Steal like a writer?

"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness." Oscar Wilde

I was thrilled when my first book was published in September. "Growing Bold: How to Enjoy Long Life" was released on Amazon, in a local bookstore, and through my website. My first book! Imagine my disappointment when I saw that another writer, Patricia C. Brooks, was using my identical title and a similar subtitle for her own pre-release on Amazon. I made her aware of the duplication, but she just said it was "purely coincidence" and released the book early.

I know it's hard to be certain your writings don't step on other toes, and one can't know the universe of every book ever titled. But doesn't it seem a bit unethical for an author to knowingly create this confusion? Don't we, as creative writers, want our works to be easily identified as our own?

As my regular blog friends know, my book is about learning to value advanced years and do the creative work to which we aspire. It is demoralizing to overcome resistance, fight the technical battles, and truly give flight to a new creative work only to find that someone else is pulling heavily on your wings.  Part of living a quality life is being respectful of other people's work and property, and truly valuing our own.

Today, it is easier than ever to self-publish our own work and there are great benefits to this freedom. The downside is that it is also easier than ever to copy other people. Is using another writer’s active title an acceptable, commercial strategy or a lazy, underhanded way of avoiding doing The Work? Does an author have a social duty to be original in naming his works?

Let me know what you think.