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BB Book Club | UK vs USA Book Title Changes

If you missed this month’s Book Club announcement, we’re reading Alexander McCall Smith’s book, Portuguese Irregular Verbs. Head on back to that original post to get an overview of what it’s about.

In short, it’s a book about a philology professor (philology is the study of written language), and his adventures. As part of July’s language-y theme, I thought it would be fun to look at some of the ways in which language works in the books we read. In a recent post called Book Titles In Other Languages, we took a look at the changes that book titles go through when they’re being translated into or out of English. 

In my research for that post I found quite a few book titles that didn’t change between languages, but rather changed across English itself, most commonly between the United Kingdom and the United States (and sometimes Canada, though Canada titles and US titles were often the same). 

A book's title will change when it is being published in a new country for a few reasons; the words aren't relevant or don't mean the same thing as they do in the original country, if it's a saying that's not well known or used in the new country then it might change, the overall concept is slightly different, or the publishers think it'll do better with an altered name. 

Check out this infographic of UK vs USA book titles that have changed names as they’ve travelled over the Atlantic. 

A few honourable mentions:

P.G. Wodehouse and Agatha Christie have numerous titles between them that have changed.

Jenny Nimmo, the English author who wrote the Charlie Bone series, also had ‘Charlie Bone and the’ added to the beginning of most American versions, as well as a multitude of other alterations.

Further afield, Schindler’s List, by Thomas Keneally was originally called Schindler’s Ark, and was changed when the Australian novel was released in America. 

Can you think of anymore? Perhaps it’s an Australian or New Zealand novel that’s been changed up for the English or American market? Do share! 

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