Sunday, October 15, 2006

Publish and be sold

Following my recent misunderstanding with Simon Reynolds, I'm wary of second-guessing the weird cogitations that publishers go through when they amend British books for the American market. So I will simply record an objective fact, and open the floor to the rest of you as we search for the big "WHY?" Daniel Kalder's book about his travels around the less-known bits and pieces of the former Soviet Union, was called Lost Cosmonaut: Travels to the Republics That Tourism Forgot when it was published by Faber in the UK earlier this year. When Scribner brought it out in the States, they kept the title, but gave it a new subtitle: Observations of an Anti-Tourist. (The new cover's also less good, but that's another story.)

So what's the point of that? Exactly how is the new title supposed to have the bibliophiles of Buffalo and Boulder rushing to the tills, when they might have dropped anything bearing the first title with a distaste previously reserved for a text message from Mark Foley? Anyone care to hazard a guess?

Also: Nick Cave [quietly, to Beth Orton]: Who are Busted?

20 comments:

orange anubis said...

My wild guess would be about that word 'Republics' - do the US editors think their potential readers might accidentally make a subconscious connection with the Republican party when they see it?

Anonymous said...

Re the Nick Cave comment, that made me chuckle.
I always thought that they changed book titles in America because generally they have worse vocabularies than we do. I think though that their language is just different.

Molly Bloom said...

That's a bit like the changing of the film title to 'The Madness of King George' - who says 'King George' and not George the Fourth? People were thought to say it was a sequel and ask for parts 1, 2 and 3.

Sigh.

I'm with Orange on this. And the fact that the sub-title kind of makes it a bit 'easier' for people to understand.

Sigh.

Busted. Subtitle: not a crime discovery, but a four piece boy-band a bit like other boy-bands like, um, Take That? Or New Kids on the Block.

Kids as in, not real kids, but sort of older boys.Block as in da street. Not wooden blocks that you play with. Take That - does not encourage people to steal, it is merely a phrase. Please do not steal.

Etc.

Molly Bloom said...

Just being silly. I'll stop...sorry!

dh said...

They wanted something snappy and rebellious. Not just another boring travel book for old people.

patroclus said...

God bless Nick Cave.

I found four typos within the first five minutes of flicking through today's OMM. If I was Jarvis I wouldn't have wanted to put my name to it.

Tim Footman said...

OA: Possible... but what do they call Plato's Republic?

Now, Doc that's unkind. I don't think America actually has a higher proportion of stupid people than Britain does. It's just that American stupids are louder and more important than ours.

Molly: Be silly. We like it.

DH: I think you might have something there. I think they may be trying to promote "anti-tourism" as a branded lifestyle choice, or somesuch witless shite.

Patroclus: I never really know how much input these guest editors have. Anyone remember when Cherie Blair edited an edition of Bella?

The word variation is "fzzok" which is something to do with using sparklers in an intimate manner.

dh said...

Bungy jumping in the Urals, scuba diving in Murmansk, snow-boarding in Siberia, eating exotic insects in Chechnya that kind of thing.

First Nations said...

dh is exactly right. it sounds racier. you get to cop a little of that 'seg-you-way' riding, teleheadset-talking, 20something ironic hair coolio just by flashing the title on the subway!!

Joel said...

I'm concerned about the world-shattering explosion that may result from the meeting of Tourist and Anti-Tourist.

Pisces Iscariot said...

At the risk of sounding Anti-American... is it because they're fucking stupid?

Anonymous said...

We all know what happens when American meets anti-American, maybe when tourist meets anti-tourist a whole lot of tall buildings get blown up.

Tim Footman said...

Oooh dear... sarcastic anti-Americanism meets quantum physics. It'll all end in tears, you know that...

First Nations said...

anti americans: yeah, woo, other expressions of dismay, i'm sure not used to that. gasp, clutch the pearls etc.

btw, on a totally unrelated note, does anyone know what happened to patroclus??????? her link goes here now:
http://www.searchyouneed.info/search.php?q=panty%20quest%20gallery

pantyquest gallery. yes, thats right. and while thats kinda cool, i worry.

Molly Bloom said...

You can't get on Patroclus at all now. I hope that she is alright.

Tim Footman said...

Yeah, sorry about that, FN. I did warn them. I said, saying nasty things about Americans won't get you anywhere. Look at what happened to Saddam. C'mon, enough with the Yank-bashing, people. What is this, Comment is Free?

As for Patroclus, she's had a little local difficulty, but according to James (who is currently her representative in cyberspace as well as being her showbiz studmuffin), she'll be back soon, maybe under a slightly different address.

First Nations said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
First Nations said...

hey, folks, this is not my place, this is tims place. y'all say what you feel. i would hope that, at my age, im not so thin skinned that i take generalized criticism personally, ya limey bastards.

Pisces Iscariot said...

Sorry folks, I was having an 'off' moment. Comes from living in New Zealand - only country in the world where the unicycle is considered a viable means of transport.

First Nations said...

pisces I: sweetheart, rock on. say what you have to. no hard feelings a-tall.