A book by any other name: why does the US change so many titles?

Stuart Turton’s new novel The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle has been supersized to Seven and a Half – and not because Americans die more often

There was widespread reaction when the Philosopher’s Stone in the title of the first Harry Potter book became the Sorcerer’s Stone after its US publisher, Scholastic, decided that children might confuse wizards for Plato.

But hordes of books have had their titles changed in America. Disproportionately, they are mysteries. Twenty-five Agatha Christie titles have been “localised” but unfortunately, their new names do not add to their allure. Instead, they merely baffle Brits who, when buying Murder in Three Acts or Poirot Loses a Client on vacation, discover they are Three Act Tragedy or Dumb Witness in disguise.

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