The Title Of This Post Has Been Used Before

April 14th, 2006 · 1 Comment
by Booksquare

As we have been slowly (make that really slowly) working on another project, we have become enthralled by the notion of multiple books by the same title. It has has taken all of our inconsiderable will power to avoid the temptation to delve deeply into the “same title, different book” canon*.

Let us just say that the Associated Press story (via The Los Angeles Times) article on this very topic is not doing much for our resolve. Especially since there’s this:

Romance, mystery and other genre books are particularly likely to have recycled titles because of the vast numbers that are published and their brief lives in the public’s memory — meaning a name can be brought back within a few years.

Of course, with every simple solution to a complex problem, there’s a twist. One that would cause us hours of amusement if we were the type to enjoy the pain of others:

“In the system where we order books, you can do it by title or by author, and because we weren’t aware that two books called ‘Gone’ were being published, both suspense thrillers by popular authors, we only ordered the one by Lisa Gardner,” she says. “It was only when patrons started asking for the Kellerman [Jonathan, lest one confuse the Kellermans, another issue entirely] book that we realized we had made a mistake.”

Naturally, we would be remiss if we neglected to offer a simple solution: a five-year moratorium on title reuse. Yes, yes, we know. So simple, it’s elegant. We live to serve.

* – Also, we’re fairly certain we just made this canon up.

File Under: Square Pegs

1 response so far ↓

  • maxine // Apr 19, 2006 at 6:30 am

    Hi, I agree a moratorium sounds like a good idea, but how does the publishing industry achieve it in practice? I suppose a publisher could search for a title before confirming it, but this would not catch books in preparation or advancing through the process in other publishing companies? I imagine it would be difficult to achieve it in practice, even if all publishers would agree to do it.
    I nearly added a Harlan Coben book to your “Gone” list, but I think that one was “gone for good”.
    It is very difficult for the reader when books have such similar titles. I find it hard when a series has a title consisting of one simple (ie forgettable) word that is the same and one variant.
    Examples: J D Robb’s “….in Death” series. (Origin, Purity, Judgement, etc). And John Sandford’s “….Prey” series (Mortal, Broken etc). I can never remember which I’ve read and which I haven’t.