Localized spelling (was: RE: Mister Monday)

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at netvision.net.il
Wed Sep 24 01:35:35 EDT 2003

Robyn wrote:
I asked this question of a colleague who teaches history of the
book/publishing. We were talking about the issue of the 1st Harry Potter
book. She basically said that this was an attitude taken by publishers a
number of years ago, and as far as she could see it had become an industry
standard which really had very little to do with readers' desires. (This
was in the context of her sending a Canadian edition of HP5 to her niece in
the US.)>>>

I talked to a British publisher of Children's Picture Books at the Bologna
Book fair a couple of years ago, who was very bitter about the changes that
American publishers demand in their imported versions of his books. It
doesn't stop with spelling, he said they basically rewrite the book
according to their own standards and showed me a few very convincing and
rather interesting examples. I wish I had made note of the books' titles as
I imagine this would make a very good topic for an essay...

But really, it's been common practice for years to make these kinds of
changes. Think of Black Maria / Aunt Maria, (ObDWJ), or Noel Streatfields
books which seemingly all had to tack on a "Shoes" in their title before
crossing the pond ("Curtain Up" became "Theatre Shoes", "Thursday's Child"
became "Travelling Shoes" etc etc). I suppose the idea was to more closely
link them to "Ballet Shoes" which was her first great success, someone must
have thought it would be better for sales. And this was years ago, when my
mother was young enough to read them, must have been the fifties...

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