According to Peter Payne, founder of Japanese online import store Jlist and JAST USA, one aspect of Jlist’s import visual novels strategy is to offer titles with a "high visibility" that have been translated by fans.
While Payne notes that “sales are slow since they’re unfortunately so expensive," he emphasized Jlist’s commitment to the genre in order to encourage fans to buy rather than pirate, in a talk with visual novel news site encubed. Following up on his comments, encubed drew some stats from Jlist competitor ErogeShop.com to assess whether this logic was viable. Following are the top-ten bestsellers on ErogeShop.com:
1. Fate/stay Night
2. Kanon (Standard Edition)
3. Dengeki Hime -March Issue-
4. Fate/hollow Ataraxia
5. Sengoku Rance
6. School Days (Renewal Package)
7. Taimanin Asagi DVD-BOX
8. One -Kagayaku Kisetsu e-
10. Sharin no Kuni, Himawari no Shoujo
The bolded titles — five out of ten — are those with partial or complete fan-translations. It’s hardly surprising to see Fate/stay Night at the top of that list; it is arguably the most "mainstream" visual novel in recent memory. This would lend some credence to Jlist’s belief that there is indeed a [limited but viable] market for high-profile games with existing fan-translations.
In related news, the best-selling non-adult PC game on Himeya Shop was Umineko no Nakukoro ni Vol. 4 by 7th Expansion. The spiritual successor to Higurashi has been localized by fan-translation group Witch Hunt, and, according to an anonymous source cited by encubed, will probably not be published by MangaGamer.