I’ve noticed an interesting but I suppose not surprising trend. Here’s what I’ve got:
In the US, the new Richard K. Morgan book is called Thirteen. In the UK, the book is titled Black Man. (In the UK they also drop the middle initial, but that does not appear to be relevant.) It’s the same book between the covers.
Lawrence Hill’s latest novel is called The Book of Negroes in his native Canada, but it is saddled with the much more prosaic Someone Knows My Name in the US. The same story is told between the covers.
This one is a little more subtle, but the same underlying principle seems to be at work. Can you guess which book cover for Zadie Smith’s On Beauty was used in the UK & Canada and which was used in the US?
If you guessed that non-Michael Jordan African-American silhouettes are forbidden in the US, you are correct.
The message from US publishers seems to be, “Yes, you may be well on your way to electing a black man President, but we have to trick you into reading prize-winning books that might feature black people. We apologize for any discomfort that you might experience.”