This was once limited to what used to be – and probably still is – called genre fiction: Chick Lit, Mum Lit, Bloke Lit, Chicks With Dicks Lit, Blokes With No Dicks Lit, Zombie Novels, Zombie Crossover Novels, Zombies With Dicks Lit, the Tom Clancy oeuvre, and so on. Now, though, what still is – and will continue to be – called literary fiction has also caught the "samey title" virus. At times I suspect there's a computer somewhere that spews out clichéd names for such works, depending on how badly the publishers want it to be Taken Very Seriously Indeed.
McManus has nailed it. See, that point that non-industry booklovers often like to ignore (or, at least, I like to ignore) is that publishing books is a business. Like all businesses, it's kind of ugly. Book titles are like covers - you judge based on them. Personally, titles can sell me onto a book without any knowledge of what the book is about. Don't believe me? I bought "The Periodic Table" because I had a chemistry exam coming up. Titles matter.
And publishers have realized this. "Literary fiction" (and what, exactly, is literary fiction? More on that later...) got a template of bland vagueness. McManus' examples of "The Inheritance of Loss", "The Unnamed", "The Surrendered", "The Girl with Glass Feet", etc., show this precisely. Can you figure out anything about the tone, the style, the depth or the story from these titles? I'll even give you the answer: no. These titles have no spark, nothing to distinguish them. Which is, it seems, exactly the point. Literary fiction, it seems, is defined by its lack of individuality. It's someone's wife, or daughter, or shadow, or... To sum up, this comes from commenter harley26:
one final point - everyone always blames the publishers for this kind of bland marketing but I think it's time to have a go at the readers. If it weren't for us lot lapping up this s**t, they wouldn't bother to sell it so.