts). They then toss the book back on the shelf, where it will stay until that fateful day that we can return it to the publisher.
And honestly? While I get that a lot of manga fans hate Twilight, etc., the general stigma against manga/comics is oh-so-much-bigger. Mothers will buy their kids YA books with naked lady covers way before they’ll let them read something packaged like this.”
I just hope that he is right =)


I really love the S&W franchise, that even though I do not read a word of japanese, I’ve been faithfully buying the original japanese light novels because:
1> I didn’t think it will ever get picked up for english translation.
2> so that i can own a piece of this wonderful franchise in it’s original form.
3> hopefully my insignificant contribution can keep the industry going and produce more stories that I’d Love.
Can you imagine my happiness when I discover that Yen Press picked up S&W light novels for translation?
I’m currently following your releases of the translated “Sundome” & “Higurashi Naku Koro ni”, so I know you have absolutely no problems delivering on quality translation that I come to know and love.
(btw, thanks for picking up Higurashi. That was another series that I thought had no hope of ever getting picked up because of it’s decidedly niche status. Sundome was something that I just happened to pick up after knowing you(i.e., Yen Press) through Higurashi, and at vol5, it has yet to disappoint me too. Thanks! =))
For the Horo/Holo controversy, the 2nd season had already shown the correct spelling, and Yen Press had took the step to verify with the original publishers/author, so that’s that.
On the issue of the cover, I know and understand that Yen Press has to find ways to try to reach out of the usual circles for a wider audience, and I think the idea has legs. Yen Press has already elaborated it above, and I shall not repeat it.
So, now, the problem is with the execution.
(I will be borrowing points from some of the posters above, thanks and sorry about that! =))
1> The cover is poorly done. Any decent lay person can tell you that. Please don’t tell me this has gone through QA. I’ll be disappointed.
2> The cover is misleading. As many have reinterated above, Spice & Wolf is about economics, trade, power of the church, medieval life, the antics of Holo and Lawrence. The cover suggest none of the above. Now imagine the trouble this would cause. Your mainstream audience comes along picking this book up by it’s cover, hoping that it’s some romance/magical/supernatural fantasy, only to turn the cover and get overwhelmed by economics, and never to buy another volume again. One can argue that the same said mainstream audience could read the story, come away pleasantly surprised, and buys again, but the disconnect between the cover and the story is so much that I doubt that rosy scenario is ever going to happen. Of course, I’ve not mentioned the possibility of the said mainstream audience thinks that Yen Press itself is pulling a fast one and never buys another book from the publisher again.
3> The distribution of the original cover through Yen Plus. I guess you want to boost the circulation of Yen Plus, I can understand from your point of view, and I guess I’ll most probably be desperate enough to play along with you, even though I live in South East Asia, and the logistics of making that happen is going to cost me really dearly.
But many people failed to mention what happens after. Spice & Wolf doesn’t end on the first volume.
My buying of the first volume of Spice & Wolf from you means that I’ll be forming this relationship with the publisher in buying the series till it ends. I absolutely adore this series after all. The problem is, you are already playing the cat and mouse game with the cover on the first volume. I’ve no guarantee that you would not play this game for future volumes. And if I start the series, I’m commited to complete it, which would mean I’ll most probably have headaches with the covers for a forseenable future.
If there’s so much potential problems with the cover, I rather not support your folly by buying the first volume and instead just continue with my current practice of buying the japanese novels themselves, even though the only thing I can really do with them is to flip through and admire the pretty covers and inserts. It’s silly of me, but at least I know I’m directly supporting the author i love, and the japanese publishers which publishes his work.
just my 2 cents. – JJ

another anon with fake email address

I have had it. Light novel releases mostly cease after some volumes and now publishers don’t even try to make it sell in healthy numbers. If you want to kill off LNs overseas, you are on the express lane to accomplishment. Congrats.
Seriously, if there were Japanese bookshops selling at sane price-points (€12 instead of €4/volume? No, thanks.), I could laugh at you failing, but there aren’t!
Is it really so difficult to make a non-manga cover that is not appalling and actually represents what Spice&Wolf is about? The audience you reach with the new cover is not the audience, which will buy the next volume.


and as i thought i see alot of ppl with the same point on the cover that some ppl are just not getting, yes we are not judging the book by its cover so to speak. but hell if im having that thing on my shelf, obviously yes the contents are the same and great but that cover just isnt right.
why not have 2 versions, one for the fans and one for the new market, so that you can still reap the profits of the fan base and test the waters with a new cover, really the fans couldnt care less if you have a new cover as long as they can have a original one for themselves.
so have 2 versions and sell them both for a while and then maybe to build o nthe relations you have with the fans, have a chart up that shows the %sales based on the old cover and the new cover at least then we can see it from your perspective.


270 mostly angry comments compared to their next highest number of comments on their corporate blog which is at 88.
You’d think they’d do well to at least lend an ear.


“Can’t we just give in to Yen Press to buy the Dec. issue of Yen Plus to get the special case, with the original cover art? Pay an extra $10, problem solved?”
And reward their bad choices by giving them more of our hard-earned money. I think not. That will only encourage them to do more of the same in the future.
Never “give in” to people in business who don’t comply with their consumer base.
Supply and demand, Yen Press. Right now, I’ll bet you have a huge supply of those abominable covers already printed and ready for shipping. Now look at the comments here and realize that the demand for your trash cover isn’t there.
Enjoy bankruptcy, because with poor business sense like that, it is most assuredly where you are heading.
Or you can take your existing supply of proper covers, keep them out of your December magazine, and hot glue them to the volumes so that we can get what we want and not have to look at your ridiculous excuse for art.


Problem is these people are a corporation. And while you would think a company would do its best to please its customers because without them there would be no company. Sadly, in today’s economic troubled times the only thing the companies are looking at is how to increase their shareholders’ stock value. It’s sad that customers are no longer a #1 priority but instead they only try to find cheap and terrible alternatives to either get their product out a)quicker or b)to a wider range of customers at the cost of quality and faithfulness.
This disappoints me greatly YP. I thought you were better then this seeing what you have done for your customers in the past. I highly recommend an immediate and emergency response to change this back to what the fans desire.
You have been warned.


Cry me a river. The cover’s changed! Names have been altered! Curse you, Yen Media, for daring to make a product marketable to the non-otaku fandom!
Is the content of the story changed so radically that it does a disservice to the author? Is this version so radically inferior to the mangled translations available online? Will the experience of enjoying another piece of freshly imported Japanese media be inhibited?
Will fanboys and fangirls ever stop enshrining pieces of popular culture out of a misplaced sense of loyalty?


One of my comments apparently did not pass moderation. I have to wonder, just how many more negative comments would we see if they were all allowed through? I’ll try to remember the gist of what I posted before and redo it.
It’s funny that even the people trying to defend YP’s decision can’t actually bring themselves to say that the cover is any good. The best they can do is to claim that having a terrible cover doesn’t really matter. Well, the hundreds (that survived moderation, anyway) of negative comments seem to suggest that it does matter to a lot of people.
YP has options that would satisfy everybody. They could go with the original cover on a hardcover, and the new cover on a paperback, like they did with Haruhi. They could print the book with the original cover and have the new cover as a slipcover on it. That would allow the book to be merchandised in both places, and people who don’t like the new cover can throw it away.
Instead, what they are doing is making a misguided attempt to pander to a wider audience, taking it for granted that existing fans will just accept it. And not only accept it, but reward YP with even more money by buying the magazine to get the proper cover.
Sorry, Yen Press, but no. I will not be buying Spice & Wolf with that atrocious cover. In fact, I won’t be buying anything from you. I enjoy light novels and want them to succeed. But I would rather not have them at all than get them only in mutilated form. If you succeed this time, we can only look forward to more of the same in the future. I’d rather see you fail and let someone with a bit more respect for the source material take your place.


I have to agree with Sneebs. The amount of whining here is over the top. Okay, I don’t love the cover, but I’ve seen way worse. And this is a book I’ve been waiting for for a long time now. It’s not gonna interfere with my enjoyment for one second.
And for all the people pissing and moaning about how the book’s ruined because of the cover and you hope the book fails and light novels fail and Yen Press fails — get over yourselves! Martyr complex much?


People should be directing their anger at Tokyopop, they’ve been altering covers like crazy.


And let me add, you guys are pissed at one cover change from Yen Press, and yet you aren’t pissed as heck at Tokyopop’s doings?! They make Yen Press look like a saint.


Just because the cover has changed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. It has the same text. The cover is the only difference.


I have come to expect more from Yen Press versus Tokyopoop.
It almost feels like you knew there would be a backlash against this “cover”. So, you stick the proper one in your magazine to boost sales.
Can you tell us if you are going to be doing this for all of the covers? If you are, I would rather just import the series now.


“People should be directing their anger at Tokyopop, they’ve been altering covers like crazy.”
And Tokyopop is in bankruptcy. Go figure.
“Just because the cover has changed doesn’t mean you shouldn’t buy it. It has the same text. The cover is the only difference.”
It’s a huge difference. It’s what presents itself to the reader. And given how utterly atrocious it is, it has no hope of drawing in new readership.
With the original cover, I might have been able to say to someone who’d never read a light novel, “This is good. Just give it a try.”
With that lurid excuse for a cover, I wouldn’t be able to get them to so much as crack it open to read the first page.


Please, just do a poll at this site and see which cover people prefer, i.e. including the people who never have heard of the light novel. A poll is a relatively cost-efficient way to give Yen Press a good view of what different audiences really want.
In my opinion readers who really love books and reading, but never have read a light novel like Spice and Wolf (the potential buyers that Yen Press wants to attract) would never mind what cover is used; these readers will do some research on the internet before buying, if the content is good/interesting they will buy it. So changing cover won’t help attracting new readers.
On the other hand the dedicated readers of light novels will be irritated by the mentioned “more mature” cover, since this cover does not represent what the light novel really is about, it’s more a humiliation of their beloved light novel. Also ripping away the original cover from the light novel it has become an “incomplete” product, since the interior artworks remains to be the same artworks that are also in the Japanese light novel of Spice and Wolf if I did not misunderstood. Most readers and Yen Press customers only want the light novels translated in English and nothing more, so that they can read them in English since most of them can not read Japanese.
Also why doesn’t Yen Press do an experiment before changing the cover for future releases permanently: release the Spice and Wolf Light novel in two fashions, one with the original “Japanese” cover and one with the “more mature” cover and see which one sells better. If the one with the “Japanese” cover does sell better, then use the original “Japanese” cover for future releases too, vice versa. Isn’t this much safer for Yen Press? What if the light novel does not sell at all?


Wow, guys. Just wow. You’re all just a bunch of whiny brats who aren’t getting their otaku ways. If any business in the world depended on the patronship of people like you, no business would ever prosper. Yes, there are a LOT of comments complaining. But the fact is that people are much more likely to speak out against something than in support of it, at least on the internet.
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. Manga sales are really, really bad in the US. We have passed the era of US history where anything imported was something special. However, teen novel sales have skyrocketed, first since Harry Potter, again since Twilight. So of course they’re going to try to market it away from the manga look and more towards the teen market.
Say whatever you want, but the cover is far from trashy – the picture is purposely extremely blurry and shadowed, and Holo does spend a lot of time naked in the beginning. I showed this cover to my 70 year old conservative grandmother, and she didn’t think it was obscene. But then, if you’re negative and want to see trash, you’ll see trash.
The subtitle was probably removed because subtitles aren’t used as often in American books. When they are, no one sees them.


and so i see some peoples counter argument that everyone is just whining. so i wont throw my comment in on this, the whining continues because damn if yen press is actually getting back to us or doing anything or listening, we see no action or response from them so thats even more irritating since we are being ignored, our opinions dont count?
secondly, if this was a regular book change the covers all you want BUT, manga is a drawn art therefore logically yes the cover art is very important, we want it to match the style of the books contents, is that really so much to ask?
“why not just support them?” and this was already answered but no why should be support a company that make changes without consulting there original fans, that dont listen to the comments, yes they say read them all but i dont see any response so no they are obviously not cared about the fans voices so why should we care about them? mutual respect please it would be nice.
big thanks to the people that even if they cant read the books, are buying the original art, these are the people who are supporting the artist and not yens stockholders pockets.
if you are one of the people whining on about supporting the artist over yen press, then go buy the original manga and not the yen press one.
and as much as people complain thta this is getting repetitive, obviously it is, people are annoyed that they are being ignored with good reason, hell id virtually expect everyone here to abandon the book just because of the way yen press treats its customers not even taking the book into consideration.


@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.


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”?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


^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.


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.


@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.


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.


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? >.>


^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?
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?


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.


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.


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!


“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.


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


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.


“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.


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 :|.


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.


>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.


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


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.


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


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.


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:
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.


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.


>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?


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!


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.


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.


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


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


@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.


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


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.


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


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.


@ 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.


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.


@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?


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.


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).


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)


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.^_^


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.


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.


@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


“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


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?


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.


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.


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!


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:
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.


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.


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?


@ 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.


” 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?


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.


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?


@ 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.”


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.


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?


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.


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.


>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.


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!


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.


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


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


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.


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.


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”.
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.


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.


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.


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.


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… °/\°


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


…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)


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…


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.
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!!
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.


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.


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.


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


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


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.


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).


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.


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.


Wow, you can’t even sell the cover right.
This could have all been avoided if you just used the original cover.


That picture makes me want to slit my wrists.
First the butcher the book cover, and now they leave us with a fold in the art on the good cover.
Someone please say that all the covers aren’t like that.


Your hypothetical situation doesn’t even begin to compare to this on any level. It is in no way even related as a living baby and an inanimate book are not the same thing. When companies make decisions that the consumer doesn’t like then it fails, that’s how the world works. That is completely different from your example and I’m actually mildly disgusted you would try and use something like that.
As far as the whole ‘facing forward’ part. I do believe the majority are talking about when they carry it around with them, want to read it, or would have it laying somewhere in their room. I know if I’m in the middle of reading a book I don’t put it back on the shelf I place it somewhere close so I can pick it up again. I know my mother keeps a small stack of books she’s reading next to her nightstand. If I was to leave that trashy looking cover somewhere in the house, I know people would give it a second glance and then question what I’m reading. I would then have to explain the story which is completely different from what the cover shows and gives an impression of. I have no doubt several of my friends and family would then question why it has that cover and I would have no answer for them.
I hope that the rest of the covers don’t get messed up. I can only imagine how low of a blow it would be to shell out that extra money just to find out the cover you wanted was creased up like the picture that was shown.


Is there any chance of a limited edition with the original cover? I’d actually buy it if that were the case. For now, I’d rather read the online translations that have such an appaling and smutty cover anywhere near my library.


I’m going to keep posting in the hopes that my comments will finally be made visible.
Hassler promised us a solution as far back as Sept. 29th. Was that solution to run out the clock and go with the original proposal in the first place?
machineofhate says: “It’s also worth noting that the paper quality of the the cover is akin to that of a fold out poster.”
You couldn’t even provide a QUALITY cover for those willing to shell out the extra $10?
Wow says: “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?”
And you damage the cover with a permacrease RIGHT DOWN THE MIDDLE of the image people wanted?
Tell us again, Hassler, how much you love the fans.
1. Without regard for the fans who support your products, and without consulting them, you replace the original cover art with a badly photoshopped eyesore.
2. You announce the original cover will be made available, but only as an add-in to your magazine, which many people couldn’t get in the first place.
3. When it becomes apparent that fan opinion is against you, you announce a solution will be presented.
4. No solution was ever presented, and we find a cheap quality, mutilated cover in your magazine.
Have I missed anything?


I just read what
@anon; Yes I totally agree. You know normally you don’t give a damn when you live where I live (compared to some places around the world) but I don’t want to read a book with that cover and laugh in the bus making little kids look my way and then get disgusted when they see that cover with a nakid lady.
*suddenly sees an image where a kid gets pulled by his mother who goes: “Don’t look!”*
A great anime moment I could live without. XD
@Hassler (about your last comment…lol), it’s great that you respect and so on….wait, do you really? O.o
Now let’s take the japanese marked: The sales of light novels aren’t that high over there, know why? It’s because youngins normally don’t read novels over there. Murakami changed that but since you probably know how the marked is over there, there’s no need for me to get into it.
Anyway, the thing that makes light novels famous in japan are it’s manga release or better it’s anime release. After people watch the anime, they try to find more stuff related to it. Usually animes leave out a lot of stuff so to get the whole story you read the novel or the manga (depending on what’s out). You probably know all this but I’m just reminded you and the rest of the readers. Don’t mind it^^
Now should we count on how many light novels there are in the states? (of course the japanese light novels) Not that many to be able to state that there’s a huge marked of light novels in USA…of course the marked would be low. We got TP who (sorry) knows how to really screw up so their titles got discontinued (I hope they will finish 12 kingdoms though), we got viz who’s still releasing the few titles they got, darkhorse got nice cover but a few titles and we got delrey with also some novels…oh and seavesea who are still releasing the yuri novels :3 and now you with kieli and more to come. (oh btw how’s the sales of the Kieli novel going? You changed the cover for this one too so it must have told you how the sales goes if you change the cover for a light novel. Atleast the pictures inside are still there…and atleast Kieli isn’t a nakid ravenhaired loli on the cover, thank you for not doing that.)
Count the titles and then compare to how many mangas there are out. Then it will make sense to NOT compare the manga marked with the light novel marked, right? No even if it’s sounds like I’m talking down to you, I’m not. I’m just telling you that it’s kinda bad to talk about how a marked is when it’s all new compared to the manga marked.
Truth be told, the only reason I ended up buying Kieli novel was that I was going to order the manga and then saw there was a novel too. Otherwise I would never have bought it with that kind of cover.
Wait, now that I think about it. Is this the cover of the hardcover or the softcover? I’d don’t even give the damn about the softcover…that one can fail with that kind of slutty front if it want. (Yes, I’m baised when it comes to the stuff I like 😉 )
@Chemicult: So we should wish the company (the brother) to die instead? I think that’s little more overkill than the the novel (kid) >.> lol sorry couldn’t stop myself from writing this. The point in this 410 comment lots thread is that most people don’t want a slut on their cover but the original. If Yen press isn’t allowed to put the original on it or if it’s going to cost them more then make a better cover instead of that. I think there was a guy who made a nice red cover with a shade-horo in the middle of it. That one would be be nice to have if you can’t use the original. Black, red, brown, grey, blue and/or dark green covers with shade-horo’s in different poses in silver, gold, white, black colours in the middle for every volume. This way it won’t look like it’s kiddy stuff and people wouldn’t feel ashamed to read it in the bus/train. It would be like a special edition of a bestseller. XD
@Spia Says:
October 19th, 2009 at 10:57 PM
“And let me add, you guys are pissed at one cover change from Yen Press, and yet you aren’t pissed as heck at Tokyopop’s doings?! They make Yen Press look like a saint.”
Lol oh we did go there and scream them at their forum. I did when they had a forum. You wanna know what they said, more like their “staff” said? “If you don’t like it then don’t buy it!”
Dunno how much you use the net but after that people got pissed and less peoples started buying their stuff, TP quality went further down and suddenly TP stuff appeared on the net. We don’t want that with YP. When you compare them to TP, I will too. Saints listen to the people and then decide….if not then they get burned. History has told us so. Now how do you think people will find out at there’s horo in novel form out in the stores? or when they find that chick on the cover? I can tell you this: TP did censor/edit nakidness…they did not put them in our manga, lol.
YES, I did cry when I saw how much they had butchered the crest of the stars novels when I read them…damn them. NO pics and original cover? WUT, someone said yen press but a little better?
12 is a lot better though even if they aren’t using the same shiny cover as the japenese ones. Still no slut on my books 😉
@Anonymous Says:
“Photo of the magazine-packed cover:
Notice the folding. How is it possible to fail on so many levels?”
O-M-G, I feel your pain…there goes that stupid idea from YP, lol. So YP, still got any “great” ideas that will satisfy us “fanatics” who in the end will be the ones that will make the core for this novels success?
@Bweb: I take it that Hassler also got screwed and is now afraid of coming here and telling us that YP doesn’t give a damn about us…which will probably make us rage more and do weird stuff, lol.
Anyways this should be enough for this time…
PS: About retailers…lol if they don’t read the book don’t expect them to tell others about it.
In another simple business term: there’s also this problem to your only one solution. You see if you annoy the “fanatics” they won’t buy your book. Who’s gonna start buying it and then tell others about it? So with your solution it either goes well or it totally failz. Someone needed to think a little bit about it before doing a TP, lol.


I love the censoring as a whole that goes on this website. Apparently fans posting their respected opinions and comments get deleted/moderated if there is any sort of frustration or anger towards the company at fault here.
Apparently YenPress seems to think that its once already established audience was not good enough for them this time and decided to completely alienate them by going this route. It truly is a shame because I can guarantee you the novel now will fail miserably with this route of execution.
For all of you who spent the extra money on the magazine and got a bent/defective cover I am truly sorry and it is very sad that a random fan has to apologize on behalf of a company who is at fault and refuses to admit their mistakes. Truly the level of customer support we have seen here is nothing short of terrible.
I hope that in the future perhaps better attention can be paid towards what the established customers want and not what they THINK some random target audience might want.
God speed fans, I pray for the best for the Spice and Wolf novel franchise.


Even though i wish yp used the original cover the slip over isnt so bad.
but the only thing about the cove is that the fold cuts right through Holo (the name is Holo for all the people that thinks it is Horo, she even spells her name like that in season 2 so stop bitching about that) truely yp could have done much better but this is beter then making us look at that rtarded US cover they made.
im sure that a lot of people dont care much about the cover change but the cover that you guess picked was way too UGLY.


I forgot to say it is spelled Holo but it is pronounced as Horo. So just say it the say they say it in the anime but the spelling is right.


The December 16th release date is right around the corner and I am still not seeing a proposed solution.
This does not bode well for us fans.


It’s great that Yen Press is bothering to even bring up the issue of the cover with fans, but they seem to keep missing the point of all the complaining – that the new cover is hideous and people want, at the very least, to be able to cover it up with something that looks and feels like an actual slip cover, like the kind you find on other books. I’m happy I didn’t drop ten dollars on Yen Plus if that’s what they’re giving us. Again, I’m still buying the book, but for God’s sake what are you guys thinking?


@Ralph: Yeah, I’ve had two of my comments fail moderation so far. Not sure why. They don’t give you a reason. You just wait for days and days and your comment never shows up. Because the best way to win back alienated fans is to sweep them under the rug, AMIRITE?


@Jessica, yes mine looks like that too
bt its better then not getting anything at all if you ask me
i got bored so i already folded it so it would look like a real cover.
i’m planning on glueing it to the cover of spice and wolf once i get it


I want to start out by saying that I am glad to see this being published in the US at long last, its a great story that is more than worthy of the import. personally I dont think that the cover change will be quite what is required to make this a hit in the US though, for one the cover change is a bit inappropriate for the nature of the book, sure there are a few parts in the book where there is a bit of nudity but to make the cover some shaded out nude I dont think does this book justice. I almost feel that something like a bag of coins on the seat of a empty wagon would better represent the book in a better light showing the loneliness that both are feeling and the profits to be made and the mode of travel used to find there happiness
aside from the cover, I almost feel that if you all are trying to make the book more popular in America you would probly have to strip all signs of the fact that its even related to a anime/manga meaning removing the pictures and with volume 1 coming in with only 240 pages(after reading volume 1 today I would guess that to come up with 240 pages it was probly larger than normal print size…) you would likely have to double up the volumes so that it actually looks like a proper book then get it in the fantasy section of the book store then just surprise people at the end of it with some sort of note saying to check out the anime version of it oh and scene the first season of the anime covers volume 1 and volume 2 it comes out rather convent if you did double it up.
There seems to be a large portion of the US population that seems to feel that anime is taboo, porbly 75% of the people who see my anime/manga collection for the first time(the ones that dont watch it themselves) one of the first things out of there mouthes is asking if I own any anime porn(of course we all know it as henti) between that comment right there and the other part of the non anime watching community out there that thinks that anything animated is for kids are the two stigmas that are hurting the anime community from growing more than it already has. What we really need here is for a good quality story like this to be stripped of its anime ties and fed to an unsuspecting public who would eat up a story like this if they diddent know its origins but as is will see the cover and if that doesnt get them they will do a quick flip through the book to find a anime style picture at which point the book will get put right back on the shelf
imo redo the cover, reamove all the pictures, double up the volumes so it looks like a real book and then place it under there noses, I would imagine most would like the story if they diddent know it was the basis for an anime and then once they read it and they come to find out that it was the basis for an anime they might just get curious enough to see what anime is really all about once you get passed the henti/naruto stuff


I was going to pick up a copy of the magazine, but after seeing that picture (thanks for posting it anon) and reading other comments about the fold on the cover, I think I’ll pass.
I was really going to give this a chance hoping that the cover slip was going to be something of quality, but it turns out that’s not the case.
I really hope this series does do well despite it’s terrible new cover, maybe, someday, Yen Press will print out the one with the pretty original cover. Sadly that seems more like a dream now.


@ Jessica:
I was going to waste money on their magazine, but since they’re printed, packaged, and shipped all at the same time, I’d wager that, yes, they all look like that.


I just cancelled my order for Yen Plus. I’m not going to waste my money on something that isn’t worth it. I’m still going to buy the LN, but it’s sad that I won’t be able to hide that terrible cover.
BTW, am I the only one who is still waiting to hear some official “positive” news from yenpress about this, or has most of you lost hope?


I’m still waiting for some news about the cover, but I doubt it’s going to be positive. I can’t imagine what kind of solution Yen Press could possibly come up with a few weeks before the novel’s release date. I’m guessing it’s going to be a “yeah, sorry, just deal with the cover” sort of thing with a plea to fans to understand what they were trying to do here. Well, here’s hoping they learn from their mistakes.


@Jessica, i lost hope for the first volune weeks ago but im still hoping for good news about volume 2


Well, i really want to buy this novel, but with this kind of cover its impossible, maybe if the original cover get released with the book i will get it, though i will try to glue it over that modified cover. For now, i will just wait, i really hope something change and Yen sells a lot of copies so the translation dont stop =)


Kinda starting to look like the solution isn’t going to happen and they are just waiting out the clock until the release date. We haven’t even gotten so much as an “Update” or for that matter a word about whats going on with this for a long time.
(Unless the mauled slip cover is the solution of course)


Looks to me like they are just trying to make free money now. Granted it is what companies are out to do. But honestly, do they think an original creased bookcover is going to sell to people?
Why do you guys pay money and buy these terrible magazines to support these kinds of companies. Forget for the moment that they are localizing a novel for you and look deeper to the fact that it is going something like this:
“Hey you want this book? Too bad we changed it. Give us $10 more and you can have the original. Except you have to put it on yourself……and its creased……buy our magazine.”
If any company thinks they are getting my money with that kind of marketing attitude they’ve got another thing coming.


You know, I do understand some of the reaction to the new cover being that it isn’t what many fans would have chosen, and yes from the posted picture it looks a little mediocre.
Isn’t all this evil corporation talk a little over the top? It doesn’t make any sense that the publisher would intentionally try to piss people off just so they can sell another copy of a magazine; it’s not good business. It also doesn’t make sense that they’re in it ‘just for the money’ because there are much more lucrative markets than in light novels…its a gamble for them in the first place.
I for one am excited that the translated version is being published in the first place. Hopefully, they’ll have a better idea of what they should and shouldn’t do for the next installment and things can get better.
P.S. I read a lot, including fantasy and sci-fi novels, so I’m used to book covers being MUCH worse than this one….


@anon thanks i forgot what ep it was
and yeah i was trying to say that she wrote her name with an “l” for all the ppl that were complaining about yp spelling her name wrong
Holo not Horo


God, most of these people are giving fandom a bad name. I have to admit that I most likely won’t be buying the book myself, because I find that a lot seems to be lost in the translation of Japanese literature, but I don’t think it’s a bad cover! Don’t know if the original logo particularly suits it, but I’m sure you were trying to please the people who are panning you!
The original art is just terrible. Look at her head-to-shoulder ratio. Just look at it! It’s cute, but it’s utterly generic, and I’m sure the publishers are right – it wouldn’t sell! The replacement art is on-model, and includes her bag of grain, and makes her tail look like wheat and is just generally pretty clever and cool! Are you all just afraid of a bit of casual, tasteful nudity? This is a girl who spends a good deal of her time naked, after all. It fits the plot, it’s not pimped out, and she looks like Holo! (Which is the romanization chosen by the author!)


Pippin4242 says: “The original art is just terrible. Look at her head-to-shoulder ratio. Just look at it! It’s cute, but it’s utterly generic, and I’m sure the publishers are right – it wouldn’t sell!”
Right. Because the bestselling covers to the Harry Potter novels followed rules of proportion perfectly, and weren’t at all cartoonish.
Pippin4242 also says: “The replacement art is on-model, and includes her bag of grain, and makes her tail look like wheat and is just generally pretty clever and cool!”
No. It’s a poor effort at Photoshop, with it being blatantly obvious that they created the tail post haste using the Cloud Filter and Gaussian Blur. I’ve seen better quality work on DeviantArt.
The pouch was shopped in so poorly that it doesn’t even look like it’s part of the same picture plane.
Pippin4242 Also says: “Are you all just afraid of a bit of casual, tasteful nudity? This is a girl who spends a good deal of her time naked, after all.”
Ok, one more time. It’s not about the nudity, it’s about the presentation. Even one of Yen Press’s defenders
compares the cover to “bad werewolf porn”.
Like it or not, people do judge a book by its cover. There are literally thousands of books in the bookstore, and the cover is one of the first indicators of content.
Since even defenders of Yen Press describe the cover as “bad werewolf porn”, what do you think casual browsers in a bookstore will think?
I’m certain that they won’t think about picking the book up to examine it more closely. It looks more like a fetishist novel than what it truly is.


@Khellamendra – I apologize for the mild disgust,It was not my intent. I suppose the example was a little…extreme. The point I was aiming to reach was not comparing life to an inanimate object but rather to speak of the situation that both are in. The arguements are based around (for lack of better words right now) presentation. The book is cover presentation, the name is part of a persons presentation of who they are. With that in mind, my example was saying that those who were wishing failure and “death” on the book and series, for this reason, were being rather “extreme” themselves.
@An – Thanks, I did.
@T1 – Wow. I’m not even sure what to say to that one.


Errr….Didn’t you say that you wouldn’t buy it cuz “a lot seems to be lost in the translation of Japanese literature” why do you think that?
It just proves the shit we’ve been saying…changes start somewhere and in this case it’s the cover.
You know TP learned from their mistake with “crest of the stars” novels which didn’t have pictures in it…..sad cuz lafiel <3
My hack novels and 12 kingdoms got their pics :3 I love them just like a real fan would. 😛
Changing something to fit makes it different from what it was.

Jonh doe

Dumb cover. art sucks compared to the manga’s intent! I mean the spice and wolf i know is about a love story sort of. I want to read the light novels. But good lord do a better photo shop please!
I mean who works in your quality department?


I don’t think i would have bought it when it came out if it had that cover on now you got this one, its much better. A definite buy 😉


I think It’s great that your trying to appeal to a wider audience, really I do.
The problem is it just isn’t going to work. Your creating contradicting style that in the end leaves everyone feeling cheated.
Anime, Manga, and Light Novel fans feel cheated because they have a random “Fan-art” copy-paste cover to deal with, and have to find a copy of Yen+, which hasn’t been sold in my area for at least 6 months. Not to mention several people feel embarrassed about how the cover portrays they’re interests to others. (it’s hard enough telling people you like watching cartoons, lets not cause more social awkwardness for this group of people.)
Fantasy novel fans will feel cheated because the cover is artistically completely different from the actual illustrations. It’s not like it’s common practice to put photographs on the from of DVD’s for animated films, so why are we doing it with our books?
Really this is just going to confuse people new to the series, and outrage the anime fans who, as unfortunate as it may be, will probably be the only ones buying the book despite your best efforts.
This reminds me of the story of the judgment of Solomon. the Mother who truly loved the child is the one who gave him up so that Solomon didn’t cut him in half.


While its understandable that the cover be changed for the western audience, it gone sadly wrong.
Like a bad live action movie.
Since the cover was changed like that I think any kind of change would be possible, so instead of trying to “3d-ify” the original artwork, why not simply going with a realistic photo of something very related to the story itself.
A horse drawn carriage going about on a plain.
That would give a natural western look to the book.
Still keeping more or less to the roots of the story itself, and soon after reading the prologue one would understand that on the cover was Lawrence like setting on his journey..
I’m a die hard fan of original art work and all, but I think I’d be pleasant surprised for such cover (well half of it just now because it was me who came with the idea)
But since there is the original cover sleeve, i guess that has to do, but its such a bother as they always start tearing, or slip from the book.


Good idea to change the cover to try to capture a larger audience, I disagree with that choice but I realize you want more money so it’s the right choice to make. But the execution is just so terrible, the new cover is actually repulsive I can’t look at it for more than 30 seconds without having to look away. It’s nothing to do with nudity or anything like that I’m one of the biggest perverts commenting here but the actually execution of designing it. I’ll probably be buying this if I can get the slip cover for free from an online retailer (which thankfully I can) but otherwise I wouldn’t be buying it. I don’t ask that you keep the original cover for the American market I understand your choice, but the replacement is horrible and the idea of putting a slip cover in YenPress magazine or whatever your magazine is at least decent I’d much rather have either the option to buy a paperback / hardcover with the original design from your website or a decent “westernized” cover. I won’t be buying this from a bookstore and possibly not at all if I can’t get something to disguise this, frankly, ugly cover from view for free (which thanks to online retailers I can). It’s not like people don’t translate this and other releases for free and at a much faster pace (years ahead of you). The reasons I want to buy this are support the releases of great books in America and the author who I hope gets a cut of this. It took an effort on your part to get me to consider not buying this, however I will probably still buy this. In the future if you make another repulsive cover with no option to get the real one except paying more or circumventing traditional methods of buying media I will not buy those releases.


Poor decision. The original cover is much more appealing than half naked woman with “intriguing” patch she wears around her neck.


No just no. Sorry to say but the cover is terrible?
I see what you guys are trying to do, but the original cover is very good already; a wasted effort here that backfired quite badly.

January Loots | Cool and Spicy

[…] one was released just last month and caused quite a stir when Yenpress announced their “updated” cover art.  Not many fans liked the new cover and after lots of complaining Yenpress decided to provide the […]


Very dissapointed that you cannot get the original art anymore, the new cover is revolting and crap. yen+ you should make the original art cover be included with the book!!!!!!!


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


you deleted my post just because I refuse to buy your poor quality product?
Now I know who I’m dealing with. Censoring your buyers I don’t think is the right thing to do. My feedback was only meant to as that and to hopefully make you change your ways for the better.
I would be happy to see this book on store shelves in it’s original cover art and pay a bit more for better quality print work. I worked in the print industry for the past 10 years and I know you can do better.


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


I`m not going to buy the novel because of this ugly cover! In fact, neither another Yen Press release.
That preposterous cover is a very sorry attempt to sell this novel out of its natural marketing niche. Why don’t you change the author’s name for a western one?
I’m so angry right now…
Shame on you!

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I just vomited a little in my mouth, but I was able to gulp it down once I saw the beautiful original anime idea.
I guess I hope you guys make money off this and it appeals to a wider audience, but it is my hope that once you make fans out of them, they will demand the anime.


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


Well, for the people look at this a year later, how are we supposed to cover up the cover Yen Press made? I want the spice and wolf original slip cover.
I agree, delete topic, because it just makes me sad that they put a naked girl in the shadows with dented breasts as a supposed “better” cover and it was supposed to “appeal to wider audiences”, but I think the majority of buyers are spice and wolf fans before this light novel was licensed in America.

john d.

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


Very wise marketing decision with cover.
It is a novel, not manga, and is a story set other then Japan. Those who know will buy the book anyway, but more importantly those unknown will be open to at least look at the book because they may think manga is children books.
The cover art? I give 4 of 5 stars because I do not think it clearly shows Holo well (as a she wolf and protagonist, not her breasts or pubis) but as much as America tries to hide it, the fact is Sex sells. It is an unspoken truth all marketing execs know by heart, and I wish Americans will stop being childish about it and accept the truth, we will all be better off.
It was smart to realize the market (like Lawrence does), and brave to make the leap. I hope it paid off.

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