Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Book An Existing Title

As you browse through the book market, you will find out that there are many books sharing the same title. You ask yourself, is this a mere coincidence or intentional? I will go ahead and say that most of the times it’s coincidental. But how much respect will you give a book having the same title as a book which already has made a household name?

The following books by different authors, share same title:

Great Expectations by Charles Dickens (1960)
Great Expectations by Kathy Acher ( 1994)
The Cave by Tim Krabbé
The Cave by José Saramago
The Doubles by José Saramago
The Doubles by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Presently, there is no law forbiding the use of an existing book title. In other words, there is no copyright attached to any book title. However, using a book title of a best seller may look like you’re trying to lure people into buying your book by using the title of a popular one. How cool is that?

If you are a factual writer, you may find avoiding an existing book title difficult. Nonetheless, you can make some changes to the existing title to create a unique one.

As a creative writer, it becomes imperative to give your book a unique or uncommon title. This unique title gives your book a special presence in the market. You need to be cautious with titles. You need to research your title well before publishing.

Think about branding your book. Things might go well and your book becomes popular and therefore ‘branded’. A ‘branded book’ is well sought after and has a unique name on it. Books like; Things Fall Apart, Harry Potter, Pride And Prejudice, Arrow Of God, Macbeth, to mention but a few are well sought after and therefore ‘branded.’

Common sense will tell you that a book can’t be that successful if it’s left to compete or be confused with other successful books bearing the same title, except if it’s published first and already successful before its rivals, as is the case witb Charles Dicken’s Great Expectations.

Since it’s allowed to use an existing book title, you might be conned into using one. Do not be tricked. it’s wise to avoid using such, if not for any reason, to prevent confusion and increased competition in the book market.

3 thoughts on “Why You Shouldn’t Give Your Book An Existing Title”

  1. Ingenuity and intentionality are key in choosing the title of a book. I believe that creative minds can explore the world and words and carve a niche for themselves even with titling a book.

    This is such a balanced read. Kudos, Flourence.


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