J-Novel Club has announced today that a majority stake of the publisher has been acquired by Kadokawa. In the future, J-Novel Club will work together with Kadokawa group company Bookwalker to further grow the English speaking light novel market. J-Novel Club has provided further details in their press release below.
(SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS – April 27, 2021) – J-Novel Club, (J-Novel Club LLC, Headquarters San Antonio Texas, President and Founder Samuel Pinansky) is proud to announce that as of today, a majority stake in J-Novel Club has been acquired by Kadokawa (Kadokawa Corporation, Headquarters Tokyo Chiyoda-ku, Representative Director Masaki Matsubara).
Founded in 2016, J-Novel Club pioneered a digital first strategy for publishing Japanese light novels, combining a self-developed subscription service for reading the latest chapters as soon as they are translated from Japan with fast and consistent publishing of digital e-books. This strategy has created a strong and growing reader base for this content in the English speaking world, and has enabled J-Novel Club to show strong year-over-year growth for all of its nearly five year history.
At the same time, Kadokawa group company Bookwalker (BOOK☆WALKER Co.,Ltd., Headquarters Tokyo) has focused on growing the sales of digital books in the English speaking world, and desires to increase the number of works published using this digital first strategy. Together with Yen Press, LLC, jointly owned between the Kadokawa group and Hachette Book Group (Headquarters, New York), Kadokawa believes strongly in the effective synergy that will be created through this acquisition, and will continue to move to strengthen their publishing business across all distribution channels and methods.
Moving forward, J-Novel Club and Bookwalker will work together by leveraging Bookwalker’s English-language platform BOOK☆WALKER Global, as well as the marketing potential of their subsidiary, internet influencer talent agency GeeXPlus, toward growing the size of the English speaking world’s light novel market even further.
With regards to this announcement, Founder and future Managing Director of J-Novel Club Samuel Pinansky, Bookwalker CEO Ichiro Hashiba, and Yen Press Publisher and Managing Director Kurt Hassler had these comments:
Samuel Pinansky (J-Novel Club)
“Since I founded J-Novel Club five years ago, the company has grown from essentially a one-man operation to publishing over 250 titles a year. In order to guarantee our future growth, I needed a strong partner, and I’ve found one in Bookwalker as well as Kadokawa. The possibilities for light novels to spread more and more throughout the world are nearly endless, and I’m sure that with this partnership we will be able to publish more and more of the content from not only our publishing partners we have worked with so far, but even more of the publishers and content creators we haven’t even started with yet! I can’t wait to get started.”
Ichiro Hashiba (Bookwalker)
“J-Novel Club was started around the same time as Bookwalker Global opened its services, and ever since we have cooperated in expanding the light novel market around the world. I’m very happy that with this new partnership, we can continue working together even more strongly toward the future. Going forward, we would like to contribute to Japanese publishers by way of spreading Japanese light novels to the rest of the world.”
Kurt Hassler (Yen Press)
“When Yen Press launched its light novel imprint, Yen On, in 2014, it represented a monumental shift in the availability and subsequent awareness of light novels among English-speaking audiences. What followed shattered all expectations, and JNC has since become a significant contributor in helping to fuel that expansion. We look forward to seeing how their partnership with BW unfolds and exploring opportunities to further broaden the market.”