Our blogger looks at mass market fiction and explains why we need to publish more light novels and paperbacks. Wouldn't it be nice if books were cheap and literally available everywhere? When I lived in Japan, books were everywhere. Every little mom-and-pop convenience store has at least a small book section. And, it wasn't just for Mills & Boon. You had comics (Manga), novels, serialized short story magazines, some others stuff best not mentioned, and you always had some popular Light Novels. When I go to the gas station store now, I see several magazines, a machine renting DVDs, and literally not a single book. Light Novels, Young Adult Fiction, Paperbacks: A Comparison. What Can We Learn? I believe that if more pulp fiction were published, it could revitalize the children's/young adult book market and beyond. Theses books could turn young readers into lifelong readers. I decided to look at the formats of mass-produced books and how they should be used. 1. What Are Light Novels? 1. Light Novels (LN) are short books that are about 50 000 words in length. Isekai is an example of a light novel. 2. They are almost exclusively published in Japan (and Asia), but are available in English as ebooks or, if you are willing to wait, as paper books. 3. Their target audience is 14 years and older.
2. They are published mostly with the age demographic of 12-18 in mind.
They are published regularly, usually at 6-9 month intervals. 4. Often, individual chapters are published monthly in serialized magazines (typically in six parts) and then collected in a book for publication. 5. These books are almost always illustrated. 6. Light Novels cost about 650 yen or $6. 2. What Are Young Adult Novels? 1. Young Adult (YA) novels are books that are 55-80 000 words long. 2. They are published mostly with the age demographic of 12-18 in mind. 3. Young Adult novels at the time of writing cost about $15. Publishers like Scholastic are doing a good job. They opt for a series of short books, and publish often. The popular series, Animorphs was 54 books in total, published over a five-year period. A child who started this series would be able to finish it before they graduated high school. These books often have more than one author, or are written by a team of ghost writers. These books are frequently illustrated. Due to the intense age targeting it is rare to find many examples of these books being enjoyed by older readers.
3. What Are Paperbacks?
However, most of the books published in this genre are not like these. Harry Potter, for example, does not fit this serialized model. Neither does The Hunger Games. They are more expensive. 3. What Are Paperbacks? Paperbacks come in two varieties. These are pocket friendly books that are usually a reprint of a popular Hardcover book. They are made assuming that they will sell well and that they are disposable. As such, they are made with glue bindings and paper covers. They tend to age poorly. They cost $10-$15 for a 300-page book. Trade Paperbacks are a bigger, more durable paper-covered book. They are often printed to sell a book at trade fairs. They have also become a popular format as a cheaper alternative to hard covers. Both: Paperbacks are usually not illustrated. They are the most popular form of book at about 60% of the book market, including audiobooks, but not ebooks. Books don't sell as well as they used to because we have made it difficult to buy them.
Unless you live in a big city, you probably have to order your books.
Light Novels (in Japan) sell around 30 million copies yearly. Given the population of the US (327 million, increasing) vs. Japan (126 million, decreasing), one would expect that YA novels should sell about 100 million copies a year. So why don't they? If I want to buy a book on a whim, I have to drive to a book store. I have to check if they have the one I want. Be disappointed that they don't. Go home. Check on Amazon. Decide if I want to wait for it to be delivered, or if I would rather just read an ebook, or listen to an audiobook. This also requires I have an iPad or Kindle. While I like reading ebooks, many people complain that it hurts their eyes or that it is annoying to have to keep your device charged. Why aren't there pop-up book-stands in malls that catch your eye with the latest releases? Why not have books next to the sweets or at the tills in grocery stores? It's becoming more and more difficult to find a good book store as they downsize or close altogether. Unless you live in a big city, you probably have to order your books. The new YA novel, So This is Love is the most wished for book on Amazon, and, as I write, it costs $18.
I am not surprised the YA industry does not sell as many books as it should. Light novels are $6 so it's easy to justify picking up a new book when you pop into the convenience store. At 50 000 words it should also keep an average reader occupied for at least a few days. This type of book fits nicely in your hand and it is not heavy. YA novels are longer at 80 000 words, but at $18 they are often a luxury purchase. Strangely, ebooks are often more expensive than Mass Market Paperbacks. I stopped reading Animorphs and other YA fiction when I turned 19. I feel uncomfortable going into the children's section as an adult and even more uncomfortable reading fiction that is so obviously targeted at only one age demographic. I don't feel that way with light novels. In Japanese books stores, I commonly found LN being read by working-aged people. Light novels are still obviously mostly for young adults, but with the huge variety (80 published in January alone) I would not have a problem finding something to read. 12-18 will alienate fewer readers. Publishing is not the mammoth industry it once was, but it has survived. People have been buying more physical books recently.
39;t want to spend money printing something that might not sell.
Juvenile fiction is growing every year. Children want to read more than adults, and we should exploit this. But, publishers and booksellers are too scared to take the risk. They don't want to spend money printing something that might not sell. Here's the thing though. If you treat every book as a risk, you will never be able to find a market for it. Publish 10 books cheaply, make them available, and you will find one or two that take off. 1. Do this regularly and you have an audience that expects constant new books to read rather than at random intervals. 2. Do this well and you will have young people reading a 54-book series who are buying a new book every week. 3. Do this poorly and you will have a publishing industry that is on Harry Potter to carry entire companies. What Is The Solution? Imagine if something as popular as Harry Potter were broken up into short books? Kids could read them on the bus to school or during breaks. You could sell 100 a year to the least bookish child.
39;t understand why this has died down in the West.
15 years ago, you could walk into any book store and pick up pulp fiction paperbacks cheaply. Online book sales and piracy problems did not make reading any less popular or profitable. It did scare publishers who did know how to move with the times. This led to a decline in physical book sales in the West. Other places, like Japan, have made reading into a collector's game. Books are themed, brightly colored, and sold as if they have expiry dates. This appeals to children who love to collect things. I don't understand why this has died down in the West. Surely, any child would want copies of their books on their bookshelves and not on a tablet? This is a picture of a second hand book store in Japan with four floors. Why can't we have this in the West, Publishers? Most western countries are as wealthy as Japan and no less interested in reading. There is clearly money in this. So, get back to work and make book stores less boring.
When she was hit on in her first appearance on the series she refused with a lot of sass.
Scott Shelly ( Hangul:셸리 ) is one of the female protagonists in the webtoon. She begins a one-sided relationship with Jay at the start of the series but as the story progress they have a mutual crush on each other and as of chapter 378 they are in a relationship. Shelly is the only female member of the Humming Bird Crew. Because she stayed at England before coming to Korea her personality is perceived as very headstrong. She does not like it when people talk badly about her friends, especially Jay. Shelly also has a lot of stamina and strength, she can keep up with the group's pace when racing and can actually send people flying with her punch (Although that may be for comedic reasons) but never got into the street fights with the guys of the crew. When she was hit on in her first appearance on the series she refused with a lot of sass. Mia described her as someone who can confidently express her thoughts and feelings. Although her words are harsh, it is because she never sugar coated her words with her friends. And with Jay, Shelly is very clingy and flirtatious. She has very foreign features: pale skin, her eyes actually look more mint green in color than blue, blond wavy hair. It is known later in the series that she has a tattoo in the side of her arm near the wrist that reads out "temet nosce" or "Know Thyself". At school she wears her uniform usually without the red vest and both wears the skirt and pants.
She is often seen wearing high-end brand clothing, but also occasionally wearing street wear and tomboyish clothes. When riding her bike, she usually wears a jacket and helmet with the same color as her eyes or the Hummingbird crew's hood. She is tall, with long thin legs, a small waist and a bigger bust. Not much is known about Shelly, but it is established that she is from England and she requested to transfer to Sunny High School because of Jay. It was told in an early episode (Ep. 27) that she will be in Korea for one semester. Shelly is the granddaughter of Sunny High School's principal, Nick. When Shelly was a kid, she didn't want to get married and promised Nick that she will just live with him forever, which caused Nick to think that Shelly is not interested to guys until she got interested in Jay. That also caused the over protectiveness of her grandfather. Jay saw what happened and chased the thieves to get her purse back. She refused on taking him to the hospital but Jay refused. She picked up his student ID that had fallen to the ground and, motivated by her encounter with Jay, called her grandfather, asking him to let her attend Sunny High School. Her second meeting with Jay was in their classroom. She kissed him out of the blue and the gossip that Shelly and Jay were in a relationship quickly spread around the school.