Sunday, April 18, 2010

Book Rambling: Multiple Titles, Same Book

This book rambling post brought to you by the fact that I found my old copy of Non Campus Mentis, now available as Ignorance is Blitz. Now, that is a funny book! It's also a prime example of what this post is about: books that have been reprinted under new titles. I'm not even going to go anywhere near the issue of reprinting books in omnibus editions. That's actually caught me several times when I've bought a book only to discover that I've already got the books it contains - Andre Norton's titles being the worst offenders here.

Different titles for the same book can create quite the stir - remember when they were first publishing the Harry Potter books, how much of an issue the retitling of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone to Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone in the U.S.A. was? That's not the only book that's been given a different title for the American market. I know of at least one other too: Clothair The Frank, by Jack Whyte was called The Spear Carrier IIRC.

North American markets vs European ones are another cause of multiple titles: I know the first book by Diana Gabaldon as Outlander, but in England the book is called Cross Stitch. And, one of Anne McCaffrey's books was given a different title in the U.K.. If my memory is correct, the book was Dragonseye, retitled Red Star Rising.

Those aren't the most frustrating ones though - you just have to watch out at the library - they're less likley to be at the bookstore. It's the books that are reprinted in the same country that really drive me somewhat nuts.

Alison Weir's book on Katherine of Swynford was published in Canada hardcover as Katherine Swynford: The Story of John of Gaunt and his Scandalous Wife, but the paperback is called Mistress Of The Monarchy and both are on the shelf together. And, there's the book that I introduced this post with: Non Campus Mentis/Ignorance is Blitz. The third book I've run into recently where they've given it a new title is Tim Moore's Travels With My Donkey, which is the title I own it as, being widely available as Spanish Steps.

So far, I've mostly been able to catch these before I actually buy them. Mostly because I still buy the majority of my books through a physical bookstore where I can look through the book before I pay for it. Buying over the internet, though it gives me a greater selection, I can't get a feel for the book first.

So have you been conned into spending money on a book you think is a new one, only to discover you already have it?


Troy Simpson said...

These "Howlers" books, like Ignorance is Blitz, seem to be a popular genre for repackaging the same content under different titles. Many of them (but not Ignorance is Blitz) trace back to Cecil Hunt's collection of 1928, which in turn replicated many of the howlers published in an annual collection published by the University Correspondent magazine in the 1890s and early 1900s. You can find a collection of Howlers books, including the same books published under different titles, at

Unknown said...

Thanks for the tip, Troy. I'll have to look into those one day.


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