Michael asked:

Why did they choose to change the title for the U.S.?

Jaden McNally I once heard an interview with someone saying that it was changed because they didn't think American children would want to read it as much if it had a long word like "Philosopher" in it. They thought "Sorcerer" would better catch the attention of young, American readers.

Oh, see this. This is hilarious. Apparently it is necessary now to change all of the books for American readers:

I found this on Tumblr. The link wouldn't connect here for some reason.

Since They changed Philosopher's Stone to Sorcerer's Stone for America, I decided to change the rest since us Americans are too dumb to understand the word philosopher:

Harry Potter and The Whisper Snake Place

Harry Potter and That Mean Jail Man

Harry Potter and The Hot Cup

Harry Potter and The Bird Club

Harry Potter and The Guy With Only Some Blood

Harry Potter and Death
Al ✨ In the United States, the term philosopher commonly refers to a scholar of philosophy, rather than an alchemist or magician.

Rowling and her American editors decided to change the name to Sorcerer because it had a deeper magical presence and would not misinform U.S. audiences of Flamel's occupation.

You can read a bit more about the change here: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0241527/f...
The Usual Re: Alyssandra's answer to this, you should probably be aware that the word philosopher means exactly the same thing on this side of the Atlantic as it does in America. We might be a bit old-fashioned over here but we don't still have alchemists wandering the streets.
On the subject of treating Americans like idiots - you know the one about the film the Madness of King George? Apparently it started out as The Madness of King George III, but there were worries that the American public wouldn't watch it because they hadn't seen The Madness of King George I & II!
Misha I think Alyssandra has the right of it, although philosopher actually makes more sense- because transmuting 'baser metals' into gold was actually a goal for the old philosophers.

Also, having the kid riding a broomstick on the cover should be enough to get across there might be some magic happening in the book.
Shannii I'd say it's much more about the US-Centric way Americans are taught. Most of the people giving you an explanation have completely negated the fact that the Philosopher's Stone as a myth has existed for centuries and that Flamel was a real man born in the medieval times. He actually studied alchemy (which was greatly linked to philosophy at the time). It was a silly change... not because American children are too stupid to look in a dictionary. I mean, it's not like us British children are born with the innate knowledge of what the word "philosopher" means. It was changed because they didn't think the title would sell as well.

I'd like to repeat: there is no difference in the definition of the word "philosopher" in the UK. It does mean a scholar of philosophy here as well. It meant that when the name of the stone was concocted... CENTURIES AGO. The only change is that the school of philosophy has shifted in its goals. "Science" used to cover philosophy, too, at one point. Alchemy and philosophy were two sides of the same coin then, and many a scholar dedicated their lives to the discovery of the philosophy of changing metal to gold.

Rowling herself said she regrets the decision to allow the change - that she was young and felt intimidated by publishing companies. She seems to have a lot more faith in the intelligence of Americans than a lot of the people who answered this. It's not like we're mystics in the UK who go around associating philosophy with magic still.

Why do I think it's US-centric? Purely the fact that so many people seem to think that Rowling invented the term because not many Americans have been exposed to as much European history as Europeans are exposed to American history. The fact that people trying to explain this didn't even know that it was a European myth shows that no one did their research.
Hannah Alessandra is right, it's just a different meaning of the word, Americans aren't stupid, the Brits didn't "dumb it down" although the US version bugs me because it continually skips from British terminology to US terminology. Mum to mom, sometimes it says mum, other times it says mom. Little things. Also please please please read the books, movies 4, 5, and 6 do not do the books justice :) I know this is a question that's really old but I felt like answering it.
Andrea I grew up in Europe and knew what Philosopher’s Stone was long before Harry Potter. It was one of those mythical objects, like the holy grail or the fountain of youth that people in books and history searched for. Maybe American kids were not that exposed to these stories? Or maybe publishers, like the movie industry, like to cater to the lowest common denominator to maximize their gain. Executives always think that the general public is stupid.
Nicola They didn't think American's would be able understand it otherwise. Bit insulting really. After all 'philosopher' means exactly the same in the States as it does elsewhere but they didn't think that any other country would somehow be too thick to figure it out.
M Price Awesome question and fascinating answers. I had no idea. Haven't read any of the books, but might give them a try.
Orinoco Womble (tidy bag and all) Most American readers would have no idea what the Philosopher's Stone refers to, certainly child readers wouldn't have a clue. They do however know the word "sorcerer."
Emma They thought that the book would seem more interesting if people knew it had magic involved.
Lydia B i really dont know but I think it's just like we cant figure it out but I rarely see see the "Harry Potter ant the philosophers stone" of coars if you look up on google Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone you will see it.

I also like the Percy Jackson And The Olympians series (i had to get the book to spell Olympians)
Tenaya Akin Because Americans can not understand the word Philosopher stone.
Mika Chan i ish an american kid and actually pretty young UvU but i know all those words soooooo :p
Sadie They changed some of the words in Philosopher Stone including the title to make a U.S. edition since some British words are different than American words so it probably was included in that.
Mary because in the us their net growth is 17.5 trillion
DrewCosmic71 J.K. Rowling was born in The United Kingdom, so it makes sense to have everyone else be from that area.
Anarmstrong they should actually have used the term the Vitalist's stone
b Because Schoolastic was all ''American kids won't know what a Philosopher is cause they're stupid and they won't want to buy it'' and Jo was like ''That makes sense''
sai profile This is popular book in US.
Lila Because they thought no one would want to read anything that had a word as "boring" as philosopher, so they changed it to the more "exiting" one: sorcerer.
Timothy Morrison they should actually have used the term the Vitalist's stone
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