>I read that the publisher thought that Americans wouldn't buy a book,
>especially for children, if it had "philosopher's" anything in the title.
>Alas! Probably too close to the truth.
So publishers may think, narrow-mindedly. I like to think that even
Americans might find a phrase like "philosopher's stone" intriguing rather
than off-putting. I do, and certainly children are attracted to such
things, even if some adults are not. I first read about the Philosopher's
Stone in Flash comics in the 1960s, when DC were throwing all sorts of
education at its young audience without us realizing, and liked the sound
of the words as much as the concept.
Rowling's publishers, both of them I gather, of course also felt that no
boy would read a book by a female author, hence "J.K." rather than
"Joanne". It never bothered me as a young reader who wrote a book as long
as it was good, and there can be few male Harry Potter fans now who don't
know that Rowling is a woman.