Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Light novel translations


So, I've always thought about this, but never really wrote my thoughts down on it. Light novels are a really niche market outside of Japan. I mean, to the point where their translations are usually cut after a few volumes. It's quite sad too, but I think it mostly has to do with the fact that...they're not found in bookstores. I mean, you'll see them maybe the first month they're released or so, but after that bookstores never restock on them, and your only way of getting them is from online retailers.

Now, being someone that buys my books online most of the time anyway, I don't mind that, but I don't see how that's good for their sales at all. Do the bookstores refuse to restock because they don't sell well, or do publishers refuse to release new batches for bookstores?

Lots of light novels never get any attention paid to them. There are some really interesting titles out there that just get dropped because not enough people know about them. I'm sure if word was spread around more about them, more people would be inclined to buy them (they're usually cheaper than a volume of a manga anyway).

But of course, there are light novels that actually do well, but most of those are popular because they already have a popular name within anyone who's into anime or manga. Suzumiya Haruhi's translation seems to be selling well, but that's not surprising really, considering how popular it is. That Death Note spinoff titled L: Change The World (which is actually a novel adaptation of a spinoff movie, wrap that around your head) even managed to make a top seller for some time, according to the New York Times. Of course, Death Note is popular as well. Meanwhile, other nice reads are never picked up because their names are obscure, they were never adapted, or their adaptations weren't anything that really sparked widespread attention.

So what of these titles? They usually just get dropped, and most of the time with no official statement of their discontinuation. Really sucks, there are quite a few series that I got into and was never able to continue because of their discontinuation. I have the Japanese versions of some of them though, just sitting on my bookshelf until I can read them fluently enough to actually enjoy them, rather than referencing an online dictionary every other page.

And I'm still butthurt than Tokyopop discontinued Welcome To The NHK before I got to buy a copy. It wasn't even on sale for that long. I've already read it, but I want to keep it for my collection. Too bad it's impossible to find now, unless I wanna drop $150+ on a copy. Aren't we in 2010? We have on demand printing now. I'd pay an extra $10 or so if they just freaking print 1 copy from an online order placed on their site or something. But that's just me getting a bit into a personal rant.

On the other hand, after a really long hiatus, Tokyopop began publishing the new volumes of the Karin novels. Where the hell did that come from? Whatever, I'll probably buy those, but I don't really have the urge to start reading 6. They're fast reads though, so I'll get to it eventually.

What bout you guys? You guys read any light novels, or had any series you were reading before but then got shut down? It'd be nice to be fluent enough in Japanese to actually read them without translations, but we all know how lazy we are.

~ Kirari ミ★

11 posts:

Dialydose said...

I know exactly what you mean. It's so rare to actually find a series translated all the way through (if at all for that matter). With all the love the translation scene is seeing now a days it does make one wonder why light novels don't see any of it.

Jerry said...

I've never gave light novels much of a chance, mostly because the word "novel" intimidates me.
I might give it a chance someday though.

Honda said...

>>It's so rare to actually find a series translated all the way through (if at all for that matter).

Seriously, I hate this.

Chi-chan said...

I wish light novels were more widely available, there are several series I want to read but can't find anywhere :(

Cpt.Awesome said...

>It's so rare to actually find a series translated all the way through (if at all for that matter).

I bought a couple of light novels and liked them but this stops me from buying anymore. I hate leaving a series unfinished.

Link said...

Not even manga got popular enough to stay here. They began translating some series, but the only one people bought was narutu. So they discontinued all series but narutu and One Piece (which were on book 40-something, so discontinuing it would be stupid).

I would like to read some light novels, and more manga as well, but the only way to get something is to import. And you never know if they just stop translating them, too.

McRohanheim said...

I used to read Nana but it suddenly stopped. Right now I'm into detective novels but I may pick up a light novel or two if I come across it in borders/waterstone.

DerpFiles said...

Suicidal mime? Lol

A Hermit said...

I don't know much about light novels, having only read the Haruhi translations online. The way they do not finish translating series sounds very annoying...I guess they do that with manga too.
Guess I'll have to learn to read moonrunes to play all those games/read those novels.

Kirari Star said...

>Right now I'm into detective novels but I may pick up a light novel

Zaregoto is a detective light novel.

Jam_and_Milk said...

Yeah I know what you mean. Currently I'm reading the Boogiepop novels and just picked up Bookgirl a couple of months ago. I always get distracted and it takes me forever to finish up a book. I still got "My girlfriend's a Geek" on hold till I finish up the rest of the Haruhi novels.

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