Sunday, May 09, 2010
TSS: When a new book isn't a new book
Just recently over at Historical Tapestry, we got sent an email about a book for an author who I have read and enjoyed two books from before. I have been keeping an eye out for any news of a new book, and so I was very excited. While I was reading the brief description provided, I was thinking that this book had a very similar setting to one of her previous books. It was only when I went to the website and read the whole synopsis that I realised that it was actually the same book with a different title. To be fair, the new title really works for the book, and I wish the author every success with their US release, but I was just a fraction disappointed when I realised that this wasn't a new book, but rather a repackaging of an old one.
This seems to happen to some authors more than others. For example, when Ariana Franklin's medieval mystery series featuring a female medical examiner was initially released, the first book was called Mistress of the Art of Death both in the US and the UK. The second book was known as The Serpent's Tale in some countries, but in others it was The Death Maze. This difference in titles continued with the third book, known as Grave Goods in some places and Relics of the Dead in others. Yet the fourth book appears to be known as A Murderous Procession everywhere. Talk about confusing!
Not too long ago, there was a Nora Roberts novel released under the name of Big Jack. What wasn't particularly clear was that this work had previously been released as the first half of Remember When, which was a novel where half had been written as Nora Roberts and the other half was written as part of the In Death series that she writes as J D Robb. If I had been buying her books only to realise that this was a poorly publicised re release I would not have been happy.
And yet I am sure that there are valid reasons for having different titles, but often those reasons are not clear to the reader. Not too long ago, I read a piece on Elizabeth Chadwick's blog where she talked about the reasons why her next US release will have a new title. Instead of being known as The Time of Singing, the book will be called For the King's Favor. If I can find the piece I will link to it. Part of the reason given was that there was some confusion for readers - some times they talked about A Time for Singing, A Time of Singing, The Time of the Singing etc, (and yes, I was guilty of getting the title wrong more than once) and so I get why it might be a good idea to have a different title, and it was interesting to read why that decision has been made. A lot of the time though, there are no reasons given. Just decisions made and the reader has to figure out for themselves that this really isn't actually a new book but one that they have already invested time and money into it.
Is this something that bothers other readers, or is something that people aren't really aware of? Have you ever found yourself reading a book that you have already read because you didn't realise that it had a new title?