I received this letter this morning:
RE: The Novel Title "Dead River"
Are you aware that the title of your new novel is the same as another novel published February 2010?
Professional courtesy would call for you to change the title of your novel to avoid confusion even though the genres are different.
Most all professional writers do due diligence and check titles of published novels so these conflicts do not occur.
My response was this:
Dear (Name Redacted):
I am aware of this. However, I believe "most all professional writers" are aware that book titles can not be copyrighted. And because there are millions of books on Amazon, with thousands being added every day, it is a very common occurance for books to have the same title. I am actually surprised there are not more books entitled "Dead River", considering there a quite a few Dead Rivers in the United States, and it does make for a very creepy title.
The book you are referencing came out awhile ago, and it's not the same genre, so there can be little confusion. I would like to point out to you my novel SLEEPLESS, which came out in 2010. If you check it on Amazon, you will see MANY books with that title. Ironically, two of them are the same genre as mine. Yet, I have never once had my titles confused with theirs. Another book of mine, TOUCHED, which came out this month, shares its title with another book in the same genre, coming out later this year. I consider those to be closer matches than what you have provided me, and yet, as I have learned, there is little reason to be concerned.
I am fortunate to be working with a major publisher who regularly consults the market and makes determinations for me as to what my titles should be. If they have any concerns over conflict, believe me, they would address them.
Thank you for your concern.
FAIRY TALE (Delacorte, out now!)
SLEEPLESS (Delacorte, out now!)
STARSTRUCK (Delacorte, out now!)
TOUCHED (Delacorte, out now!)
DEAD RIVER (Delacorte, April 9, 2013)
What are your thoughts about two books having the same title?
UPDATE: The person who contacted me earlier responded. The response is so laughable that I should probably not feed the troll, but sometimes I can't help myself.
Of course titles can not be copyrighted, you missed the point. This is not a legal issue but a professional one.
I already stated below, the genres are not the same, however, there still could be confusion having the same title ...
Your publisher may want to do a better job next time.