Japanese service BookWalker has been working hard and making great strides as a store-front for English language manga and light novel releases, doing deals with publishers across the spectrum of the industry to facilitate becoming a singular home for much of the content available on our shores.
Today sees the company extend that even further by unveiling their first Bookwalker-exclusive title, picking up publishing rights to a light novel series with a six-month exclusivity window.
The series to get this treatment is The Combat Baker and His Automaton Waitress - BookWalker describes the series thus:
The Combat Baker and His Automaton Waitress is about an ex-soldier who moves to a rural town to open a bakery. While he has no problem baking delicious bread, this battle-scarred veteran discovers that his intimidating demeanor is scaring off potential customers. What good is having a bakery if you can’t sell a single loaf of bread?
Just when he’s ready to give up, a red-eyed, white-haired girl walks into his shop to ask for a job. Could hiring her save his bakery? Just who is this beautiful girl? Is she even human?!
The company has confirmed that this is only the first of many titles to be snapped up with such an exclusivity window in place, while also explaining some of the business machinations behind this release - BookWalker are funding the English translation of this title, while the original publisher (HobbyJAPAN in this case) retains the rights to that English localisation for them to do as they wish with:
Although the translation costs for these light novels will be fully funded by BookWalker, the English language translation rights will belong to the original publisher. BookWalker hopes that this initiative will give more chances for a wider variety of titles to get released in English outside of Japan. BookWalker’s mission is to encourage innovation and expansion in manga/light novel publishing, so by providing this extra boost to smaller publishers, BookWalker is doing its part to help more titles reach more readers worldwide.
The first volume of The Combat Baker and His Automaton Waitress is scheduled to debut in English on the service in June 2017 - you can read all of the details of their plans (as well as news of an unrelated contest to win Aqua from KONOSUBA's underwear - don't ask, we just write up the stories) over on the BookWalker web site.