Web Novel Vs Light Novel

Web Novels Vs Light Novels: What’s the Difference?

Web novels and light novels are two popular forms of Japanese literature that have gained massive popularity not only in Japan but also worldwide. However, while both types of novels have several similarities, there are distinct differences between them that make them unique.

Web novels are novels that are serialized on the internet, whereas light novels are novels that are primarily published in print, although they may also have digital versions. This article will delve into the differences between web novels and light novels, highlighting their pros and cons, and the key factors to consider when choosing between them.

Web Novels

Web novels are a form of literature that began in Japan in the early 2000s, and they have since gained widespread popularity worldwide. They are typically written by independent authors and published online, either on personal blogs or dedicated websites such as Royal Road.

One of the primary advantages of web novels is that they are often free to access, which makes them accessible to a wide range of readers. Additionally, since they are usually self-published, web novels can be updated and expanded continuously, allowing for ongoing feedback and community involvement.

Web novels also tend to feature a wider range of genres than light novels, including more unconventional, experimental formats such as epistolary or Twitter-based narratives.

However, web novels aren’t without their downsides. For one, the sheer number of web novels available can be overwhelming, making it difficult to find high-quality, well-written stories. Additionally, since they are self-published, web novels are often riddled with errors, inaccuracies, and inconsistencies that can detract from the story’s overall quality.

Light Novels

Light novels are a type of Japanese novel that originated in the 1990s. They are typically published in print and have since gained massive popularity not only in Japan but also around the world.

One of the primary advantages of light novels is that they are professionally edited and published, ensuring higher quality writing and better storyline continuity. Additionally, light novels are often accompanied by illustrations, making them more engaging and visually appealing.

Unlike web novels, light novels have a finite publication schedule, with a set number of volumes and an endpoint in mind. This structured nature allows for a more deliberate and structured plot development, where the author can plan ahead and build towards a satisfying conclusion.

However, the downside to light novels is that they can be cost-prohibitive since they are published in print. They may also have a longer publishing cycle, meaning there may be a considerable wait between volumes.

Key Differences

So, what sets web novels apart from light novels, and what factors should you consider when choosing between them?

1. Cost: Web novels are generally free, while light novels require purchasing.

2. Availability: Web novels are accessible to anyone with an internet connection, while light novels must be purchased from a brick-and-mortar or online store.

3. Quality: While web novels can be of high quality, since they are self-published, they are more prone to errors and inconsistencies. Light novels, on the other hand, are professionally edited and typically have a higher level of quality.

4. Genres: Web novels tend to have a more experimental range of genres, while light novels are often more mainstream.

5. Publishing schedule: Web novels are released on a rolling basis, while light novels have a set number of volumes and endpoint in mind.


Web novels and light novels are both excellent forms of Japanese literature that have gained massive popularity worldwide. However, the key differences between them make each unique and suitable for different readers and preferences. While web novels offer accessibility, experimentation, and ongoing feedback, light novels are more structured, professionally edited, and often accompanied by illustrations.

Ultimately, choosing between web novels and light novels comes down to personal preference and the type of reading experience you are looking for. Both offer unique and engaging stories that appeal to readers of all genres and backgrounds.