What is a Japanese Light Novel?

You might have heard of a genre called light novel while watching anime, but how does it differ from novels and manga? Let’s examine this genre more closely.

Description of a Light Novel

The name light novel applies to any type of publication which targets teenagers and young adult readers. Like the manga, or Japanese comics, they also contain illustrations using the same art style in most manga, and the size of each volume is classified as a “bunkobon,” which has measurements of 105 mm x 148 mm. They also have the same qualities that will classify them as novellas, but most of them have less than 300 pages, not enough to classify them as full-length novels. So why is it called a light novel if it is a novella?

Translation of Light Novel

The name light novel is the closest English translation of the name “wasei-eigo.” The words wasei-eigo literally means Japanese-made English, a characteristic that describes the tendencies of most light novels to have words written in kanji, a syllabary used to spell borrowed foreign words. Others even refer to it as raito noberu, rainobe, and ranobe, which are all borrowed from the English words light novel. The light novel, therefore, means a Japanese novella. Some of these light novels are also in English instead of Japanese to appeal to a wider range or readers.

Light Novel and Novel

If that is the case then light novels are not like novels, because they are shorter and contain more illustrations than most novels produced by English writers. They might look like manga at first glance, but instead of panels and speech bubbles, the story is told with the use of both continuous texts and interspersed with illustrations in monochrome or colored pages. So why do they look like manga? The light novels are also closely tied up to pulp magazines in the 1970s, which practiced placing illustrations at the beginning of each story. The most popular serials (or the series of episodes with one overarching story or common character) were later printed into novels.

Light Novel and Manga

The spines of the light novel series will look like those of any manga series to make them easier to find on the shelves. They are also classified based on the age bracket of the target audience and themes. Light novels, however, are not like manga even if they share a lot of common features. Some light novels are even adapted into manga and some manga series have light novel counterparts and spinoffs. A few light novel titles are also adapted from live-action movies or TV series and anime.

Light Novels to Read

Here are some of the best light novels you should check out:

  1. Legendary Moonlight Sculptor
  2. Utsunomiko
  3. Tokyo Ravens
  4. Guin Saga
  5. Legend of the Galactic Heroes
  6. Majutsushi Orphen
  7. Record of Lodoss War
  8. Saiunkoku Monogatari
  9. Arslan Senki
  10. Kino no Tabi

4 Book Havens for Bookworms

Books are a delightful past time. In a pinch, they can also make for great gifts to give to friends and loved ones. There are a lot of bookshops here in SG, some of them large and well-known, some of them small and niche. Here are some of them.

1. BooksActually
BooksActually has a large selection with a lot of different genres that you could choose from. Their selection ranges from popular literary works, to obscure rare editions. Home to the largest collection of Singapore literary titles, you could be sure that every bookworm has something for them. Even if you don’t find anything that interests you, those in the mood for adventure will delight in their book vending machines, where you can let fate decide on what book you’ll be reading today.

BooksActually is located at 9 Yong Siak Street and is open on Sundays and Mondays from 10 am to 6 pm, and on Tuesdays to Saturdays from 10 am to 8 pm.

2. Kinokuniya
Kinokuniya is the biggest bookstore here in Singapore, usually attracting more than 200,000 visitors per month. They stock books from many genres, from fiction to non-fiction. They also have magazines, CDs, and stationaries. Starting out as a Japanese bookstore in 1983, Kinokuniya still carries Japanese merchandise until today; fans of Japanese culture can find Japanese books, stationery and magazines here in Kinokuniya.

Kinokuniya has four locations: Ngee Ann City, Liang Court, Bugis Junction, and JEM.

3. Times Bookstore
Times Bookstore is another major book retail chain here in SG. They offer books on a wide selection and specialize in travel books like guidebooks, travel maps, and travel-related items. Those who want to immerse themselves in the literary scene of Singapore would be delighted in the number of events that Times Bookstore often hosts, like meet the author sessions, performance storytelling, and book signing sessions.

4. Littered With Books
Littered With Books has a quirky, off-beat atmosphere that bookworms are sure to delight in. Located in a small and quaint two-storey space, Littered With Books is an inviting space. You can peruse its shelves and choose from different categories, with its fiction selection on the first floor and its non-fiction selection on its second floor. They have seating available for those who would like to sit down and read and have friendly staff members to whom you could ask for assistance and book recommendations.

Getting to Know the World’s Most Paid Authors


You collect books from bestselling authors. That is completely normal. The good thing is that there are many bookstores here in Singapore that can help you with your collection. In fact, you may have heard about a book vending machine – which is a first in Asia. If in this case you do not know what or who to consider, reading the world’s most paid authors is a start.


Just think of this – their works wouldn’t be on top if many people do not patronize it. Of course many people across the world bought their books and watched their television and movie adaptations. It is time that you need to know it. There is no surprise that the most paid author is James Patterson with an earnings of about $95 million followed by Jeff Kinney with $19.5 million then J.K Rowling with $19 million, John Grisham with $18 million and Stephen King with $15 million.

Here are other authors that made it to 2016 Forbe’s most paid authors list:

  • Danielle Steel: Danielle Steel earned $15 million for this year. Her books include A Perfect Life, Precious Gifts, The Apartment: A Novel, His Bright Light, and Big Girl.


  • Nora Roberts: Nora Roberts earned $15 million as well for this year. Her books include The Next Always, The MacGregors: Alan & Grant, Vision in White, Stars of Fortune, Dark Witch, The Obsession, and Shadow Spell.


  • L. James: E.L James earned $14 million this year. Her books include the massively popular Fifty Shades trilogy, plus a companion novel.


  • Veronica Roth: Veronica Roth earned $10 million this year. Her famous works include Divergent, Allegiant, Insurgent, Free Four, and The Traitor.


  • John Green: John Green earned $10 million this year. His famous works include The Fault in Our Stars, Paper Town, Looking for Alaska, and An Abundance of Katherines.


  • George R. R. Martin: George R. R Martin earned $9.5 million. His works include Game of Thrones, The Winds of Winter, A Dance with Dragons, A Feast for Cows, A Storm of Swords, and A Clash of Kings. The sixth instalment of his Song of Ice and Fire series is set to be released sometime in 2017.


  • Rick Riordan: Rick Riordan earned $9.5 million this year. His works include The Sea of Monsters, The Lost Hero, The Hidden Oracle, and The Blood of Olympus.


  • Dan Brown: Dan Brown earned $9.5 million. His famous works include Inferno, The Da Vinci Code, and Angels and Demons.


Things to Remember When You Buy from Online Bookstores

You love books but you prefer buying online because it saves time and energy. Online bookstores are famous here in Singapore but it is recommended that you look for a trusted store. Looking for an online bookstore is challenging especially that there are myriads of them here in Singapore but if you know how to shop, the store will not matter.


Shopping for online books is like shopping for your garments, accessories and gadgets. Here are some tips that you need to remember when you buy from online bookstores:

  • Take the shipping costs into account: It is true that online shopping can save you time and energy but you must know that you will pay additional costs. The shipping cost is not that much but it is important that you take that into account. If you look for cheaper shipping costs, you have to hop from one bookstore to another. The good news is that there are other stores that offer free shipping while there are others that offer different kinds of deals.
  • Read customer reviews: You have to read customer reviews as well. Sometimes you get too excited that you forget to read customer reviews. If you want to make sure about your purchase, you have to read customer reviews. If you read reviews, you will get ideas about the books and the seller.


  • Identify third-party sellers: You have to identify if you are purchasing from third-party sellers or directly from the seller. There is nothing wrong if you consider third-party sellers but sometimes, these individuals are not so honest. The best thing to do is read the ratings.
  • Check condition: Before placing your order, it is important that you check the condition of the used or new books. If you like the book because it is super cheap, it should give you a red flag. However, if the markings or the books without cover do not bother you, you should pursue it.
  • Read return policy: You have to read return policy and make sure that you can contact customer support just in case you are not satisfied with your order. If you received the wrong book, you need to contact the customer support.
  • Store in your wish list: If you cannot afford the book, you can just put it in your wish list.

Hopefully the tips mentioned above will save you a lot of frustration in finding the right book you really want. If you cannot find the book that you are looking for online, it is better that you search for it physically. You will be awed because there are a lot of bookstores here in Singapore.