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General Discussions > Renaming books for different markets

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message 1: by Beorn (new)

Beorn (bsceadugenga) Any opinions?

I find it a little disappointing when an author has to edit the title of his book because of a preconception about a particular area - no offence to Americans but it's usually for the US.

For example, James Wilde's Hereward was renamed The Winter Warrior: A Novel of Medieval England; his second novel in the series was called Hereward: The Devil's Army except in America where it was renamed The Time of the Wolf: A Novel of Medieval England just to avoid annoying any of those pesky Christians who'd be offended.

Many many more examples with bigger authors too.

Any thoughts?


message 2: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 10, 2013 03:03PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I hate it. Although, sometimes I prefer the US title names.

I just wish that publishers would just stick with titles unless there is an obvious reason to change it. Such as religious sensitivities. Which is understandable in countries where a religion is very prominent, such as Christianity or Islam.

With Hereward, the US market probably did the right thing. Americans are not familiar with a lot of British history. It is not their history after all, so they don't have to be up to date. So Hereward is nothing to them. An unfamiliar name.
In Britain and some Commonwealth nations, it is familiar and we would pick it up and think, "oh, a hf about Hereward." I might walk passed The Winter Wolf. Think it was just another werewolf book. :-)

(P.S I know you were saying it tongue in cheek, but lets not call them 'pesky Christians'. While it does not offend me - I am of no religion - we do have plenty of Christian members..:-) ..)

With the group read last month. The book Prophecy: Clash of Kings was called Battle of Kings in the US. I do not see why there had to be a title change. I guess they didn t want it to seem a rip off of Game of Thrones or something? I don't know. But Batlle of Kings is not a better title than Prophecy.


message 3: by Beorn (new)

Beorn (bsceadugenga) I didn't mean to be offensive to ALL Christians. To clarify, I meant the kind of religious puritans who are mortally offended by someone even using the 'D-word', even when it's contextually relevant.

Apparently one of the reasons they gave James for changing the title of Hereward wasn't the lack of any familiarity with the legend but that Americans might struggle with how to pronounce it.

I'd be interested to know if it's gone the other way, books released in America with the original title but changed for markets overseas (if you can see what I mean through my poor wording).

I guess it's a mixed bag really thinking about why they changed the name of Harlequin to 'An Archers Tale'.
What I find most annoying though is when you search for 'Cornwell Harlequin' what pops up is An Archer's Tale not the original titled book.


message 4: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Paul wrote: "I didn't mean to be offensive to ALL Christians. To clarify, I meant the kind of religious puritans who are mortally offended by someone even using the 'D-word', even when it's contextually relevan..."

Yes, I know that, but thankyou for rewording it so we aren't offending our Christian contingent. :-)


message 5: by Beorn (new)

Beorn (bsceadugenga) I know you knew that. I wanted to cover my tracks nonetheless just so I don't find myself hounded out of town for being a heretic or get locked in a dank room with a Dominican & his thumbscrew.


message 6: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 10, 2013 03:22PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Paul wrote: " I guess it's a mixed bag really thinking about why they changed the name of Harlequin to 'An Archers Tale'. What I find most annoying though is when you search for 'Cornwell Harlequin' what pops up is An Archer's Tale not the original titled book. ..."


Yes, that's a ridiculous one. To change the name from
Harlequin to The Archer's Tale because the publishers thought the readers would think it had something to do with the Harlequin romance books.
I guess they do their test groups and that was the response, but half the time these test groups aren't the target market and because they know they are a 'test group' they over think things.

The reason The Archer's Tale comes up instead of Harlequin in a search is because it is the most added edition to peoples shelves.
Until recently, the German translation of another Cornwell book was the most added edition to people's shelves so when you searched for it, the German translation came up.


message 7: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3454 comments Terri wrote: "Paul wrote: " I guess it's a mixed bag really thinking about why they changed the name of Harlequin to 'An Archers Tale'. What I find most annoying though is when you search for 'Cornwell Harlequin..."

I ran into the same with with Of Merchants & Heroes by Paul Waters. What do I find but I've read it under the U.S. title:
Republic of Vengeance?


Ruth Downie's books have one title in the U.K. and another in the U.S.


Medicus (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #1) by Ruth Downie U.S. title
Terra Incognita (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #2) by Ruth Downie
Persona Non Grata (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #3) by Ruth Downie
Caveat Emptor (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #4) by Ruth Downie
the U.K. titles are all Ruso and the ...
By the 5th in the series, she uses a Latin phrase for both U.S. and U.K., Semper Fidelis (Gaius Petreius Ruso, #5) by Ruth Downie I wonder if that will be the plan from now on.


message 8: by [deleted user] (new)

Hey Paul. Why does it bother you that a book may have a different title here in the US? What effect does that have on you? As far as I know, no one is forcing you to read the books under there American title....so who cares? I know all about the religious issues you brought up. I'm an atheist living in middle America...the so called "Bible Belt". I call them how I see them. My thoughts are that you seem to have issues with the US that go beyond book titles.


message 9: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 14, 2013 11:31PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Hey there Derek,

I think maybe what you picked up on was Paul's bluntness. He's gotten me with it too before. lol.
That's why I asked him to clean up the 'pesky Christians' remark.
So I hope what you are picking up is just that bluntness that Paul has sometimes. :)


message 10: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Jane wrote: I ran into the same with with Of Merchants & Heroes by Paul Waters. What do I find but I've read it under the U.S. title:
Republic of Vengeance?


Ruth Downie's books have one title in the U.K. and another in the U.S. "


Oh that one is a prime example. That frustrates the heck out of me. The titles are varied and the covers are so different between countries too.

I can never find the ones I am looking for.


message 11: by Sara (last edited Jun 11, 2013 01:47PM) (new)

Sara | 82 comments Terri wrote: "So I hope what you are picking up is just that bluntness that Paul has sometimes. :) "

Unfortunately, bluntness sometimes seems something else to people/cultures who are used to less bluntness.

Marina wrote: "I don't really care either way - I live in a country where English isn't the first language, so for me it's basically like translation - and the translated titles sometimes are quite different to the original one."

Nevertheless, I find it annoying when the translation changes the original idea of the title. I can't think of a good example now, but if the original title holds the name of a person, family or clan, I'd much rather the translation maintains that. If need be, add a subtitle. Besides, translating itself holds a wide sea of problems. But once more, the titles should maintain/transmit the same idea whatever the language or country.


message 12: by Sara (new)

Sara | 82 comments Jaq wrote: "Personally I think it's an insult to the reader."

I agree. And there's another problem to it: when a publisher says that the title was changed because the readers might not be able to grasp its meaning, they're basically telling the whole world that Americans are too stupid for the original title.

When a young student of mine asked me what was the real title of the Harry Potter book, Philosopher's Stone or Sorcerer's Stone, I explained to him (and his colleagues) that publishers sometimes do that when they think that the public won't 'get' the original title. And the kids' automatic reaction was 'the Americans must be dumber than the British, if ones get it and the others don't.'

So it does tarnish the American reputation abroad.


message 13: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I'd like to see it become less frequent now that the world is communicating about books together via places like Amazon and Goodreads, even Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And yet it seems it is getting 'more' frequent.

The Australian or Brit says, have your read Prophecy by some little known author called Hume and the American says no and tries to find it at the library but can't. Only the American can find it, if they knew the title was actually Battle of Kings in the US.

I saw this exact example happen with the group read this month and I see it with many other books on a regular basis.


message 14: by Darcy (new)

Darcy (drokka) | 2675 comments I agree that the reasons/excuses for renaming should probably wane as interactions between people become more global. I never understood why The Bloody Meadow was changed to The Darkening Field in the US. To add to that, it is one of the rate occasions where in Canada we got the US title too. Normally, we get the Commonwealth title or can choose from either one.

I also agree with Sara about translation titles not saying remotely the same thing. I get that there are acceptable nuances, or turns of phrases are different, but oh, I can't think of an example anymore. It's a French book, anyway, the translation wasn't even close.


message 15: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3454 comments Terri wrote: "Jane wrote: I ran into the same with with Of Merchants & Heroes by Paul Waters. What do I find but I've read it under the U.S. title:
Republic of Vengeance?


Ruth Downie's books have one title in ..."


I remember reading something Ms. Downie wrote on the internet somewhere: her publisher decided on the different titles in the UK/US for the first 4 books in the series and she couldn't remember why. But with the 5th book, she wanted to go with the Latin title everywhere.


message 16: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I must confess. With those Ruth Downie books, I do prefer the '..and the..' titles. Or at least the covers. I am not a fan of the only latin titles. I don't know why. Looks a bit too Murder She Wrote maybe? lol. I don't know. I'm guessing at my reasons. :D


message 17: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3454 comments I like the Latin titles better, but that's probably personal preference. The last one Semper Fidelis was strange; we folks from the U.S. probably had the Marines in our minds, since that's their motto. Downie probably never thought of the overtones to Americans.


message 18: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I think many of us non Americans think US Marines when we see Semper Fidelis too. It is very well known as their motto.
In fact, there is even a popular sci fi book of a similar name which I used to get mixed up with Downies.
Semper Mars (Heritage Trilogy, #1) by Ian Douglas Semper Mars

I used to think the Downie book was a sci fi until I would see the cover. :)


message 19: by Jane (new)

Jane | 3454 comments Yup, this one has nothing to do with the accoutrements on Downie's cover. :)


message 20: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Jun 14, 2013 11:35PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I don't think we have mentioned this one.
This one also baffles me. Why change it?

Genghis: Birth of an Empire and Wolf Of The Plains (Wolf of the Plains was its original name. Birth of an Empire is its US name).

Genghis Birth of an Empire (Conqueror, #1) by Conn Iggulden Wolf Of The Plains (The Conqueror Series, #1) by Conn Iggulden


message 21: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 187 comments Do re-issues count? I pretty the second ones being sold in the US.

Jean Plaidy's "Lord Robert" became "A Favorite of the Queen".


message 22: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I have noticed quite a lot of her books got renamed. I was looking through her books (here on GR) trying to help someone find one last year and so many had different names it was hard to find it.
In the end I don't think we found it.


message 23: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments And most of these title changes make no sense! What's the point. Lol


message 24: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 187 comments That has also happened to some of Elizabeth Chadwick's novels.


message 25: by Sara (new)

Sara | 82 comments Lariela wrote: "Jean Plaidy's "Lord Robert" became "A Favorite of the Queen"."

If they must change something, why didn't they keep "Lord Robert" and then add "A Favorite of the Queen" as a subtitle? Like Terri said, it becomes difficult to keep track of books when you also have to keep track of all its different titles.

It's one thing when we're dealing with translations, but within the English speaking world, I'm in favour of adding subtitles - if one must - but at least give a nod to the original title.

For example, and picking a book Terri has mentioned, why not "Genghis: Wolf Of The Plains" or "Wolf Of The Plains: Birth of an Empire"?


message 26: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments I will never understand it.
If there is no obvious racial or cultural reason then it makes no sense to tamper with titles.
Like you say Sara, they can include a different title as a sub title if they feel the need.


message 27: by C.P. (last edited Jul 24, 2013 05:00PM) (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 564 comments Well, the publishers think there is a reason. My mother had three copies of some Agatha Christies—same text, different titles. ;-)

Quite annoyed she was, too, but each time she found out too late.


message 28: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 187 comments The "Ten Little Indians"/ "And then there were none" title change? I read that one in Junior High. I still remember the plot twist.


message 29: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5197 comments Lariela wrote: "The "Ten Little Indians"/ "And then there were none" title change? I read that one in Junior High. I still remember the plot twist."

But in this case I think the title was changed because it was deemed racist. It wasn't just a random change it was a cultural change that prompted it.


message 30: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 564 comments Yes, in that case. But Sparkling Cyanide was a great title, much better than the US version: Remembered Death.


message 31: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 187 comments Sparkling Cyanide? That sounds... intriguing.


message 32: by Dawn (new)

Dawn (caveatlector) | 5197 comments And the original Thirteen At Dinner vs Lord Edgware Dies. I like the original title better there too.


message 33: by Lariela (new)

Lariela | 187 comments Oh, I found some. 'The Hollow' became 'Murder After Hours'.


message 34: by C.P. (new)

C.P. Lesley (cplesley) | 564 comments Lariela wrote: "Sparkling Cyanide? That sounds... intriguing."

My point, precisely! :-D


message 35: by [deleted user] (new)

Geez..I'd forgotten about my initial post(#8) in this thread(probably intentionally). I should have already done this by now, but as we have many new members lately, please allow me to do it now.
I sincerely apologize for that rude, immature comment. Please understand that my response to the creator of this thread had very little to do with his original post here. It had much more to do with a multitude of other comments, in other threads, that I felt were unfair to my nationality. I got tired of being characterized, in a very stereotypical way, over & over. However, that's no excuse. I should have taken the high road & kept my irritation out of this conversation.
Finally, let me say that I feel that this is a very important & legitimate topic in the world of books. And it is the US market that usually is responsible for the title changes. Why that is, is over my head. I just wanted to apologize & try to let people know that I'm usually better than that.


message 36: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (last edited Aug 01, 2013 06:22PM) (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Yeah, that ex-member really got under a few people's skin. :-) lol. No apology necessary. But I can see why you would want newbies to understand there had been back issues before that post.


message 37: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, if I were new here & saw my post, I'd think 'That Derek guy must be a complete a#%hole.lol :)


message 38: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments But as soon as they saw your other posts elsewhere in the group they would realise they were wrong. :-)


message 39: by [deleted user] (new)

Thank you, Terri. :)


message 40: by Jane (last edited Aug 04, 2013 08:22AM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments Terri wrote: "Jane wrote: I ran into the same with with Of Merchants & Heroes by Paul Waters. What do I find but I've read it under the U.S. title:
Republic of Vengeance?


Ruth Downie's books have one title in ..."

Goodness, trying to revive and practice my halting German, I'm trying to make it through a translation of Medicus. Lo and behold when I got the German translation--Tod einer Sklavin [Death of a Slave Girl], GR just refers you back to Medicus. There's a schlocky picture of Helen of Troy being carried off by Paris on the cover. Corny!! I prefer the medicine bottle that's on the U.S. edition.


message 41: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments How do you think you are going with your German. Getting better?


message 42: by Jane (last edited Aug 04, 2013 04:00PM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments Somewhat. Translation of idioms are different. Like: Downie said "back of beyond" and the translation was "Ende der Welt" [end of the world], which I guess conveys the same idea.


message 43: by Terri, Wyrd bið ful aræd (new)

Terri | 19496 comments Oh that's an interesting translation....peculiar.


message 44: by Jane (last edited Aug 04, 2013 07:24PM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments I guess it was the closest she could come to the sense...
She didn't mean it in the Apocalypse sense, I'm sure. More in the 'Ultima Thule' sense, I'd guess. :)


message 45: by Jane (last edited Aug 10, 2013 05:38PM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments I've got a problem with this one. The U.S. title sounds boring--a religion vs. science novel--plus the cover is sappy, so how many people will read it? The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the Voynich Mystery
It doesn't look intriguing until the subtitle.

The original Spanish title piques some interest, and the cover is more interesting...

El castillo de las estrellas which translates as: The castle of the stars. It concerns a mysterious manuscript, and there's lots in there about the early astronomers: Brahe, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus, so there's a tie-in. I think that's an astrolabe on the cover. Why didn't they keep the same title, only translate it into English? The translation of the text is very good.


message 46: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 539 comments Jane wrote: "I've got a problem with this one. The U.S. title sounds boring--a religion vs. science novel--plus the cover is sappy, so how many people will read it? The Book of God and Physics: A Novel of the..."

Are we talking about Medicus?


message 47: by Jane (last edited Aug 10, 2013 07:09PM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments No, no. This is a completely different book, originally in Spanish, with Title El castillo de las estrellas--see my message #47. Title changed in U.S. English translation to The book of God and physics.Enrique Joven is the author. I believe he is a Spaniard.


message 48: by Eileen (new)

Eileen Iciek | 539 comments Jane wrote: "No, no. This is a completely different book, originally in Spanish, with Title El castillo de las estrellas--see my message #47. Title changed in U.S. English translation to The book of God and p..."

I do not speak Spanish. What is the literal translation of the Spanish book title?


message 49: by Jane (last edited Aug 11, 2013 05:47PM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments I speak no Spanish either, but from my Latin I assume: Castle of the stars.
I think that was a hand holding an astrolabe on the cover of the Spanish edition. The U.S. edition I couldn't figure out the cover except it was a solid polygon and things like mathematical compasses you draw circles with. Also refer back to my message #47 up above, Eileen.


message 50: by Jane (last edited Aug 11, 2013 05:48PM) (new)

Jane | 3454 comments In reading further, I found the "castle of the stars" reference. Tycho Brahe, the Renaissance astronomer, was ceded the island of Hven by the king of Denmark and built a scientific research center he called "Uraniborg." He also had a castle called Stjerneborg or, in English "Castle of the Stars." That's probably where the title came from.


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