Sunday, August 18, 2019

Giving a J-Novel Club membership a try

I meant it when I said that My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom! was going to make me break down and get a J-Novel Club membership. I started one this weekend.

After looking at the chart detailing the benefits of the two different membership levels, I decided to go all-in and start with a monthly Premium membership rather than a monthly regular membership. The Premium membership includes a free credit (technically, reduced price - if you consider the higher monthly cost, it's about $6 for that credit rather than the usual $7) that can be used for one DRM-free J-Novel Club e-book.

The things I've learned so far:
  • Yes, J-Novel Club e-books purchased directly through the J-Novel Club site are indeed DRM-free, even though J-Novel Club e-books sold anywhere else have DRM.
  • Due to illustrations and such, the e-book files are fairly large. I've purchased one so far, and it was 16 MB.
  • That "free" Premium membership credit is not an immediate thing. I was wondering why I had 0 credits on my account and learned that I'll get my credit on the 15th of next month. Annoying.
I'm not sure whether the credit would be immediate if you upgraded to Premium from a regular membership, rather than starting with a Premium membership the way I did. It's implied on the site that it would be. Here's the message I get if I try to buy an e-book through the site with 0 credits on my account:

At any rate, I didn't want to wait a full month to get volume 1 of My Next Life as a Villainess: All Routes Lead to Doom!, so I bought a credit - I can save my "free" credit for a later volume in the series, maybe.

I'm going to try to be good about monitoring my usage of this membership and ending it once it stops being worth my while. I have at least a couple more series I'd like to try, although not necessarily buy. At the moment I'm reading my purchased e-book using my favorite EPUB reader app on my phone. I won't be able to do that with J-Novel Club e-books I don't buy, so I'll be interested to see what the reading experience is like for those. (Edit: The site may not actually work the way I thought it did. I thought members had access to any works on the site for as long as they kept their membership, sort of like Netflix for Japanese light novels. Actually purchasing and downloading specific titles would provide more permanent access. Instead, I think members only have access to the first parts of published works, and the full pre-publication titles as they're still being translated and edited. I suspect I'm going to be spending the next month or two trying out and buying a lot of J-Novel Club books and then cancelling my membership, since I doubt I'll keep up with enough series for the pre-publication access to be worth it.)

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