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Although cross-cultural variation in spoken interaction has been dealt with extensively in discourse studies, very little research has been reported in the case of academic and professional written genres. The importance of this work is highlighted by the findings that writers from different cultures organize and develop ideas differently in expository writing tasks (Hinds, 1990) and that professional genres like business letters (The Geok Suan, 1986; Bhatia and Tay, 1987), job applications (Bhatia, 1989) and some legal genres (Bhatia, 1993) are sensitive to socio-cultural constraints. In order to gain a better understanding of the role played by socio-cultural factors in shaping a genre, the present paper examines, through a genre-based comparison, the cross-cultural differences between book blurbs of international publishers and local Singapore-based publishers. It is hoped that such a study will demonstrate the fact that genres are socio-culturally dependent communicative events and their success, in part, depends upon their pragmatic value in a specific business/professional environment. An attempt will also be made to relate the findings of this analysis to the dual and conflicting notions of ‘linguistic creativity’ on the one hand and ‘linguistic orthodoxy’ on the other. It is hoped that a comparative study of this nature will sensitize researchers/teachers to the cultural factors that are responsible for constraining/shaping genres in particular socio-cultural contexts.