Novels vs Light Novels

Mr. Qoo

Novels vs Light NovelsNovels vs Light Novels

Novel or Light Novel? They’re both fictional works so what are the differences?


Novel sentence structures are more complex, the words used are also generally more sophisticated than Light Novel. Light Novels have simpler structures and simpler words making them an easier read. In some cases, dialogues in light novels don’t come with who’s talking. this gives readers a sense of how the conversation is flowing, but also requires readers to guess who’s speaking.

■ Novel:

“go… to hell…” he whispered faintly as he drew his last breath, the killer gently squeezed the trigger with a lover-like delicacy and sound of a single shot echoed through the dark black night.  narrativenarrativenarrativenarrative.

■ Light Novel:

He spun around with a look of confusion.

“huh? what do you mean?”

“I mean the structure is different in Light Novels”



Whilst Novels can range from all sort of art styles, Light Novels typically features anime/manga-like illustrations. Coincidentally, Light novels are more often picked for anime/manga adaptations compared to novels.

Physical Difference

In Japan, Novels are usually printed in A5 size and are generally much thicker than light novels. On the other hand, Light novels are printed in A6 size and have fewer pages.

If we were to put it in a western sense… The Lord of the Rings books would be a novel and Stephen King books are more Light Novel like as they are lighter to read. This does not mean that they aren’t as legit, it just simply means that the story is written in a way which is easier for readers to read.

Web Novels

In addition to Novels and Light Novels, there are also Web Novels which are stories published online. These will not have physical copies.

In most cases, Novels, Light Novels, and Web Novels don’t overlap, but there are exceptions. The OVERLORD series originated from a web novel and was rewritten and published as a light novel. Both the web novel and light novel is written by Maruyama Kugane (丸山くがね).

In the west, whether the series is a novel or a light novel, if it’s from Japan, it is generally considered a “Japanese Light Novel”.  Are you fine with this sort of categorization? or do you prefer to keep things clear? tell us what you think! As always, if there is anything else you want us to explain, let us know in the comments!

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