BORDER CROSSINGS: Same Title, Different Book – So What?

BORDER CROSSINGS: Same Title, Different Book – So What?

When Charles and I deliberated over titles for his memoir we knew there were other books with the title BORDER CROSSINGS, but it didn’t matter to us. It’s also a title we selected in 2003 for a gallery exhibit of Charles’ paintings, his reentry to the local art scene after a ten-year hiatus. The paintings displayed were inspired by Charles’ life and world travel. Commenting on the exhibit title, Charles remarked, “I have been crossing borders my entire life, whether they be geographical, cultural, educational, physical or interpersonal. I’ve always been challenged by the crossings as they inevitably bring conflict and the great reward of learning something new.”

When it came time to name the book, BORDER CROSSINGS seemed natural. Charles believed it was the overarching theme of his life. We knew the subject of his memoir was rare and believed that we could make BORDER CROSSINGS unique and marketable with a distinctive subtitle – Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance. Furthermore, I’m a librarian and though my Internet searches showed there were many books with our selected title, in my long career I had never personally seen one book entitled BORDER CROSSINGS  – that is until March 22, 2013.

On March 22-23, 2013, I was a first-time exhibitor at the Historical Society of Michigan “Local History Conference” held in a Detroit suburb. Many exhibitors were small and/or university presses competing for sales of their history books, hopefully of interest to the conference audience. Their titles were attractively displayed and marketed to capture the interest of potential buyers. My exhibit, on a table shared with another “micro” publisher for budget reasons, was eye-catching and packed with colorful literature emblazoned with BORDER CROSSINGS: Coming of Age in the Czech Resistance – books, signage, postcards, business cards, bookmarks, etc.  The title was so obvious that in a recent Facebook posting with an image of my exhibit I was jokingly asked, “What is the title of your book?”

On day one of the conference my exhibit caught the eye of conference attendee Joel Stone, Senior Curator with the Detroit Historical Society and co-editor of the history book BORDER CROSSINGS: The Detroit River Region in the War of 1812! His book tells about “U.S. General William Hull’s surrender of Detroit to the British under General Isaac Brock in August 1812.. For more than a year, until September 1813, Detroit remained in the hands of the British. Americans then occupied settlements on the Canadian side of the Detroit River until July 1815-well past the official end of the war. These multiple “border crossings” had profound implications for the diverse inhabitants of the Detroit River region, including widespread privation, imprisonment, enemy attacks, and dispossession of homes and land.”

Stone and I chuckled about the twin titles and compared publication dates. Mine was October 21, 2012. His was November 5, 2012. They were basically published at the same time. We both seemed unconcerned with potential competition from the other. The books shared the genre(s) of non-fiction and history, but in totally different time periods and locations. Stone bought a copy of Charles’ book. I later reciprocated as his book was being sold by another conference exhibitor.

BORDER CROSSINGS: Same Title, Different Book – So What?

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