Yen Press shocked a lot of people with their heavy move into light novels earlier this year, but those that have paid attention to the company and especially it’s publishing director, Kurt Hassler, likely saw that this was part of the overall roadmap for the company. With Hassler having originally come from the book retail side of the industry, there’s a stronger connecting to know what sells. And there’s also the awareness of trends online and with fans, particularly as more and more anime properties are coming from light novel sources.
In a new interview conducted with Deb Aoki, the publisher has revealed some interesting things along with several new licenses for next year.
“Our original plan with Yen On was to publish 24 titles in 2015, so two per month,” Hassler said. “However, our initial success and our confidence in this material has already prompted us to take a more aggressive approach. We will definitely be increasing our output well over 24 light novels next year.”
Hassler goes on to cite that Sword Art Online: Aincrad has gone on to sell over 30,000 copies since its release in April – an even more impressive fact when you consider that there are ongoing distribution/sales issues with Amazon and that there is no digital version of it, which a lot of younger fans are more likely to go with.
“Anything new can be met with a certain degree of skepticism,” said Hassler. “Ten to 14 years ago, though, manga was no different. Because of the preexisting awareness built in with the manga fans and the fact that there are often companion manga series to so many of these light novel titles, we’re advising stores to shelve the books with their manga for now, and that seems to be working quite well. I don’t think it’s a stretch to imagine that in the not too distant future light novels could command their own sections in stores.”
Yen Press also announced several new and very welcome light novel properties that will be coming in 2015 along with tentative dates for them. In their announcement, similar to previous announcements, they did not talk about how many volumes they’ve licensed for each series. We’ve provided a selection of covers below but purely for folks to peruse and see the character artwork from the original Japanese volumes.
Log Horizon – March 2015: “Elder Tale” is a long-established and popular online game: but the day in which was introduced the 12th expansion pack, 30,000 Japanese users have been confined to the world of the game. In the world that is a fusion of reality and the game, our hero Siloe begins his fight from the city of Akiba.
Pandora Hearts: Caucus Race
No Game No Life – April 2015: In the gaming world, there is an urban legend, about [ ] who manages to become the best player and beat every single game in the world. No one knows how [ ] looks like nor know about his identity. In reality, [ ] is a team formed by 2 person, who are both Hikikomori, NEET, social outcast, and otaku, namely Sora and Shiro. Sora the older brother, is good at reading people hearts but deemed worthless compared to his sister. Shiro the little sister, is a genius but incapable of understanding people hearts. Together, they became [ ] and became the world greatest gamer. One day, they’re invited by a god from another world, and upon accepting it, they’re transferred into world where everything is decided by simple games, from just playing to passing between borders. In this world, Imanity the human race is left only with one city as it’s last territory, and with no king as well! will Sora and Shiro be able to save Imanity from it’s destruction?
The Devil Is a Part-Timer – April 2015: Devil King Sadao is only one step away from conquering the world when he is beaten by Hero Emilia and forced to drift to the other world: modern-day Tokyo. As “conquering the world” are the only skills the Devil King possesses – and are obviously unnecessary in his new situation – he must work as a freeter to pay for his living expenses!
[Source: Publishers Weekly ]