Free Light Novels! Wait…Huh?
As we all know, light novels, like manga, aren’t exactly cheap. Some are the same price as manga, others cost more. If you’re an aficionado of any kind of translated media like anime, manga, and videogames, you know that the price can be higher than most of the domestic releases of similar media.
I don’t mind paying the eight to ten dollars for light novels every once in a while, especially if it’s for a light novel that I really love. It’s only after buying the third and fourth volume that you’ll begin to realize that this is going to be an expensive habit.
So what do you do about it? You cut your costs. You don’t have to stop buying light novels altogether, but there are ways that you can curve your spending and still enjoy all the light novels that you love.
For me, Google Books has been a big help in locating the light novels that I like and a few I’ve never even knew were published. In my library right now are more light novels than I ever expected to find. They may only be limited previews, but there are enough pages available for reading to help me decide if it’s a title that I want to purchase in the future. So far, I’ve found Hiroshi Ohnogi’s Rahxephon, Hideyuki Kikuchi’s Dark Wars: The Tale of Meiji Dracula, issue one of FAUST, and NisiOisin’s Zaregoto and XXXholic: Anotherholic. Google Books is supposed to continually add books to their library, so I’m interested in seeing what other titles will appear in the future.
I’ve learned to never underestimate the power of a preview. Previews serve as a way to help us decide if we want to buy the light novel or not, and they can keep you entertained if you just want to read a light novel without paying anything. Many publishers will post light novel previews online for you to read. The best previews are the ones that you can download and read at any time without having to return to the publisher’s site. The pdf versions of previews are surprisingly long. I’ve read light novel previews of “Haruhi,” “The Ballad of a Shinigami,” “The Guin Saga,” and many others.
Fan translations have always been a good way for anyone to read a light novel for free. A lot of the light novels that are translated are novels that may never make an official debut in America. Baka-Tsuki and Shoku Dan are just two places that I’ve been able to find some light novel translations. Be sure to give those a try. However, please keep in mind that fan translations often differ in quality. Do not mistake a poor translation for ‘bad writing’ on the author’s part. These translations serve primarily as a substitute for the lacking official translations. And we highly hope that if you enjoy a fan translation that you will attempt to order the Japanese copy or eventual official English translation to support the series. Fan translations are not an excuse to not pay money for the novel.
Just like any avid manga reader camped out in the manga section of the bookstore, you too can go to your favorite bookstore and read all of the light novels you want. The fast-paced writing style lends itself well to this kind of reading because you can usually finish a light novel in one sitting.
If you’re really hardcore about light novels, you can definitely find them online, scanned, and in their rawest form, untranslated Japanese. Even if you’re just semi-proficient with the language, you should still be able to enjoy some of your favorite titles in the raw. Run a search on your favorite titles and see if you can find what you’re looking for. Please keep in mind however that the above is technically by law illegal. You are reading scanned books. Please be sure to buy the novel off of the Japanese Amazon website or through a local Japanese book store or Market if you enjoy it. Use light novel Raws as a preview method only, and not as a way to get out of paying.
Have any more suggestions on how we can read light novels for free? Share them with us! Leave a comment below.
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