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Same book, different titles (in english)

Book talk

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Mar 16, 2011, 10:10pm Top

I have bought (and mooched) several books which are identical (i.e. the same book) except for the titles. It is understanble (but still ennoying) if the book is originated in one country (say UK) then republished in another (say USA). But today I bought American Armageddon by Craig Unger not realizing that it's the same as The Fall of the House of Bush.

Any idea how that could happen and is it a common practice?

Anyone running across similar duo-titles?

Mar 16, 2011, 11:23pm Top

Edited: Mar 17, 2011, 1:05am Top

Dorit Rabinyan's Our Weddings was published as Strand of a Thousand Pearls - one in 2001 and one in 2002...

As the OP says, there will always be occasions when the UK and the US titles aren't the same, but why within the same country?

Mar 17, 2011, 6:48am Top

I noticed that Jodi Picoult's book is published with different titles. I thought at first that they were different books, but after i read a couple of them i realised my mistake.

Same thing with James Patterson's book i believe.

Mar 17, 2011, 7:44am Top

Theories: could be triggered by a change in publishers. Or a movie version changed the title, so the next edition adopted the movie's title as a tie-in in order for browsers to make the connection. Or initial sales were less than expected, so they went with something else. Or it became better known by its subtitle, so that became its new title in the next printing.

Mar 17, 2011, 8:01am Top

Sadly, it happens a fair bit and all Cecrow's suggestions are good ones though I suspect the most frequent one is simply that the publishers thought they might get a second crack at the whip by re-issuing under a different title. I've been caught by this before too and, although I've never had any trouble in returning the offending book, it does smack just a little of sharp practice unless there is somewhere a prominent note on the cover explaining that this is an old book under a new title.

Mar 17, 2011, 9:13am Top

I've come across this fairly often (3 off the top of my head and I know I've seen more). I do try to research before I buy a new book, but I don't always drill down far enough to catch the title change.

It's convenient and easy to find out when LTers put disambiguation notices in, and seems a bit much to check the editions page for combined titles. Canonical Title and Original Title fields don't seem to be enough if there are variant titles, but the Original is still Canonical.

Mar 18, 2011, 12:13am Top

Ruth Downie's books have different US/UK titles.

Mar 18, 2011, 9:09am Top

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White was originally No Child's Play. I bought No Child's Play from the Scholastic warehouse sale, thinking it was a sequel, and then found they had changed the title. I think I read somewhere that the publishers thought the book was more of a YA content, and the original title made it sound like a juvenile book. Btw, I highly recommmend it, if you liked The Hunger Games. It was a Texas Bluebonnet nominee a few years back, and even my non-reader husband enjoyed it.

Mar 18, 2011, 9:20am Top

The best one I have found is Memoirs of a Master Forger by William Heaney (UK title/author) is published as How to Make Friends with Demons by Graham Joyce in the US.

I've a book which has different titles in UK/US/Canada. In the UK it is "Hello Summer, Goodbye", in the US it is "Rax" and in Canada it is "Pallahaxi Tide".

Sometimes titles are changed due to political sensitivities. For example Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.

Mar 19, 2011, 2:08pm Top

Thanks to everyone for responding to my OP. It makes me feel less of a fool to buy the same book twice.

#12: This triplicata is a first for me. Thanks for the info.

Edited: Mar 19, 2011, 3:23pm Top

I've bought the "wrong" book of the same title: Hopscotch instead of Hopscotch

Edited: Mar 19, 2011, 7:04pm Top

Sometimes the title of a book in hardback is changed for the paperback. I read "The Tokkaido Road" in hardback, and was confused to see that the paperback was called just "Tokkaido", probably in imitiation of other oriental blockbusters such as "Shogun".

(Touchstones dead at the moment, it seems.)

Mar 19, 2011, 8:18pm Top

Some times it's changed due to either author's or editor's objection and/or preference, Son of Kronk was the publishers preferred title in hardback, and was changed to Kronk for the paperback because that was the original author title.

I've also seen the first book of a series repurposed to the series title and the original subtitle becomes the book title. Lyonesse and Sudrun's Garden.

I've seen a quad recently Eon also subtitled Eon: Rise of the dragoneye and Eon: Dragon eye reborn was originally titled Two pearls of wisdom, the fourth title is the UK and Australian Adult title while the second was the YA and the third the American http://www.alisongoodman.com.au/e.html

Mar 20, 2011, 7:24am Top

I joined LibraryThing to catalogue my books in particular, so as NOT to buy duplicate copies of the same book with different titles. It happened quite frequently in my past...especially in the series I read.
As I had (everyone does now with on-line book selling) the option to buy books published in different countries it was quite common to find this in Australia - but I have never understood why.

I was told that books originally published in UK often have words changed to American vernacular (Harry Potter as mentioned) when published in US (though not vice versa - don't quote me here) but inside the book too = torch vs flashlight etc.

I find it all sad and quite silly - but now at least I can check much more easily and have only doubled up twice since joining this site. I think it is all to do with publishing economics; isn't it always?

Edited: Mar 20, 2011, 7:46am Top

>3 gilbertine:

I Clearly understand the title change for young Harry Potter. Very few Uh-MUHR-ih-kens at any age, would understand a word like "philosopher", let alone the reference to a philosopher's stone.

Mar 20, 2011, 10:27am Top

Richard Morgan's Black Man was released as Thirteen in the US.

Mar 20, 2011, 2:03pm Top

>19 Sandydog1: Yet Can-AY-jan's got the UK version.

Edited: Mar 20, 2011, 4:01pm Top

UK Pull Out All the Stops by McCaughrean will be the same as the soon to be released US The Glorious Adventures of the Sunshine Queen by McCaughrean

Edited: Mar 20, 2011, 4:28pm Top

I've got a book where not only the title changed but the authors name changed Elizabeth Vaughan's Dagger-Star became Beth Vaughan's Red Gloves in the UK, not much of a name change i grant you, but it confused the heck out of me when I had already bought the first and saw the second in the bookshop. I came home and did some research before buying it, but I will confess that I did buy Red Gloves because it would make a better set getting the UK covers.

But Title Changes are very common and most SF writers that I collect have had at least two, if I listed all the books I had that were title changed at some point there would be over 100, maybe as many as 150 out of a library of 3,000. I personally have 11 pairs of title changed books (on purpose) for various reasons.

Mar 20, 2011, 10:22pm Top

Thomas Keneally's Booker Prize-winning Schindler's Ark became Schindler's List in the U.S.

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