Update: Shakugan no Shana Is Gone

The rumor was right. Shakugan no Shana as of late last night was removed from Baka-Tsuki for good. It’s still listed in the Projects List, but clicking it merely tells you that the page you are looking for doesn’t exist.

Now all that is left to do is to pray that Viz will release book 3, seeing now that there is no other way to read the rest of the series.

January 29, 2010 at 12:26 am 4 comments

Baka-Tsuki Shuts Down

It’s official, Baka-Tsuki shut down…….the “Haruhi Suzumiya” and “Spice and Wolf” light novel projects.

What? You thought for a moment I meant the entire site? Dear heaven’s no! lol

But in all seriousness, the projects are gone, at least that is, in English.

Why? If you really have to ask, you’re quite out of the loop.

Here’s the official announcement as taken from the front page of Baka-Tsuki:

On Jan 20, 2010 a cease and desist letter was sent by Hachette Book Group in regards to the copyright infringement of series 1. Suzumiya Haruhi and 2. Spice and Wolf. As per request, Baka-Tsuki has immediately deleted all infringing pages. Should you have any question or concern, please contact (e-mail removed).

Thank you for your cooperation.

Thelastguardian 23:28, 20 January 2010 (UTC)

I think anyone who understood the playing field that B-T was on, understands that this was inevitable. But in truth, the biggest surprise is that it took so long.

Or rather, its a surprise to some, but not to me.

It actually makes a lot of sense.

For one thing, anyone who DOES understand the playing field, realizes that Baka-Tsuki is a major player in the Light Novel Industry. Some could say its one of the remaining things keeping it a float in this sea of uncertainty. But of course, that’s an entire article for an entirely different time.

The fact is, Hachette didn’t ask for them to be taken down till now for several reasons.

1. Baka-Tsuki was part of the main reason there were fans for the books in the first place and it helped to give a lot of immediate sales for when the books came out officially (yes, this is all guessing, but I would say it’s an educated guess that anyone could come to. After all, without B-T many wouldn’t even know there WERE light novels for Haruhi or Spice and Wolf.)

2. It costs around $4,000 to issue a C&D order. So you have to feel pretty motivated about your product in order to spend that cash. And if you notice, they didn’t issue it until now, as they are preparing for the 3rd book of Haruhi and 2nd of Spice and Wolf. The reason is that its successful, its selling almost as well as many manga. So its actually a profitable item for them, something they want exclusivity to.

Should you be mad about this? I don’t know why.

Fact is, it was bound to happen. Hachette legally owns both series. And honestly, you should be buying them already if your a fan. The whole idea of the B-T translations were never to allow you to skimp on buying the books, but to be able to read them since they were unavailable.

So don’t get mad, just go out and buy them.

Either that, or if your lucky enough to have an Android phone, go and download a certain book app that will go unnamed and search for Haruhi and Spice and Wolf. Oh my…they’re all there. Shhh… Don’t tell anyone. (But seriously, were telling you to BUY them. Only use the floating PDFS and e-book versions as secondary ways to read them. )

If your a fan, support the series.

So what’s next? Could we be seeing other book series on B-T get cut?

Well, there’s really only two that are in trouble.

1. Shakugan no Shana (licensed by Viz, 2 books released, no announcements of further books)

2. Zero no Tsukaima (licensed by SevenSeas, no books released, is on indefinite hiatus)

There are currently rumors that Shana will be taken down from B-T within 24 hours. *hint**hint*

In other news though, some new projects are being added to B-T such as “Dantalian no Shoka”.

Many fans will be watching the situation closely, only time will tell how it will all turn out.

January 27, 2010 at 5:11 pm 9 comments

Back…Again

Hmm…it’s starting to sound like a bad joke, right?

But it’s still as true as ever, I’m busy. >.< lol

However, I do apologize for the lack of news and so forth. I shall try and update the blog regularly. I emphasis Try. I also thank anyone who checks back here every so often to see if I’ve posted something new. It is very encouraging to see so many people visiting the blog, even just by accident.

So without further a-du, I shall start reporting the news.

January 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm Leave a comment

Spice and Wolf: POLL

Now that the new Spice and Wolf novel published by Yen Press is out, we want to know what you plan to do.

Will you buy it or has the controversy over the changed cover made you decide to NOT buy it? Or are you perhaps undecided?

We want your opinion, so vote in our poll and let us know what you think!

December 17, 2009 at 6:33 pm 8 comments

Haikasoru Continues To Grow But Shakugan no Shana Remains Stagnant

While not being a light novel imprint, Viz’s new science fiction imprint, dubbed Haikasoru, is important for any fan of Japanese literature to pay attention to for more reasons than one. The imprint, which launched earlier this year, has published around six novels thus far, with two others on the way including “Book of Hero’s”, by the same author of “Brave Story”.

Over the past couple months, announcement’s regarding future titles has continued to grow, and by no means, has it decided to slow down.

We mentioned the acquisition of Otsuichi’s novel “Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse”, which was one of two books announced to be coming in 2010. However, today, we have new news.

Two more novels have been announced.

So then, is Haikasoru seeing good sale growth? Are the novels succeeding in comparison to light novel sales?

I went to Barnes and Noble.com to check out their sales ranking currently and was shockingly surprised at what I found.

To start off, “Zoo”, by Otsuichi comes in at #342,120

“The Lord of the Sands of Time” comes in at #207,607

“Usurper of the Sun” is #193,633

Coming in at #184,017 is “All You Need Is Kill”

Have you noticed anything yet? Perhaps the fact that all these novels are listed in the HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS range?!

Now…here’s the real point, and I truly hope many people think about this and that this sparks a further discussion, but do you know what “Shakugan no Shana” as of today is ranked? The first novel that is, that was published back in 2007.

Hmm?

#123,291

Stare at that number for a bit. Something should dawn on you. No, it isn’t your imagination, go look back at the other numbers above. Yes, that’s right, your eyes aren’t fooling you, Shakugan no Shana is outselling all of Haikasoru’s newly released novels.

But lets go further shall we? What is the SECOND Shana novel ranked at? Obviously lower, right? Right?

#106,492

That’s right, the SECOND Shakugan no Shana novel is outselling not only the first Shana novel but the entire original line-up of novels by Haiksoru.

But let us not forget, that Haikasoru’s most recent publishing was of two paperback “re-print” editions of “Brave Story” and “Battle Royale”. So how did their numbers fare?

Battle Royale comes in at a staggering #12,986

Brave Story follows behind with #66,336

So what does this information seem to imply? That two already established novels are selling pretty well, but that their original line-up is selling somewhat worse than many light novels, including their own.

But then, this begs the questions, what’s with all the licensing for more and more novels? As far as I remember, light novel publishers would start canceling novels as soon as those kinds of sale’s rankings would be seen, not getting more.

Either Viz knows something about the sales that we can’t see from the statistics at Barnes&Noble, or else they are fully committing themselves for a long haul in order to make their imprint a success eventually.

If so, I applaud them.

But just one quetion….

Why are you committing to a long haul for THESE novels? And yet…the Shakugan no Shana novels, which are selling currently BETTER than all of your original Haikasoru novels, are in a limbo with only two books out?

Perhaps Viz aren’t really fans of Shana? Perhaps their soul isn’t in it? Some might argue that, however, I don’t believe it’s true.

I had an e-mail conversation with someone at Viz a while back, and when I mentioned Shana, the person replied that some employee’s there enjoyed the books and would enjoy seeing more. Besides that, Viz has told us to keep on the look out for any announcements regarding the novels if they should make one. So they obviously haven’t abandoned the project.

So then why the delay? If they can afford low selling books like “Zoo” (#342,120), why can they not afford to publish Shana which has it’s second novel ranked at #106,492?

I frankly don’t understand it. It doesn’t quite make sense to me.

If Viz is in a position to continue a light novel series they started, why are they choosing not to do it?

I hope that this article has offered some questions for pondering, and that a healthy discussion can start not only in the comments section below, but on other websites and forums as well.

I want to make clear, in case I haven’t, that I am not making any accusations at Viz, nor am I attacking them in any way, I am merely confused as to how they are managing their Japanese novels. I would also welcome any employee of Viz who happens to read this article to leave an official reply of some kind regarding this. Perhaps Barnes and Noble’s stats have it completely wrong? Perhaps Haikasoru’s novels are in fact selling very well?

I should also mention the following notes regarding the Sales Rankings listed here from Barnes&Noble so as to give any reader a better understanding of just what the numbers that have been listed mean.

*Note: All numbers accompanying novels are not a representation of how many copies have been sold, but rather, the rank it holds with all others books being sold at Barnes & Noble.

*Additional Note: Barnes and Noble Sales Rankings are based on a 6 month rolling sales period. Which means that this data is only based on the past 6 months of sales and nothing before that. So please keep all that in mind when discussing this data.

Many fans want more of the Shakugan no Shana novels published. My question is then, why isn’t Viz giving them what they want?

December 17, 2009 at 4:37 pm 10 comments

Otsuichi Returns With A Bang!

Viz has announced that Otsuichi will be returning once again to this side of the Pacific. The author of Viz’s Haikaosru novel “Zoo”, will get his first published novel “Summer, Fireworks, and My Corpse” published this coming year. This novel, published while Otsuichi was still in high school, is the very book that made the young author a name in the publishing industry in Japan.

Obviously, the book is an average novel (that is, if you can call anything he writes average), not a light novel. However, because Otsuichi wrote the light novel “Calling You” and attempted to make “GOTH” a light novel, we are covering this novel.

However, there’s a bit of sadness for any fans of Otsuichi. The release date is September 21, 2010.

Besides the long wait, I am pleasantly pleased with Viz’s licensing decision and eagerly await the book’s eventual release.

Description of book’s contents: “Two short novels, including the title story and ‘Black Fairy Tale,’ plus a bonus short story. ‘Summer’ is a simple story of a nine-year-old girl who dies while on summer vacation. While her youthful killers try to hide the her body, she tells us the story—from the POV of her dead body—of the boys’ attempt to get away murder. ‘Black Fairy Tale’ is classic J-horror: a young girl loses an eye in an accident, but receives a transplant. Now she can see again, but what she sees out of her new left eye is the experiences and memories of its previous owner. Its previous deceased owner.”

Source: Simon and Schuster

December 16, 2009 at 10:52 am 1 comment

Light Novel Becomes New York Times Best Seller

So if there ever was any doubt regarding whether the New York Times considers a Light Novel a manga, it can be put to rest now. They do. Disregarding this ignorance regarding the difference between novels and comics, we can happily report that a light novel now (I’m not quite sure, could this be the first time this has happened?) has become a New York Times Best Selling book. Coming in at #10, Viz’s release, “Death Note: L, change the WorLd” has been a best seller for 5 weeks straight.

This is good news for the industry as a whole, and gives hope to fans of Shakugan no Shana of seeing Viz eventually release Volume 3. With the economy as it is, and Light Novels as small a niche as they are, seeing a New York Times Best Selling Light Novel is more than pleasing to the eyes.

The only remaining question is, will we see any more Light Novels make the list?

Discuss in the comments below this news, and whether or not you believe it right for the New York Times to include Light Novels in the Manga list of best sellers.

Source: The New York Times

December 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm 2 comments

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Welcome To Ranobe Cafe!

This marks the english speaking world's first dedicated light novel blog, bringing you news and views from the english perspective on light novels. We are more than just a blog about light novels though, we also stand in awe of the many other literary works crossing over to the West from Japan. So expect to also see articles that dabble from time to time in Cell Phone Novels and Japanese Sci-Fi works, to mention a few.

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