Just a note that to some readers this post could come across as rather dry. There’s some statisticky (is that a word?) bits to come in the next blog post (which should be posted in an hour or two) if that’s more the sort of thing you are interested in.
I am posting this blog post at the time which is midnight at the start of 26th May 2015 in Japan. That means that it is precisely one year ago that the first week covered in what would become my light novel release log began, although the actual first post wasn’t made until a little over 3 days later, once the weekly sales thread on MAL’s news club had been posted.
The original idea wasn’t actually for a record of what was coming out when. Indeed the list itself was a by-product – my main objective was to keep a record of amazon rankings the day before the start of the week, for comparison to the sales data from Oricon, to see how much of a correlation there was between the two.
But, as the impracticalities of this approach came to light and the ways of making the process easier or more effective failed badly*, the emphasis switched to the light novels themselves. I stopped working through the rankings, instead using some of this time to linking to the series’ MAL page so people unfamiliar with Japanese or the series itself could follow through on the link. From 30th June I did this for every volume with a MAL entry.
The next big shift happened when I started this wordpress site. One of my main motivations for making this place was actually to be able to put all the releases up in a way that was more clearly visible. I decided at the same time to change the format of the posts – instead of listing every release together, I grouped them by light novel label, and ordered these by release date. The light novel volumes within each label were still ordered by the order they were listed on Amazon.
This created a problem, though – what to do with those books that were included in amazon’s light novel list but which weren’t listed under a recognisable label? Or that were published by a label that was in no way a light novel one but had somehow ended up on the light novel list anyway? I had always included these before, so I couldn’t just stop, but now there was for them to go. So I made a special category for these releases on the News Club, and left them out altogether on the blog, which had no history in hosting them in the first place.
Given that I was already differentiating between the two, I also decided to only name the labels for the adult light novels on the blog, rather than listing each title individually. I’m not entirely sure why. Perhaps it’s because some of the titles are rather lewd and I didn’t really want people to end up on here who were looking for porn.
At the same time I started putting romaji versions of titles, rather than linking to their MAL entries. The list itself was no being posted exclusively on MAL, and it was easier to just see the title than to follow it through.
It wasn’t all taking away things for the blog post version, though, as I added the English releases section. No English language Amazon has a light novel section (they seem to think that light novels are a type of manga more often than not – either that or children’s books), so I generally used (and indeed still do use) englishlightnovels.com to find out about any light novels that I wasn’t personally interested in, and then double checking the dates on various retailer websites.
I also switched back to posting the list on a Monday – another advantage of doing it on your own site rather than posting it on sales threads meant that I no longer had to post the releases halfway through the week.
This state continued until the News Club stopped updating at the start of February, with my last post of releases on there being for w/c 26th January 2015. I didn’t realise that this had happened at first, so I prepared the News Club version, only for the thread to never be posted.
For the week of 23rd February I altered the blog post by adding the unknown label/not a light novel list, to account for the fact that there was no longer a place to post them elsewhere. Unfortunately this means there are three weeks for which this section of the data is not listed, and as such the lists are not fully complete. Not that they would have been anyway… (see the top of the following blog post for details)
Other than a slight change to how I get together the data (which makes it far easier but does mean that I routinely need to update the post for one week when I come to make the next), re-reclassifying one label as an adult label, and my fluctuating efforts to increase MAL’s coverage of light novel titles (I submit the light novel on MAL, and then add the title I just submitted to the week’s release list), nothing much has changed since then. This is probably a good thing, as too many changes would just make it less usable.
*Quite spectacularly in some cases – for instance the basic scraper I came up with that should have worked on request through the next 100 light novel releases on Amazon Japan** instead ended up trying to go through every single book on the entire website, didn’t give me the info I was actually after, and then crashed after about quarter an hour.
***I thought at the time that 100 would be high enough to always cover all the light novel releases for the week. It turns out this was wrong.