Whew! I’m relieved June is over, and I can talk about something other than THE NOVEL. Today I want to address a question that’s been niggling at me for some time:

Why the heck are there so many books with IDENTICAL titles?

When I say identical, I’m not referring to trends. There have long been title trends. In recent years we’ve had a slew of wife and daughter titles:

The Time Traveler’s Wife
The Aviator’s Wife
The Paris Wife
The Silent Wife

The Hangman’s Daughter
The Heretic’s Daughter
The Bonesetter’s Daughter
The Memory Keeper’s Daughter
just to name a few.

Then, with the success of Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl, we suddenly had a rush of girl titles:

The Forever Girl
The Good Girl
The English Girl
The Boston Girl
so on and so forth.

It’s clear these trends are meant to capture the cachet of an already popular book. I don’t have an issue with the approach. Sure, it hints at a lack of originality, but oh well. I’ve never once confused The Hangman’s Daughter with The Heretic’s Daughter. These titles are clearly different, and the books easy to identify on Amazon, Goodreads, Indiebound, etc.

It is better to fail in originality
than to succeed in imitation
~Herman Melville

But say someone recommends the novel Innocence. Unless I know the author is David Hosp, how am I supposed to pinpoint the book? A search brings up not just every book titled Innocence—and they are legion—but every book with ‘innocence’ in the title, usually with the biggest seller topping the list. In this instance, Dean Koontz.

This is so frustrating for me as a reader!

Being like Everybody is the same as being nobody. ~Rod Serling

Need more examples? Do a search and see how many books are titled Twisted or The Wrong Girl or The Alchemist’s Daughter. Mind-boggling. There is an endless supply of these knockoff titles.

Why wouldn’t an author want his or her book to stand out and be easy for readers to find? Aren’t writers and publishers shooting themselves in the foot with these duplicate titles? What am I missing here?

Do you do a search to make sure there aren’t other
books/stories in print with your title?

Is there an advantage to
recycling a title?