Why do books have different titles in the US and here or the UK?

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Gabrielle and I have been having an interesting conversation for a couple of days which I thought might be about something the rest of you might have wondered about too, that is, why does the same story end up with a different title in different countries?

In Gabi’s case she asked if Red Lotus by Pai Kit Fai was the same book as The Concubine’s Daughter or not. In the front of the Red Lotus it says ‘First Published in the USA as The Concubine’s Daughter in 2009 by St Martin’s Press, first published in Great Britain in 2009 by Sphere’. Doing some research Gabrielle looked at one website where people put their opinions of the book and a couple of people had read both and gave me the distinct impression that they were different books!!!

 Indeed the ‘blurbs’ in Amazon for the two titles (but one story) seemed to be fairly dissimilar (see below) and it certainly isn’t very clear. The publication dates are fairly close (Sept 09 cf Feb 2010) and from these two Amazon descriptions (below) and from what Gabrielle said about what was in her copy,  I’d say they were the same book. It’s really annoying that books can be published under different titles – a nightmare for us cataloguing types!

Concubine’s Daughter Editorial Reviews on Amazon

In 1906 Southern China, newborn Li-Xia (Li) is nearly murdered by her elderly father because she is a girl, only to be saved by the specter of a fox fairy. Li lives in a rice shed mostly forgotten, as she wonders about her dead mother, who had been an educated concubine. After Li rebels against attempts to bind her feet, she is sold on her eighth birthday to a silk merchant and finds a temporary family among the female laborers while she dreams of learning to read and write. Capt. Benjamin Jean-Paul Devereaux rescues her by buying her freedom and safe passage on his ship, and she is able to fulfill her dream of literacy. They marry, defying societal norms, but in Hong Kong, Li is assaulted by an enemy of her husband, and fearing for her newborn girl, Siu-Sing, she has the child taken to safety in the mountains. Siu-Sing learns about her lineage and returns to face her own tribulations as WWII is about to begin. Fai’s multigenerational tale has predictable elements, but is nonetheless an engaging and entertaining read. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

or

An epic, heart-wrenching story of a mother and daughter’s journey to their destiny. Lotus Feet. He would give his daughter the dainty feet of a courtesan. This would enhance her beauty and her price, making her future shine like a new coin. He smiled to himself, pouring fresh tea. And it would stop her from running away… When the young concubine of an old farmer in rural China gives birth to a daughter called Li-Xia, or “Beautiful One,” the child seems destined to become a concubine herself. Li refuses to submit to her fate, outwitting her father’s orders to bind her feet and escaping the silk farm with an English sea captain. Li takes her first steps toward fulfilling her mother’s dreams of becoming a scholar—but her final triumph must be left to her daughter, Su Sing, “Little Star,” in a journey that will take her from remote mountain refuges to the perils of Hong Kong on the eve of World War II.

 Red Lotus review on Amazon

Yip Mann, an elderly spice farmer, should have known better than to purchase a fifteen-year-old cherry-girl as his concubine, especially one beautiful enough to be seen as Ch’ien Gum – comparable to a thousand pieces of gold. But surely he deserves such a plaything to give him the last of his sons. To Yip Mann’s dismay, the wilful concubine dies bearing him a worthless girl-child. After her death he must make use of the girl as best he can: by binding her feet in the forbidden practice of the Golden Lotus, he can sell her for a higher price. But the daughter he names Li-Xia – Beautiful One – has the fighting spirit of her rebellious mother, escaping the crippling bandages: she knows her feet will be her freedom. And when they lead her into the path of a mysterious ‘foreign devil’, Li-Xia takes the first steps on a new and perilous journey …

Not obviously the same book. As you might have noticed you will also find the covers can be completely different – I was hoping the covers might give me a clue with Gabrielle’s book but NO! With books we in Oz seem to get the UK versions sometimes but the US versions at other times and in the library we can get both versions, one from one supplier and the other from another supplier (– goes cross-eyed!)

 I googled “why do books have different titles in the US and the UK sometimes?” Here’s a couple of answers – read the comments too!

 http://editorialass.blogspot.com/2009/07/why-do-british-novels-often-have.html

http://www.amazon.com/Child-publishing-same-different-titles/forum/Fx1Q4M88L8HCB53/Tx3MJ5CFOLK0RBH/1?_encoding=UTF8&asin=0375433392

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One response »

  1. Pingback: Different covers « Book Thieves

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