Same book – Different title (a bookworm’s gripe) #BookTitles #bookworms #booklovers #readingcommunity

NOTE: Originally published in March of 2017, this post was last updated on January 24, 2021

My RANT continues…

the cover and title on the left appeal to me more

I personally prefer the UK cover and title on the left

I prefer the title and cover on the left

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.

Again, the left cover and title are my favourite

I MUCH prefer the cover and title on the left

I prefer the UK title on the right – eye-catching

I prefer the cover and title on the left

again, I prefer the cover and title on the left

I think I prefer the title and cover on the right

I actually had BOTH of these on my TBR until I realized they were the same book!

I actually BOUGHT both of these. URGH!

I personally prefer the cover and title on the left. I’m not sure I would have even picked up the cover on the right.

I prefer the cover and title on the left

again, I much prefer the cover and title on the left

I prefer the cover and title on the left

the left hand cover wins again

cover on the left wins again

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….)

Yes, I actually bought BOTH of these. I remember being SO excited that Peter Robinson had a new book out!

the decision to change the word ‘close’ to ‘alley’ for North American audiences is one that I find ludicrous. Anyone who follows Rankin’s Rebus wants to read #15 in the series regardless Also, they know what a ‘close’ is.

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)

It happened to one of my all-time favorite novels!

and one of my all-time favorite novelists, Ruth Rendell

and another of my favorite novelists, Fredrik Backman

It has happened with books by one of the world’s best-selling novelists!

It happened to the “Queen of Crime”

it has happened to Graham Greene

It has happened to Diana Gabaldon (“Outlander” is such a better title…)

and Sophie Hannah

and Ariana Frankliin

and Jonathan Tropper

and Tess Gerritsen

and Jessica Treadway

and P.J. Tracey

and Kathleen Kent

and Richard Montanari

and Joseph Finder

and Diane Chamberlain

and the award-winning Lawrence Hill

along with myriad others that I don’t have time to name….

As a reader, what are YOUR thoughts on this issue?

Also, I’d love to hear what authors feel about this practice.

I’d love to hear your stories about books that are published under two different titles.

Post a comment!

About Fictionophile

Fiction reviewer ; Goodreads librarian. Retired library cataloger - more time to read! Loves books, gardening, and red wine. I have been a reviewer member of NetGalley since October 2013. I review titles offered by Edelweiss, and participate in blog tours with TLC Book Tours.
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31 Responses to Same book – Different title (a bookworm’s gripe) #BookTitles #bookworms #booklovers #readingcommunity

  1. Pingback: January 2021 wrap up: a lot of stuff besides reading – My Book Joy

  2. Dave Quayle says:

    Yes, a justified complaint. Two more authors who have been confusingly served:
    Ruth Downie’s splendid series of crime novels set in ancient Rome:
    1. Ruso and the Disappearing Dancing Girls (2006)
         aka Medicus (in the US)
    2. Ruso and the Demented Doctor (2008)
         aka Terra Incognita (in the US)
    3. Ruso and the Root of All Evils (2009)
         aka Persona Non Grata (in the US)
    4. Ruso and the River of Darkness (2010)
         aka Caveat Emptor (in the US)
    After that they all have Latin titles, which I’d say is an improvement – score one for the USA.

    But … I’d say the UK rules as far as Andreii Makine’s wonderful works go (translated from the French):
    Confessions of a lapsed standard bearer (UK) becomes the less nuanced Confessions of a fallen standard bearer (US)
    Le testament Francais was left as that in the UK (the publishers trusted us) became Dreams of my Russian Summers in the US
    Requiem for the East (UK) became Requiem for a lost empire (US)
    A life’s music (UK) became (heinously in my opinion) Music of a life (US)
    Keep up the good work!

    Like

  3. Pisses me off sometimes. For example, “When we were Young and Brave” in the US was originally “The Bird in the Bamboo Cage” in the UK which I think is much better. “Hamnet” is also known as “Hamnet & Judith” which makes NO sense because Judith is such a minor character in the book. Also, remember that the first Harry Potter was “Philosopher’s Stone” in the UK but apparently they didn’t think kids would like philosophers so they changed it to “Sorcerer’s Stone” for the US market. Stupid! Another one – I read “The War Widow” which was originally published in Australia as “Dead Man Switch” which I like much better! Oh well…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Years ago I read that cosmetic manufacturers repackage products with different names although the formulas are the same, but I had no idea something similar was done by the publishing industry. I take it authors are not made aware of this? Do you know if this is something that is mentioned in the publishing contracts they sign?

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Your point is extremely well made! I think that when a title is a new one for an old title, the potential buyer should be warned with a kind of formerly known as. It is frustrating to buy a book only to find one already had read it.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Kerry Swan says:

    As an author I would be mortified if a title of one of my books changed and people bought a second copy by mistake. I would never agree to a re-title unless it was the only way to re-publish a book that was previously with a different publisher. Even then I’d make sure it was clear it was a duplicate. I hope I never have to do that and merely have to change the cover design.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. As an author, I would fight fiercely to keep the original covers ( I love mine). Not that I think my publishers (a small independent press) would have any thoughts nor any spare money to do this. It’s not something I’ve ever considered before – sounds to be a nightmare for librarians – and slightly devious on the part of the publishers.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Louise says:

    I knew it happened and I do think it’s very annoying. I hadn’t realised how many of the books on my list have had title and cover changes though! Wow!

    Liked by 2 people

  9. Kelly says:

    I remember being very excited when you posted about The Poison Thread a while back until you said it was The Corset by another title 😄 It’s such a silly practice, and I think that the fact that I agree with your choices, us being from such different countries, proves it.

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Carol says:

    It’s annoying and confusing for bloggers, too! I recently experienced this with Narrowboat Summer (I forget what the other title is)…..I first heard of the book with another title and it drove me crazy trying to find it/request it until I realized it had a different title in the US.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. nsfordwriter says:

    This so annoying, I agree! Also very patronising as often the titles of UK books are simplified to apparently not put off American readers :/

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Jennifer says:

    Wow impressive compilation! I am totally on board with different covers. Different titles are trickier. I absolutely agree that people in different regions will respond differently to words chosen, even when it seems like only a slight change. Culture and even the language itself affect every bit of keeping. However it IS super confusing since it’s not uncommon for markets to blend somewhat. I know a lot of readers who will get and edition from outside their home country because they prefer the cover. It would be nice to have an “AKA” with the other title or sometime similar to make it clear. 😐

    Liked by 2 people

    • I think the problem is getting more serious now that the internet and social media have rendered differences in country of publication moot in some cases. People order books online internationally. Reviewers read and review titles from myriad countries. My own blog has more followers from the United Kingdom than it does from my home country of Canada. I feel there should be a standard, static title for each book published. That is the retired cataloger in me speaking. 😆

      Liked by 1 person

  13. sandys5 says:

    I realized that this had occurred but not at this level. Wow, look at all of those books! What a nightmare!! I get sucked into the changing of the book cover nightmare and I’ve purchased copies of books I’ve already read only to feel duped and disappointed that I wasn’t going to be reading new material. I could understand somewhat, if they were doing it to conform to their audience. Say, the book was released in the USA and the title used a word not common in the UK. I could see them changing that word when they release it in the UK but not the whole title. I think it would be nice if they post in the second copy that it’s “duplicated writing from xx.” Great post, it sure did get me thinking!

    Liked by 2 people

  14. ohsrslybooks says:

    I genuinely didn’t know this happened 😱 But it is certainly really confusing? I would think: oh my favorite author has written a new book! when it actually ends up being the same book with a different title? How annoying 😩

    Liked by 2 people

  15. Carla says:

    I totally agree, Lynne. You can change the cover images, but leave the titles alone!!!! 😒😒

    Liked by 1 person

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