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Finally, a place where you can read official English-translated ranobe

The triad of legal anime- and manga- distribution websites has been completed with the launch of J-Novel Club

There are legal gateways for reading manga and watching anime but I have yet to see a similar service for light novels (also called ranobe, raito-noberu, so on and so forth). Until now.

What I’m going to share to you is as important as legit anime streaming/manga distribution sites. I would like to introduce you to J-Novel Club.

Just this Saturday, October 15th, J-Novel Club formally launches to the public, with Occultic;Nine and three other titles in their pilot lineup.

Who are their partners?

I obtained a press release about the service from Lauren (of Otaku Journalist — many thanks!), which has messages from its Japanese publisher partners Hobby Japan (HJ Bunko) and OVERLAP:

“It has been 10 years since we launched our light novel label here at Hobby Japan, with the theme of “Entertainment for Teenagers and up!” And on this anniversary it is our great pleasure to newly introduce our works to not only North America but to all of the English-speaking world. Together with J-Novel Club we are able to present these exciting books to readers around the world, and we sincerely wish you enjoy this new form of entertainment and take these stories to heart.” — HJ Bunko Editor in Chief Yoshihiko Udagawa

(For context, Hobby Japan has been partnering with overseas companies to spread its offerings, and among those companies is GreatToysOnline.)

“It is really exciting to be part of the launch of J-Novel Club. With its new business model of streaming timely English translations, J-Novel Club will enable people all around the world to read this new type of literature called ‘light novels.’ We sincerely wish that readers will take this opportunity to discover and enjoy new works on J-Novel Club.” — OVERLAP, Inc. President Katsuharu Nagata

For those living under a rock who are asking, “What are light novels?”:

Light novels, a type of Japanese novel targeting young adult audiences, have been enjoying a rise in popularity overseas alongside anime, video games, and manga.

So what is J-Novel Club for?

J-Novel Club will license the latest and greatest Light Novels from Japan, and release them in weekly installments for J-Novel Club Members on our website, j-novel.club and also on the J-Novel Club App for iOS and Android. When translations are finished, final collectible-quality e-books will be sold at all major e-book retailers like Amazon, Kobo, iBooks, and more.

The cover and first page of an LN title at J-Novel Club. This is the cover and first page for “My Big Sister Lives in a Fantasy World,” available on the website.

Does it have a membership price? What are the benefits?

J-Novel Club access will be only $4.50 a month for an annual membership, and gives you a new chapter a week from all of our series! We will be announcing at least 10 series and continuing to add to our lineup over the next few months. Members get access to a special members only forum for discussing the latest releases. There is also a Premium Membership option, which gives you a free premium e-book version of one of any book in our catalog each month, saving you 20% or more off the retail price, and nabbing you a special high quality e-book with hi-res images!

The annual US$4.50 membership fee is a good start — and considering the fact that the titles they distribute are official Worldwide English Digital Rights releases, J-Novel Club is music to the ears of light novel enthusiasts everywhere — even in the Philippines, where I checked this site out!

I hope you got excited with this great news, and hope to see you soon.