Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Discussion Post: Do Title Changes Bother You?

This post was born after I received a copy of Before I Die by Jenny Downham at the RHCP Blogger Brunch...Before I Die is a title I'm very familiar with but the copy I was given was of the newly titled Now is Good, renamed to tie in with the movie adaptation. This got me thinking about title changes and whether or not I think they're a good idea.

Basically, I think they're a bad idea. Title changes for a film tie in or a reissue don't bother me so much but when a book is released at the same time in different countries with a different title? Yeah, that really grates on me. It makes things unnecessarily confusing and doesn't really seem to achieve anything other than piss readers off. I know the reasoning behind it is that a title might do well in one country but not in another but, really, I think if you've chosen a title that would be so unpopular in one country it might affect your sales it's probably worth considering a title that's universally appealing.

I think in a market as saturated at the YA market currently is, branding is a huge key to success and different titles (usually accompanied by a different cover) definitely don't help to build a universally recognisable brand. For me, personally, there is such a huge choice of books available that having to spend time online checking whether Cryers Cross and The Missing are the same book or not is going to grate on me. When two titles are completely different all it says to me is that the publisher doesn't have a clear view of what the book really is, what's it about, who it's aimed at, the tone it sets. Most of my favourite books have titles that are so perfect, such a brilliant fit for the book, that they could never be called anything else and I think the cover and title are just as important at creating a sense of identity for a book as the story itself, when it comes to marketing and sales, at least.

I was chatting to a few people on Twitter about this last week and with the help of the lovely Jenny from Wondrous Reads, Michelle from Fluttering Butterflies, Sammee from I Want to Read that, Daniela Sacerdoti (@DaniSacerdoti) and Sarah Pollock (@SarahcPollock) I've compiled a list of YA books that have been released with more than one title:

  • Finding Violet Park/Me, the Missing & the Dead (UK/US) - Jenny Valentine
  • Smoulder/The Space Between (UK/US) - Brenna Yovanoff
  • Wood Angel/Plain Kate (UK/US) by Erin Bow (WTF? These titles are SO different!)
  • Mockingjay/Il Canto Della Rivolta (The Rebellion Song) (UK/Italy) - Suzanne Collins
  • Cryer's Cross/The Missing (US/UK) - Lisa McMann
  • Dreamless/Hades (UK/Sweden) - Josephine Angelini
  • The Gathering Dark/Shadow & Bone (UK/US) - Leigh Bardugo
  • Hearts at Stake/My Love Lies Bleeding (US/UK) - Alyxandra Harvey 
  • Willow/Scarred (US/UK) - Julia Hoban
  • Demonglass/Raising Demons (US/UK) - Rachel Hawkins
  • A Northern Light/A Gathering Light (US/UK) - Jennifer Donnelly 
  • Now is Good/Before I Die (Movie tie-in) - Jenny Downham
  • Ten Things We Did (and Probably Shouldn't Have)/Ten Things We Shouldn't Have Done (US/UK) - Sarah Mlynowski

Maybe I'm the only one bothered by this. What do you think? Does it put you off when a book is released with a different title or don't you mind? Have you ever been caught out by title changes and thought the book was a new release from the author? Let me know what you think, I'd love to hear your opinions.


  1. Yes! Same! I find it really annoying when they do this too! All it does is really confuse everyone! I can understand if they change it for a film tie in or when its being translated into another language but otherwise... WHY DO THEY DO IT?!?!!

  2. It really annoys me as well, but I do understand that the publishers have to do everything that they think best to get it to sell in their market and titles do make a difference.

  3. Personally I find it really frustrating. When the title changes you end up with 2 copies as you think you haven't read it with the different title. And pupils come in with a title & don't believe you that its the same book lol

  4. The awkward moment when I realize that Hearts at Stake and Love Lies Bleeding are the same book... (I obviously haven't read the book, but have seen both titles lurking).

    So, that should give you an answer. I'm not a fan; I get confused.

  5. It always confuses me! Especially when they change the cover and blurb- I've rebrought a book once because it was presented so differently!
    Another two older ones are Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (different in USA) and Northern Lights (Golden Compass)- both taking the US title for the film!

  6. I find it really annoying. It took me ages to work out that The Gathering Dark and Shadow and Bone are the same book and as for Ten Things… argh! I HATE the UK title and cover *rant over before it starts*

  7. Yes, it really annoys me. Mostly because I get confused easily. AND I've picked up same book with different titles before which makes me very unhappy.

  8. I have to say, it is quite annoying. I was just looking on a UK book blog and saw The Gathering Dark by Leigh Bardugo, and didn't even know that it was the same book!


Thank you kindly for the comment, you sweet thing.