In the pet peeve department: I was about to buy a Nick Hornby book in the Chicago airport the other day, (How to Be Good, I think) and, while leafing through it, I noticed that "color" was missing the "u", which of course is inlcuded in the British spelling: colour. There were several other Americanizations throughout the book, such as spelling "realized" with a z instead of an s.
This kind of thing drives me a little nuts. What is the point of this? Do publishers think we don't know Nick Hornby is British? Are they trying to insulate us from foreign spellings?
Maybe I am being too sensitive, but I find it insulting. I read the Economist on most flights (it usually gets me through at least two hours, and as a bonus I get to catch up on what's happening in Sri Lanka or Malawi) and enjoy the fact that they don't make "American editions." On a similar note, I've noticed that some books are given different titles when they are released in the U.S. Maybe a few decades ago I would never even have found this out, but in the internet age of globalism, when I can find foreign reviews of books instantly, what are they trying to do? Why is Philip Pullman's The Northern Lights known as The Golden Compass in the U.S.? I think maybe its the idea that a bunch of publishers are sitting around thinking we Americans are too stupid or too insular to buy a book or product if we find out it has a foreign source. I'm not really sure why, but I don't like it. My thought is that anyone who would read a Nick Hornby book very likely knows he's a Brit already. And, anyway, in the age of Harry Potter, isn't that a good thing?