I have read the Red Rising trilogy as paperbacks published by Del Rey, a US publisher. (I bought these books while in the US.)

Now being based in Europe, I want to starting buying the follow-up trilogy, and noticed there are two versions of each book, one by Del Rey (Iron Gold and Dark Age) and one by Hodder & Stoughton (a British publisher: Iron Gold and Dark Age).

Are these different? Is maybe one US English spelling and one British English spelling? (Note that the author is an American.) If not, why are two publishers to begin with?

Some motivation for my question (beyond general interest) is that I would not like switching from US English to British English during one story line; also, I like to read authors' works as originally as possible, usually. However, the British books are a bit cheaper in Germany. So, would I be able to buy the British publisher's version and still continue reading US English?

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    I do not know those books but I have Mercedes Lackey books published in the UK while my friend collect the USA versions. The covers are different but the content is the same.
    – Willeke
    Mar 2, 2019 at 20:22
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    I was wondering the same thing...
    – xilpex
    Mar 4, 2019 at 2:04
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    @bers Use of American instead of British spelling. Generally speaking in literature, this does not happen. The Rowling thing was an exception to the rule, as far as I know.Part of the reason may have been the young audience. I don't think most authors would appreciate having their works' changed, regardless of which side of the pond they are on.
    – Lambie
    Mar 6, 2019 at 14:26
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    @Lambie actually, Harry Potter wasn't the only case. Diana Wynne Jones's books, when published in the USA, got their spelling changed to American. And Terry Pratchett's The Colour of Magic became The Color of Magic. So it does happen, and not only to children's books either. I've never seen it happening when American books are published in the UK though. All my UK-published American-written books have their American spelling in place. Mar 6, 2019 at 14:42
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    I would call this localization. I believe that some of Agatha Christie's novels were localized in their early US editions, as well as having title changes. Apparently US publishers at the time thought that "British" spellings would harm sales Mar 6, 2019 at 18:22

3 Answers 3


I've seen a few books been published exactly as they were, and also many books that have been changed according to the place they're being published in, not only in language but also the context that may not be appropriate or understandable by the local readers.

So I think it totally depends on the writer and/or the publisher whether they think the changes are needed or not.


Since they are both the English language I highly doubt that a different translation is what you are looking at here. The most they would do would be to alter some slang, which would change the way the book was supposed to be read. This would also be more trouble than it's worth. Translations cost time and money.

I think what you are most likely seeing is a case of publication rights being sold to two separate publishers to reach a wider audience. I found a wealth of information that explains such things HERE. You would probably end up with two identical books that have the names of different publishers on them. It would only start to change if you moved to a different language entirely -like German- which these books have been translated into as well. From what I can tell they are highly popular.

Hope this helps!


It can go either way. I remember being very young the first time I read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and thinking it was hilarious that Arthur had to go into the basement of the planning council carrying a torch. I thought there were no flashlights available!

On the other hand, the first Harry Potter book had all instances of 'Philosopher's Stone' replaced with 'Sorcerer's Stone' and I won't even attempt to explain why.

It is up to the individual publisher, and occasionally the contract with the author. I'd say your chances are 50/50.

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