Top-Selling Light Novels in Japan (2015)

(pictured: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? -- art by Kunieda)
(pictured: Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? — art by Kunieda)

Another year has passed, and it’s time to take a look at the light novel series that have sold the most copies in Japan for 2015.

Over the course of 2015, the top-selling light novels were:

  1. Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? — 1,220,217
  2. The Irregular at Magic High School — 1,175,978
  3. My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU — 1,050,446
  4. Overlord — 927,413
  5. Naruto books — 883,833
  6. Sword Art Online — 788,895
  7. Kagerou Daze — 494,721
  8. Kokuhaku Yokou Renshuu (“Confession Rehearsal”) — 413,663
  9. A Certain Magical Index: New Testament — 405,666
  10. Sword Art Online: Progressive — 390,856

Click here to see the full chart for the top 30-selling light novel series for the year. (Source: Anime News Network).

Congratulations to DanMachi, for jumping up all the way to first this year!

You can compare this list to last year’s by clicking here.

Meanwhile at Shoizumi Book Tower, the following series were announced as the top-selling light novels of 2015:

  1. Overlord
  2. Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon?
  3. Gate
  4. The Irregular at Magic High School

(Source: Crunchyroll)

To see a sales chart for specific volumes of light novels, click here. The top 30-selling light novels for 2015 are listed. Series that appear the most include:

  • The Irregular at Magic High School — 4 volumes
  • Is it Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? — 4 volumes
  • Naruto — 4 volumes
  • Sword Art Online (including spin-offs) — 3 volumes
  • My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU — 3 volumes

(Source: Anime News Network)

Note: The sixth Kagerou Daze volume ranked 3rd, The Boy and the Beast novelization ranked 5th, and Overlord (the 4th-best selling series) only had one volume make this list (with the first volume ranked 28th).

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I think it’s also worth taking a look at some of the lists kuuderes_shadow has compiled, including:

This can give a good idea of what some of Japan’s other popular light novel series may be, outside of those that have received recent anime adaptations.

Any titles stick out to you, or catch you by surprise?

7 thoughts on “Top-Selling Light Novels in Japan (2015)

  1. One of the things that stood out to me when going through the rankings is just how many of the top selling light novel series on Oricon’s rankings don’t get on the ebook rankings (Oricon does not include ebooks in its rankings). For some of these (like Reki Kawahara’s works and Mahouka) this is because there simply isn’t an ebook, but for others, like Kagerou Daze, the ebook is there but evidently just not all that popular. Also, female audience series do considerably better on the ebook rankings than from Oricon, but on bookwalker not one of the 55 light novels in the overall top 100 is a series aimed at a female audience, while MF Books titles seem to do disproportionately well.
    Mushoku Tensei and Tate no Yuusha no Nariagari seem to do well on both the ebook and bookwalker rankings, while being merely around the 10k mark from Oricon’s figures.
    DanMachi, of course, is prominent everywhere, thanks to its spectacularly successful anime boost.
    It’s worth noting that the date range covered is slightly different – for instance, Shoizumi Book Tower is 1st December 2014 – 30th November 2015, whereas Oricon is 17th November 2014-22nd November 2015.
    There’s also the POS rankings (here: ), which are 1st January 2015-31st December 2015.
    Finally, it’s worth noting that the Boy and the Beast/Bakemono no Ko in 23rd on the Oricon series rankings includes only the two Kadokawa Bunko versions, and not the Kadokawa Tsubasa Bunko version that sold an extra 115k sales, which would have placed it in 12th.

    1. Thanks for all these extra details, kuuderes_shadow! There’s still a lot I’m learning about the light novel industry in Japan and all the publishers there. There’s always some interesting things to notice in all the charts you put together on your blog.

  2. Well, it’s pretty clear what lists the english translation companies are watching. Especially Yen Press. Of the top 10 you list, only Confessional & New Testament haven’t received, or are getting, an English translation. And of those, only the Naruto books are being released by a company other than Yen Press. And since Yen is doing the original Index run, I bet New Testament will get announced VERY soon.

    1. I imagine Yen Press will want to move on to the New Testament volumes once Index nears completion, though that will probably be a while since it’s a rather long series. Guess it depends on how many people are still buying volumes at that point.
      I certainly wouldn’t mind seeing “Confessional” brought over. I believe it is based on some Vocaloid music videos, similar to Kagerou Daze.

  3. Starting to see why DanMachi came out in English before the anime even began. Not sure of any other LN series that has happened with other than The Isolator. But that one is more than likely because Reki Kawahara has name recognition and has two other licensed series that gained popularity in the west from anime.

    Hope Heroic Legend of Arslan can get licensed especially since it received #3 on the eBook charts. Didn’t realize it wasn’t a light novel, but still would love to read it since I love the anime and manga.

    1. Gosick also came out in English before the anime aired, and various others that have had English language releases never even got an anime adaptation.

      Arslan Senki was originally published under Kadokawa Bunko, which I see as in the grey zone between being and not being a light novel. It’s the same label as Toshokan Sensou, Sakurako-san…, Shinrei Tantei Yakumo, etc. – and of course Bakemono no Ko as mentioned previously. Quite a few of the series published under that label (eg. Another) get rereleases under actual light novel labels later. Arslan, on the other hand, switched to Kappa Novels (which is definitely not a light novel label) in 2003. It is these Kappa Novels versions which would be on the ebook rankngs.

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