Confused? I certainly was!

As I get older, I get more confused … and is doesn’t help when a publisher appears to publish different books with the same title!

Yesterday during a visit to the local branch of Waterstones I saw a book on the Osprey display stand that confused me. It was a recently published book in their ‘Campaign’ series entitled KURSK 1943. Now I knew that I already had a book with that title and published by Osprey on my bookshelves … but I also knew that I bought it quite a long time ago. Being intrigued – and a little bit confused – I bought it … and when I got home I discovered that it was in fact a completely new book.

My original book is actually entitled KURSK 1943: THE TIDE TURNS IN THE EAST. It was written by Mark Healy and was published by Qsprey Publishing in May 1992 as ‘Campaign No.16’ (ISBN 978 1 85532 211 0).

It contains chapters entitled:

  • The Origins of the Battle
  • The Opposing Commanders
  • The Opposing Armies
  • Opposing Plans and Preparations
  • The Battle of Kursk
  • The Aftermath
  • The Chronology
  • A Guide to Further Reading
  • Wargaming Kursk

The new book is KURSK 1943: THE NORTHERN FRONT, and was written by Robert Forczyk with illustrations by Steve Noon. It was published by Qsprey Publishing in September 2014 as ‘Campaign No.272’ (ISBN 978 1 78200 819 4).

It contains chapters entitled:

  • Origins of the campaign
  • Chronology
  • Opposing commanders
  • Opposing armies
  • Orders of battle
  • Opposing plans
  • The campaign
  • Aftermath
  • The battlefields today
  • Further reading

So I have ended up with two very different books with what appears to be the same name from the same publisher.

Confused? I certainly was!

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18 Comments on “Confused? I certainly was!”

  1. nobby says:

    I believe that they have a habit of changing the cover but not the content some times.
    I've bought a couple that I had already, but under an earlier cover.

  2. Nobby,

    I was afraid that this might have been the case with this book … but it is a completely new book.

    All the best,

    Bob

  3. Osprey's more confusing habit is to change either the cover art or the format (softbound vs hardbound). More than once I have bought duplicates due to this tendency.

  4. Jonathan Freitag,

    Osprey do seem to have made a bit of a habit of doing that … and like you I have also unintentionally bought duplicate copies of books published by them.

    All the best,

    Bob

  5. Conrad Kinch says:

    A shabby Nazi trick by all accounts.

  6. Conrad Kinch,

    How very true!

    All the best,

    Bob

  7. Pete. says:

    The key is in the subtitle: The Northern Front. Osprey have seemed to have gone back and expanded on earlier books. From one volume on Normandy 1944 to many on DDay and after.

    Cheers,

    Pete.

  8. Pete.,

    You are quite right; it's just a pity that they do not make that clear.

    In fact the new book is excellent, and I am very pleased that I bought it.

    All the best,

    Bob

  9. KEV. says:

    Yes- indeed re-issuing Publications with the same title is one way Publishers create new customers – though with completely new content the Publisher should make the effort to come up with a New Title as well. Regards. KEV.

  10. Kev,

    In this case the publisher nearly lost a sale because they did not make it obvious that this was a new book and not just a re-issued old one.

    All the best,

    Bob

  11. 'Bastard Corporation'. But it seems on this occasion to have had the serendipitous effect of your becoming the proud – and rare? – owner of a two-volume work on the Kursk Operation.

    I was wondering what its take on it is now? My first readings of the operation in were the Second World War magazine series and F.W. von Mellinthin's book 'Panzer Battles'. These indicated that the Germans ran up against a brick wall pretty much, made slender gains at great cost, and, of course, there was that huge tank action at Prokhorovka that has to some extent been debunked in recent times.

  12. Fitz-Badger says:

    Oh, yes! Then there's the practice of reissuing/republishing a book with practically no change except the title. I have been caught by that more than once.
    I can't keep track of all of the books I have, so I use software to do so. Then the trick is to have a readily accessible version of my catalog when I am out browsing bookstores.

  13. Archduke Piccolo,

    The new book is a welcome addition to my existing collection. It concentrates on the fighting on the northern part of the salient, and from what I have read so far, the Germans in that sector were under strength, poorly supplied, and faced by opponents who were prepared to mount a stout defence before mounting a counter-attack.

    All the best,

    Bob

  14. Fitz-Badger,

    I have been lucky and have only been caught out a couple of times by publishers re-issuing books with different titles. This seems to be something that publishers sometimes do when publishing books in the UK and the USA; same book but different titles for each country.

    I really ought to catalogue my book collection … but somehow I can't seem to get around to it.

    All the best,

    Bob

  15. joppy says:

    I used to work for a national chain of booksellers, and paperback publishers were renowned for changing book covers every couple of years (usually when doing a reprint). Little old ladies who read Catherine Cookson got very confused, as she wrote so many and they could never remember the titles, buying by cover alone.
    The USA not only change covers, but often the title as well. I collect Colin Watson mysteries, and have a number of such instances.
    Caveat Emptor?

  16. Joppy,

    I knew that this happened … but not that it occurred quite as often as it appears to have done. I have been caught out a few times myself and now exercise a bit of caution.

    'Buyer beware!' … true, but one feels that there are times when it should not be necessary.

    All the best,

    Bob

  17. Rumblestrip says:

    Bob
    Having said all that, Forczyk is usually worth a read in my experience. I liked his Osprey on the Caucasus up to Stalingrad.

    Cheers

    Andrew

  18. Rumblestrip (Andrew),

    I totally agree! I also have several Osprey books written by Robert Forczyk, and I have enjoyed reading all of them.

    All the best,

    Bob


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