English Spice & Wolf Restores Horo, Almost

spicewolf_1-where-is-horo-1

Calling those fans who objected to its decision to scrap Horo in favour of a buck-toothed fantasy maiden “opinionated,” English Spice and Wolf publisher Yen Press has partly relented and now offers proper original covers to online retailers who choose to include them, though bookshop shelves will still be graced by something suitably generic.

Yen Press describe their solution to the problem of placating irate Horo fans whilst ignoring their demands and going ahead with their original plan unmolested:

It’s taken some time, but I wanted to thank everyone who bore with us while we worked through the approvals and notifications necessary to put our plan into action. I’m very happy to report that the behind-the-scenes machinations have been resolved, and we can now fill you in on what we’ve come up with!

In order to provide fans with an option to obtain the Spice and Wolf novels with the original light novel cover art, we have decided to do a special limited print run dust jacket (already under way) that we will offer for free to our online retailers.

Those online retailers who choose to participate in this offer will be shipped the flat (uncreased) jackets to make them available at no additional charge to anyone ordering copies of the novel through their sites.

This is strictly a voluntary offer being communicated now to our online retail partners, so be sure to verify participation with your retailer of choice when placing your orders if you are interested in receiving the jacket, the design for which you can see here:

spicewolfv1_jacket-prose

How difficult it must have been to include the original cover.

He goes on to attempt to placate the unreasonable souls who wanted Horo on the cover:

As we’ve said in the past, our customers are truly important to us. We do listen to your feedback and make every possible effort to insure that you are happy with our offerings.

While I am quite certain that not everyone will be satisfied with this solution for one reason or another, we are pleased to have been able to make these additional efforts on behalf of our Spice and Wolf fans, and we do not doubt for an instant that you will enjoy the book.

But not important enough for them to change the cover back to the overwhelmingly preferred original, it seems…

Spice and Wolf Vol. 1 is available for pre-order now, with release in mid-December.

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106 Comments

  • I own all the current Japanese novels because I collect and I like the art. I’ve already read all of them so I will not buy this for the sake of being a fan of Ayakura Ju.

    I grew up with an Asian family but in a western community, so I pronounce both kinds of words accordingly. Holo and Horo going by western pronounciations are both wrong, so seeing either won’t bother me too much.

    Also, I’m pretty sure light novels don’t do that well in the west because they aren’t a great number of widely available translated material. Japanese style manga nowadays sell better than Western style comic books, so won’t keeping the original covers be a better business choice?

  • I dont mind them changing the cover art for spice and wolf but that art is tarabol and missreprasents the story anyone that looked at it wood think oh god this is just another over sexulaized manga/novel and pass it over or pike up and deside its crap when horos not on her back in the firt five minits

  • I don’t like yen press that much. They have some good titles but I don’t like how they do things. They’re trying to market spice and wolf to a wider audience by leaving out the anime style art. I wonder if it’ll even work since it’s quite clear that most of their sales are gonna be coming from the otaku community.

  • As long as the spelling is how it is intended to be, I don’t mind how it is pronounced. This is not the first case where the name does not match how it is pronounced.

    Else, we’d be going anal over Yagami Light which is the correct spelling and Yagami Raito if we want the name to match how it was pronounced.

  • I would prefer that they start calling her “Horo” like the fans call her instead of calling her “Holo”. I won’t buy it no matter what’s on the cover if her name makes me think of trading cards every time I read it.

      • Wouldn’t be the first spelling mistake in anime. Besides the setting is german-speaking country and in german there isn’t such a thing als R-pronounced, but L-written. Stupid typo is stupid. They should have the balls to admit their mistake and not going on telling everybody this is how they intended to be her name all the time.

        WON’T BUY.

        • Damn straight. Also, I’m your clone from the future.

          Besides, authors do not directly deal with publishers overseas. The one disgracing Horo by giving her another name was in all likelihood some random dude that decided that’s how it should be.

          Makes no sense whatsoever, especially if one considers that Horo actually is the name of a god related to fertility in some language.

  • “Crapitalists” are ruining everything, everywhere.

    TV executives are a prime example of this. If a show doesn’t capture >50% of the available viewers it is normally cancelled after a season (unless it is a crappy cop show).

    I also blame this effect on the fact that most viewers, seem to be too stupid to cope with even a slightly complicated plot. This means that the producers have to have asinine plots with lots of explosions and gunfire. If it is supposed to be SciFi, they spend too much money on expensive CG or special effects.

    That is why Hollywood almost always fails when it tries to adapt a book, comic or movie. Now it seems like publishers are doing the same thing.

    lehnerus2000

  • Ugh, looks like a harlequin. I wouldn’t want to be caught dead with that in my hands.

    Every book retailer should add book covers their books like in Japan. I don’t want to be judged for anything I read, including books that have anime girls on the cover.

    • Damn them. I get the feeling they want Spice and Wolf to fail just to prove everyone that light novels won’t sell to western customers. What a pity. I would be willing to pay up to 15€ for this book. (Original Cover with Kanji and HORO, not holo).

      Damn them. May they burn in hell!

  • I don’t blame Yen Press for this problem. In the past, light novels have failed in the US because traditional mana readers don’t read novels. The only other route is to attempt to sell some novels to the traditional buyers of the genre each light novel belongs to.

  • Well, the solution’s simple then. I’m not buying it.

    I won’t support making something generic that shouldn’t be and wasn’t written to be, and I definitely won’t be supporting making Horo fugly.

    Find a new market, Yen Press.

  • horo nearly looks like a man on the cover…she’s fugly.

    I really enjoy light novels the haruhi ones for example are great as are the shakugan no shana ones. Theres a whole shitload of others that I would buy in a heart beat should they be released. Sadly Spice & Wolf will not be one of them.

    Trying to sell to an audience other than it is intended for definitely puts me off and I already know that because of this the light novel sale itself will fail and the sequels will never be made. It is because of this knowledge of understanding the way things works that I will not begin to buy a series that will never be fully released. The series failed the minute they caused disrespect to its true fans. It’s an economic light novel for g’s sake do they really think they will be able to attract people with this cover? Hell no. Not to mention I hold by belief that the cover character is fugly and really does look like a man almost. I will pass on this light novel.

  • It looks like that everyone forgets that Yen Press is trying to sell that cover to people who want the cover instead of the original one via their Yen Press Plus Magazine!? Why is it so difficult to give readers a choice between the two? Those who want the original give them the original cover/dust jacket and those who doesn’t care just buy the one with the “nude” cover. It looks like Yen Press’ plan didn’t work out afterall: just a few non-fans have ordered the light novel and the fans who bought the mangazine for the cover are just too few according YP’s plan. Now YP tries to set up a rescue plan: “let make us look generous by giving them the original cover anyway”. But the damage is already done; those who already have bought the YP+ magazine to get the original cover already receives the creased cover (right in the middle, very wisely folded, Yen Press!… Not!). And now they are coming with a solution which is the best solution in my opinion, but it comes too late for some, especially for those who already have bought the YP+ mag.

    Yes, it’s good that YP is trying to bring the light novels to the Western market, but their attitude towards the fans is disgusting: screwing them by letting them pay for the YP+ magazine for the cover, and then surprise them with a crease right in the middle of the Spice & Wolf’s artwork on the cover. I don’t know what will make people/fans more angry: let them pay and get that creased cover or let the late buyers get the original cover for free?

    In my opinion the whole thing is that light novels didn’t sell well not because the anime/manga-like covers, it’s more that light novels are really niche products in the US and the fact that people do not know of any novelist from Japan. Give me atleast 5 names of famous Japanese novelists, can you (without using google or wikipedia etc.)? So to cope with this problem in my opinion you have to inform the people with reviews & interviews on tv/in newspaper/magazine etc. and better marketing, commercials etc. etc.., but all these costs money. You can’t even find more info/details (biography e.g.) about the authors/mangakas on Yen Press’ site. I guess Yen Press is all about money and nothing more. “Yen” is a currency, you know.

    Also do not forget the fact that some of the box arts of console games are also butchered for the same very reasons. The Japanese artworks are ripped away and “enter” the “westernized” artworks. Do certain games sell better with a butchered boxart better or just the opposite happened? Well, here’s a new article about a similar matter: http://kotaku.com/5406137/europe-didnt-like-americas-mass-effect-2-box-art-either

    And for those who can not get the original cover, you can just print yourself that cover from above (http://www.sankakucomplex.com/wp-content/gallery/safe-misc/spicewolfv1_jacket-prose.jpg). The scan quality is not the best, but it’s better than nothing; the scale seems to be 1:1.

  • That cover is the stupidest thing. It's so perfect how they make a dust jacket to please the true audience of what they are releasing. They refuse to go any further than halfway for the people who will definitely buy the novel and are stubborn with a typical and stereotypical fantasy cover for the chance of attracting an unrelated audience that will never have light novels on their radar.

    Light novels belong next to manga and if they actually released the damn things instead of translating one book in a series per every two years and didn't just cancel everything before it was complete, then maybe more anime and manga fans would pay attention to light novel releases.

    And all the changes they were willing to make to the cover have be worried they are going to westernize the translation to further help draw in their "hopeful" audience. I don't care what they say about their intentions or how accurate it's going to be. Their actions speak louder than their idiotic rhetoric.

    Publishers need to stop trying to "fix" light novels and need to just release them without all the B.S. The day they give us good and COMPLETE translations of a series will be the day we see light novels truly take off.

    • “Publishers need to stop trying to “fix” light novels and need to just release them without all the B.S. The day they give us good and COMPLETE translations of a series will be the day we see light novels truly take off.”

      Hahaha, I hope you’re not being serious there. Light novels will never truly take off. It’s a niche market even among the already niche market of anime and manga fandom here in the US. To think otherwise is to be delusional.

      Now, that being said, I agree that it’s a stupid decision to change the cover since they simply are not going to get anyone but those who like anime and manga interested in light novels. Changing the cover obviously alienated a big part of what should be their core target audience.

      • I’m not saying it will go beyond a niche market. But niche markets can still be successful and reliable. Light novels can “take off” and not be the flunky market they are right now if a solid product was put forth.

        But to do that, publishers need to stop hampering that market with half-hearted releases and stop having the insane nerve to blame frustrated consumers when sales are low. They need to stop leashing it and alienating the only audience it’s ever going to have.

        It’s not going to miraculously overtake manga or anything, but I do think that light novels can go a lot further than they are right now.

        Don’t underestimate niche markets. The same things that make you say that you “hope I’m not being serious” is the same logic that makes publishers put weak efforts behind their products.

        And that never creates profits. If you don’t have confidence in your product, don’t even bother. Leave it to someone who will actually give consumers what they want and stop hurting the market.

  • I’m happy that they finally decided to do this. But I’m not sure how it affects me, as I already pre-ordered the book from Amazon. I hope Amazon includes the slip cover, does anyone know if they will? And if they’ll include it with those that already pre-ordered?

    • Try contacting them. If they know what is going on they may offer the cover or a refund. If not then let them know and they might contact Yen Press to find out what is going on and try and fix it.

    • Also, light novels, unlike novels, tend to have illustrations. Generally anyway.

      Other than that, it’s more or less similar to a novel. Only with less content. There’s a reason why it’s called ‘light’ novel.

    • Basically, light novels have a huge crossover with anime and manga, for one. A LOT of manga and anime were originally light novels, including Haruhi Suzumiya, Read or Die, Tordora, Kurenai, Kino’s Journey, Full Metal Panic, and Shakugan no Shana.

      Light novels are typically serialized – just like manga – before being put together into novel form, and are also illustrated. The illustrations aren’t always numerous, but this is a key distinction most of the time.

      For the most part, though, a light novel is meant to imply lighter reading. They tend to be equivalent to novellas in length, use easier to read language, and are usually written with teens or young adults in mind. Light novels tend to be very brief. When you read them, you can tell why they work so easily into manga and anime.

      • My understanding is that the original term was used to distinguish heavy scifi from lighter fantasy works (sort of how “shoujo” and “shounen” meant whether it was published in a girls’ or boys’ magazine before everyone decided it meant stuff that matched the stereotype of things found in such magazines)

        Nowadays, though, I think you’re pretty much right on the mark. I’d add that many of the light novels are heavy on dialog, and heavy on using internal monologue for exposition (3rd person psychic POV).

  • I hate hearing the logic that their “Westernized” cover will bring a larger audience into light novels. Bottom line: It won’t, and it’s flipping a middle finger for any established fans of the series or of anime or manga.

    Light novels have a crossover audience from manga and anime fans and a LARGE amount of them would be very happy reading light novels. As a few have said in the comments, the problem with light novels are not the novels themselves. The covers aren’t making them bad. The update schedules are horrendous.

    No publishers are willing to take a chance. Boogiepop died. Kino still has only one volume. Some of the best light novels are still completely untranslated. I have no idea how Haruhi Suzumiya, Toradora, or Read or Die have never had any official translations yet. And I’m still waiting for Case of the Dragon Slayer after it mysteriously was never released.

    Low sales doesn’t mean there is no audience. Light novels have never been focused on so of course sales will be low! They were never given a chance to take off and every time they release some, they get a very good niche following, but it’s not NY Times bestsellers, so they give up.

    Most people don’t know light novels are out there and here’s the wonderful catch-22 that causes it: When publishers curtail novel releases and let a series die before it’s finished or just take three years to translate one book, then they just hurt their market even more. That market has releases at a trickle and people start ignoring it. And they see low sales margins and stop releasing, thinking there’s no market. When they themselves shrunk that market first.

    They can trumpet their cover experiment all they want, but they’re ignoring an established audience and they’re worrying more about appearances than they are about the materials they are translating. And, being completely frank, the “Western” cover is a turn-off whether it’s actually light novel or not. It’s too typical. I would pass right over it with the rest of the crap in the fantasy section.

    But what does it matter? American companies have been screwing over light novels for years. Why should I expect any different now?

    • A-freakin’-men.

      People sometimes underestimate the niche market of anime, anyway..

      There are a _lot_ of borderline, non diehard anime fans who may still not know who Haruhi is, but just kind of take a second look at anything anime-like because it’s anime-like, even if they know or own rather little of it.

      These are the sort of people who’s eyes easily bypass the generic porn novel look of this new cover, but would have looked at the original cover, and probably either recognized it for what it was, or just given it a chance.

      So while actual ‘anime fans’ may be smaller in scope, there’s still a lot of people who actually would have been intrigued a bit by the original cover as opposed to turned off.

      Trust me, I know the type, and they’re everywhere.

      Anyway, the whole issue really is sad.. One of the reasons why fans of something buy the localizations of media they like is just to have it on their shelves, as these days subs/translations/piracy are so fast and easy that they’ve probably already read or watched them.

      Thus, when a localized version of a product has ugly cover or packaging, it kind of kills one of the main reasons some people would have wanted to buy it.

    • Actually, the first two Haruhi novels have been officially translated in English. Haven’t read the second book, but the translation of the first is perfectly reasonable. That being said, I agree with everything else stated in your post.

  • Neutral_Eyes says:

    Still not satisfied. They only addressed the people who were irritated with paying for their magazine to get a dust cover, not those disgusted with the very choice of cover.

    My pre-order remains cancelled. I hope their decision works out for them. Sadly, I believe it’ll do the opposite and we’ll end up with another shitcanned English light novel series.

  • I’m now torn over whether to buy this or not. I do need something else to read and it’s cheap enough, but the cover is UGLY (ugly enough to actually put me off), so I’d have to be very sure that the version I get has the dust cover.

    Is it really good? It’ll need to be for me to consider it.

  • Honestly speaking, an animated cover would sell less than one with a more human look.

    That’s why the phrase “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” is so popular. Most would pass it off as “childish” by the cover alone being a drawing.

  • Yeah, what Yen Press did was… unfortunate. But there’s really no helping it; light novels don’t sell at all in the West, so it’s either do shit like this or not bring them over here… At least YP has much better adaptations than most of the industry IIRC; if Tokyopop had pulled this, they’d definitely incur my wrath as well.

    If it has a dust jacket, I’d be satisfied; it’s not like the dust jackets ever come off of my imported manga =/

  • this is just idiotic. what the hell are they thinking replacing horo on the cover page with that? now i wonder if the english translation of the book will be much deviated from the original meaning in japanese. if they can go so far as to replace the cover art with this, the translation of the texts might go in the way that they like instead of the original meaning in the book. i will not expect much of the book, and it will be even a miracle if it sells well.

    • What’s so hard to understand? They aren’t translating these books for the entertainment of the handful anime-nerds who would buy them, they are trying to earn money, and they do that by going after a much bigger group of customers of young (fantasy) readers.
      In any case, most of the people nerdraging is just venting hot air, they would’ve never bought the stuff in the first place, and out of the anime-nerds who actually bought it, most of them will still stand in line for their copy no matter what cover it has.

      • You go after a larger group by not calling yourself Yen Press if you want to go there.

        A lot of people like things as original as possible, that does not qualify. Offer both versions not a fucking dust jacket on a paperback…

    • I have to agree with them, most people dont know what anime or manga, or even what a light novel is. It’s probably best to use that crappy romance novel cover to at least get people to consider it.

      • And then see the anime style art on the inside and be like “No thanks, I don’t like anime”

        It’s like when Marvel tried selling Spider Man to manga fans by taking old comics from the 80’s and slapping a fresh new Manga-like cover on it. I opened it, realized the cover did not reflect the interior and put it away.

        If I had seen this on the shelf at my local barnes and noble, I would not look at it. Even though I AM interested in reading the story. So this cover they created to bring in new readers alienates the readers they already have.

        • light novels are good, more indepth and descriptive, anime are good too – voice, colors and action

          but just because you guys arn’t motivated enough to read dosent mean light novels are bad, many animes exist now because their light novel originals were a big hit, (fmp, spice n wolf, bakemonogatari, nogizaka haruka, suzumiya, darker than black, seitokai, these are just off my head)

          and all the eroges you play are actually visual “novels”

        • If light novel series like Full Metal Panic were actually officially translated in a timely fashion maybe then people would read them more, especially in the case where the anime hasnt been made yet. I’ve read all the FMP novels that have been released since it was nicely fan-translated, and while I was very happy for that, they could do with some editing. Mind you, I’m really grateful that someone actually took the time to translate it and it’s much better than nothing (just another reason for me to yell at KyoAni to get their assets in gear and make me some more FMP seasons)! Either way, light novels are nice, fast reads, but since people read at the speed of light, well…I guess it’s just too short for them.

  • LyricDawnhagen says:

    Talk about trying to latch on the coattails of the current pop sensation. When I saw the cover, the first thought that went through my mind was

    “Ah. Just another werewolf story to tie in with the new Twilight movie.”

    When I read that it was Horo… I was shocked. Very lame Yen Press. Zero points for the attempt.

  • Hey Artefact, if they’re releasing the book three weeks from now, there would probably be no way to change the actual cover of the book without printing a whole new stock at a huge loss to the publisher. Would you really ask them to do that? Look, I hate the current cover a lot, but I’m also happy that Yen Press is willing to make concessions to its dedicated readers. Most publishers couldn’t care less.

  • Well at least they launched the dust jacket, if they would’ve wanted, they would simply have ignored you, like many of u already said they just want money as averybody, maybe people who don’t know anime, if they see the cover they could think its just a comic, I agree with that part, ignorance is bad

  • If changing the covers and whatnot means that light novels can make more money and become more easily sold here in the US, then I’m all for it. After all, aren’t we supposed to not judge a book by its cover? I mean, I’ll admit that the Yen Press cover is pretty bad, but I’ve seen worse. Way worse. Various shitty “hoodlyfe” books that my mom seems to absolutely love come to mind. Also, Twilight.

    Also, I’d really love to see enough light novels coming into the US that they get their own section of shelf next to manga… Mainly so that idiots don’t say “Lolol wutfux y dis magna dusnt hav piczzz??????? imma reed sum naurto”. This has actually happened, and it’s fucking terrible.

    • I don’t really care for the cover, as I don’t see it while reading. But always reading Holo instead of the correct Horo would make me furious anytime and I couldn’t enjoy reading the book, so I won’t buy unless Horo is written with R.

  • I seriously have no issue with them using a new cover. I mean do we really care as long as they don’t screw with the book itself?

    Its just an attempt to expand the audience for the novel.

    I don’t think it will work, but I don’t care if they try.