We only have 1 version in the US, but I've ordered the UK releases. I've been told that some colo(u)rful colloquialisms have been subtracted from the American versions, since we're apparently dumber on this side of the pond. We don't even know what the Philosopher's Stone is. We have a sorcerer's one instead.
I would like to know how the adult version differs from the children's version as well. I am considering ordering the adult books just to find out. I own all seven American books and the first six English books - children's versions. (I'm waiting for my English Deathly Hallows to arrive!)
I've noticed small differences such as spellings and colloquialisms, but other than that the books seem to be virtually the same. I really don't know why the first book was renamed Sorcerer's Stone. Good question.
I did a quick and dirty google search and found this on the wikipedia website...
"...The series has also gathered adult fans, leading to two editions of each Harry Potter book being released (in markets other than the United States), identical in text but with one edition's cover artwork aimed at children and the other aimed at adults...."
It was re-named The Sorcerers Stone in America because people felt that Philosopher's Stone conveyed an incorrect idea of the subject matter (due to a discrepancy between English and American definitions of "philosopher"). The Philosophers Stone is a legendary substance, supposedly capable of turning inexpensive metals into gold; it was also sometimes believed to be a means of making people younger. For a long time it was the "holy grail" of Western alchemy.
It is nothing to do with a Philosopher - being a person who offers views or theories on profound questions in ethics, metaphysics, logic, and other related fields.
So of course instead of leaving it the way it is supposed to be, and educating the American audience about what Philosopher's Stone is, they erred on the side of "treating the American audience as if they are all morons". I'm an American and I knew what a Philosopher's Stone was when I was a small kid. I learned it from reading something about it, like many kids could have learned about it from reading Harry Potter.
One thing I've wondered is did they leave it the correct way in the UK version of the film, or did you get stuck with the "Sorcerer's Stone"? They would have had to have two different versions of a couple of scenes. If so I might pick up the UK DVD out of curiosity.
The film was 'The Philosopher's Stone' over here in the UK, fortunately. Sadly the American misnomer of Northern Lights (The Golden Compass?!) has taken charge of the upcoming film, so no doubt they'll rerelease the book to tie-in with the wrong title.
Jennie says Harry Potter audio tapes are the best sleeping potion I know - spend a lot of time re-winding tapes! Glad to hear that the children's version is the same as the adult except for the cover - just about to buy a cd set so thank you - saved me a lot of money!
touchy, touchy .. you want to try being non-american, (including countries that don't have english as their mother-tongue), having to watch a daily dose of american tv programmes, or films, where the aliens always land just outside NY, or LA, the Entrerprise etc has the stars-and-stripes all over it .. the villains are english, or from some other country, and americans are always shown to be fundamentally first-amongst-equals .. kettle and pot methinks