WHEN J.K. ROWLING published the first Harry Potter book in 1997, she put her American publishers in a bit of a bind. The book title, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, was changed to Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone in the United States. This was because the US publisher, Scholastic, thought children wouldn’t buy a book with the word “philosopher” in the title, even if it was one of the best children’s books of all time.
Rowling later regretted the decision. The “philosopher’s stone” was believed to be an actual alchemical substance at one time, while the “sorcerer’s stone” was, more than anything else, a symbol of the Disneyfication of American culture. But retitling is hardly a new thing. The US and UK swap culture with each other all the time, but thanks to differences in our dialects of the English language, sometimes the titles don’t change over all that well. Here are some more.