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.
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?
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?