Once again, Eddie from Once Upon a Galaxy is the first to contact us with a sighting of upcoming Star Wars book releases. This time, it's Amazon listings for a second set of Clone Wars children's books.
Of course, as we reported here, we already know about a selection of junior tie-ins for the animated movie, which will be published in the United States by Penguin subsidiary Grosset & Dunlap.
So what's up with the second set of books?
Well, the newly-listed books are all coming from Penguin's UK-based children's imprints, Ladybird and Puffin, and they appear on the UK Amazon site as well as the US one. I think it's reasonably likely that these are foreign equivalents of the tie-in books, which may have found their way onto the US website by mistake.
Also noteworthy is the fact that the release dates for all bar one of them are given as 1st September, compared with 26th June for the US movie tie-in books, and 15th August as the date of the movie's release in the States.
An optimist might cling to the hope that these represent the second wave of tie-ins for the TV series, which will follow after the movie and the initial wave of books. The more sober reality is probably that the UK release of the movie is going to be delayed by several weeks behind the US.
However, the information also contains a puzzling little detail, which make it a little hard to be sure exactly what's going on here. The UK site claims that several of the books are in French!
These also appear on the US Amazon site, with the same ISBN numbers, but no price or language info, here, here, here, and here. The US site also shows that the novelization is from Puffin rather than from Ladybird, which fits the traditional emphases of the two imprints.
There are also two more 32-page books with UK prices but no language listing, a £2.99 Front Row Seat Storybook, and a "Create Your Own" Model Making book, which is a hardcover with a cover price of £12.99, though amazon.co.uk are already offering a discount off that (and other retailers may do similar things as well).
Once again, these two books have parallel listings on the US site, with identical ISBNs, but no price info: here and here.
Lastly, there's a "hardcover" with no price listed, but a much earlier release date of 7th August, and no US listing that I can find. As it comes from Ladybird, I suspect that this may be the hardcover edition of the junior novelization.
So... what are we dealing with here?
My suspicion is that we're looking at the UK equivalents of the Grosset & Dunlap books, and that the "French" claims are in error, although that's really just my best guess. Alternative options would be that these are a mix of UK and French titles, or that they're all French.
Nevertheless, one thing we can do is compare these titles with the known information on the US books, summarized here.
For example, the £4.99 movie storybook may be the same thing as the $3.99 storybook in the Grosset & Dunlap series: it's certainly true that one of the two $3.99 US books, which are otherwise hard to differentiate, shares the same 48 page size, when the majority of books on both lists are 32 pages long.
Similarly, the £2.99 "Front Row Seat" storybook may correlate to the $6.99 photobook by Zachary Rau, while the Puffin novellization can be paired off with the $6.99 Grosset & Dunlap one by Tracey West.
With a little more stretch, the £12.99 hardback "Create Your Own" model-making book might be equated with the $16.99 "jacketed picture book" by Rob Valois, leaving the unpriced "Prepare for Battle!" activity book to be parallel to the $4.99 US Activity Book, and the £3.99 "Intergalactic Adventure Book" to be matched up with the $3.99 Reader.
Overall, the listings seem relatively close, and I suspect that in some way or another, most or all of the Ladybird books will equate with specific titles in the Grosset & Dunlap range.
It's possible that there might be meaningful variations between text and presentation in the UK and US versions, or even that some of the apparent similarities may be misleading: there might be some completely different books in the range on either side of the Atlantic.
It's an open question whether the two hardbacks are one and the same: a model-making book and a "jacketed picture book" don't sound like quite the same thing. Also, while the Front Row Seat storybook and the photobook are both probably going to be picture-book adaptions based around images taken directy from the movie, their relative pricing doesn't match up directly. One is the cheapest of the Ladybird picture books, while the other is the most expensive in the Grosset & Dunlap range
It may not be a coincidence that those are the two Ladybird books that aren't said to be in French on Amazon UK. The reference to French translations may somehow have gotten into the listings by mistake for books that are direct "translations" between UK English and US English versions.
But there's still a nagging possibility that some or all of these might be real French translations or alternatives, after all....