The world has read comic books, novels, short stories, manga, webtoons, and more. There’s just something captivating about stories and characters that keep us wanting more! If you haven’t heard about it yet, there’s one more genre of literature to explore: web novels. They’re the next big thing in storytelling, and their popularity is soaring because of web novel translation!

CCC International has already explored the wonders of manga and anime translation. Now, we’re also seeing a rise in demand for web novel services, and we’re ready to help you become a part of this trend. Let’s learn about the growing popularity of this genre and how our translation services can help you get the most out of your creative works.

Key Takeaways:

  • Web novels are serialized novels published online. It’s similar to light novels, which originated in Japan. Both genres are popular in the Asian market and have seen a surge in popularity in other parts of the world.
  • Light novel translation made light novels accessible to more people and readers worldwide, sparking a growing interest in the genre.
  • Web novel translation contributed to the popularity of web novel stories because it allowed readers from different parts of the world to appreciate these works in their own language.
  • South Korean and Chinese web novels in English have become increasingly popular, with many titles adapted into dramas, games, and films.

Table of Content:

  • What Are Web Novels?
  • The Rise of Web Novels
  • K-Dramas Based on Web Novels
  • Popular Web Novels
  • How Did Web Novels Become So Popular?
  • CCCI – Professional Web Novel Translation Services

What Are Web Novels?

Web novels are exactly what they sound like: novels published on the web. Usually, web novels are serialized, meaning the authors publish them in installments. They may release one chapter every week, depending on their schedule.

We can trace the roots of web novels to a web fiction site called Joara in 2000. During that time, it had 1.1 million members who consumed novels of different genres, with I am a Noble Man by Siltan as one of its most-viewed stories. Another South Korean web portal that also catered to readers of web fiction is Naver, which now has millions of active readers. It popularized the term “web novel,” and Yun I-su’s Love in the Moonlight is one of its best-read works.

Besides South Korea, China has long been known for reading fiction digitally. In fact, their love for digital novels started with the emergence of the internet! Forbes India described web novels as a genre that breaks free from the traditional narrative patterns, meeting the readers’ demands better than paper books.

“Here, the psychology of the characters takes precedence over the development and even the coherence of the plot. That’s why most web novels belong to genres that are mainstream, and popular with young readers, such as romance, fantasy, young adult, and science fiction.”

Light Novels

People often mistake web novels for light novels. They have similar titles, with some authors writing both genres. The main difference is that light novels are Japanese-style, published online, and compiled into paperback. Illustrations for light novels use the Japanese manga style and usually focus on fantasy.

Note: Light novel translation has contributed to the popularity of this genre. Some popular titles include The Legend of the Galactic Heroes, A Sister’s All You Need, and The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya. Many light novels have been adapted into manga, anime, and video games!

The Rise of Web Novels

Web novels are already prominent in the Asian market. What’s more surprising is the increasing demand for Korean and Chinese web novels in English for readers who want to experience a different kind of storytelling., one of the largest web novels communities in the world, has most of its audiences from the US, UK, and Brazil. Most of its visitors are 18 to 24 years old, with more male readers than females. Moreover, E. Ardincaple shared in “What’s a Web Novel and Why Are They Exciting for Writers?”:

“In South Korea, the domestic web novel industry is worth over 400 million USD and the market grew by 4000% between 2013 and 2019. In 2021, South Korean tech giant Kakao purchased Radish and Tapas for a combined $950 million, with its competitor Naver acquiring Wattpad for an estimated $600 million.”

Many platforms also allow writers to interact directly with their readers, and readers can comment on the new chapters or leave suggestions. This back-and-forth interaction between readers and authors often results in more engaging conversations, something that paper books can’t provide.

K-Dramas Based on Web Novels

Another factor contributing to the rise of web novels is the popularity of K-dramas based on them. Many Korean TV dramas are inspired by web novels, such as the following:

Love In the Moonlight