NOTE: Originally published in March of 2017, this post was last updated on January 24, 2021
I take umbrage when publishers, in their infinite wisdom, decide to rename a book which already has a perfectly acceptable title. This has occurred time and time again with books on my own personal TBR. For some unfathomable reason, publishers on opposite sides of the Atlantic Ocean seem to think that we readers differ and will be attracted by different covers and titles.
Bookworms everywhere must have encountered this issue on more than one occasion. Readers who follow authors or series rather than titles, fall victim to this ploy regularly. I even purchased the same book twice because of it. (Maybe that is their evil plan….)
And don’t even get me started as to how much I hated it back when I was working as a library cataloger. The library would have a book, patrons would place holds on that book. Then… another patron would hear about a book and place a ‘suggestion for purchase’. We’d buy that book and that title would generate holds being placed on it. Then, when I catalogued it I would discover that book B was the SAME BOOK as book A. URGHHHH! Our means of handling the problem was enough to give a cataloger nightmares. We merged the two records together!!!! GASP! The reason for this was so that ALL the patrons who had holds on the book would be in one queue. This in turn led to all sorts of mayhem, as when they came to pick up their book, they thought they were getting the wrong one!
This has happened a few times with one of my favorite authors, Louise Penny. On her website, Penny writes:
“The publishers did this not, as you might suspect, to be annoying but because they genuinely feel their readers respond to different titles.”
As I’ve mentioned, this practice of having one book with two different titles is a nightmare for library staff, and I expect, bookstore staff as well. Some of the titles are so completely different that one would never guess it is the same book. Some have common words and are changed only slightly. What is the point? (other than to give library workers and bookstore employees grey hair)
along with myriad others that I don’t have time to name….