Accel World began as a light novel series written by Reki Kawahara and illustrated by HiMA. Originally, Kawahara entered the first novel in the series into ASCII Media Works‘ 15th Dengeki Novel Prize in 2008 and the novel won the Grand Prize. The first novel was published by ASCII Media Works on February 10, 2009 under their Dengeki Bunko imprint. As of June 2015, 18 volumes have been published. At their Japan Expo USA panel, Yen Press announced the rights to publish the light novels in English. The first volume was released on July 22, 2014.