Linda Maye Adams

The Importance of Book Titles


My uncle, Ernie Rydberg, wrote a children’s book (not YA; this was before YA existed) wrote a book called The Day the Indians Came.  I remember going into my school library and spotting a book with the exact same name — but it hadn’t been written by him.  At the time, I was outraged.  This other writer stole my uncle’s title!

I think it was the first time that I saw that book titles could be duplicated.  Then, though, that was the days of card catalogs.  Now it’s day of the search engine.

And that’s where the problem comes in.  I went to Capclave over the weekend and heard a panel where a book was discussed.  It was about a black woman with a disability who was a pirate.  One of the panelists had been a model for the cover, which I got a look at.  Of course, I had to get it, so after the con ended for the day, I went up to search for the book.

This is what I knew:

The title of the book, which was Ascension.

The cover was green and had a black woman on it.

I didn’t have the name of the author.

So I searched Barnes and Noble.  I figured it would pop up in the first two or three books.  It wasn’t there.  At first, I thought that the book hadn’t been posted to B&N.  In the indie circles, writers will publish their book on Amazon, and then forget about Barnes and Noble.  But this one did come from a small press, and those are pretty good about being everywhere.  So I started scrolling.

The book was in the fourth row, at the end, and there were more books that followed, also with the same title.

More unusual titles help a book be found in this world of internet searching.  Have you had any similar troubles finding a book?

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