Friday, May 21, 2010

Book Cover Design - Using the Same Photo

Book cover design has intrigued me for quite some time. The perfect cover can sell a book. All it takes sometimes is a grabber of an image. And sometimes that grabber image gets used more than once.

Case in point. Take a look at the first two books in the collage at left (the image will enlarge if you click on it). Unpretty by Sharon Carter Rogers (Howard Books, 2008). Scared woman with hand over her mouth. It's a provocative photo for certain. Which is why I was surprised to see it on another cover in the CBA market only two years later. When the Devil Whistles by Rick Acker (Abingdon Press, Oct 2010).

Believe it or not, I have seen this image also on a movie poster for a secular horror film and in the mockup of a Thomas Nelson title (that was changed before it was published).

So... where does it come from? This stock image was taken by a photographer who goes by "knape" and is also the model. It's available on iStockphoto here.

But here's where things get really interesting. I was looking at this image a couple months back out of curiosity, and lo and behold I was shocked to see that the model featured on the cover of my own novel Thicker than Blood is this same photographer/model! I made this comment online and Kirk DouPonce of Dog Eared Design was intrigued as well, telling me he'd used yet another photo of this model on the cover of The Healer by Linda Windsor.

Fascinating!

Have you seen any books that have the same image on their covers? Do share!

10 comments:

Gracie Bea Winterton said...

I'm not observant enough to notice duplicate images on covers, but I totally agree with your statement that the cover can sell the book. I've bought books because of a great cover and been grossly disappointed--but I've also bought books because of a great cover and been delighted at finding a new author I can fall in love with, all because of the design.

Christina T said...

This is a common phenomenon that I first noticed when I saw the same image used on a Fern Michaels book and a Robin Jones Gunn book (two very different markets but the same image of a blue vase on an old metal chair). Lately I have seen a lot of repetitive cover images in YA fiction which I read a lot of.

Linda said...

As you can imagine, cover creators build up their files of photos and it can get pretty expensive to continuously purchase photos, thus they often get used more than once. I am intrigued by the differences and fairly impressed with the changes. Yes, they are the same but... depending on the markets for these books, readers may or may not ever notice. I'm guilty of reusing pics though I always TRY to make them look different. :(

Rel said...

Yes, there are often duplicates. I've seen numerous covers used in the CBD on books in the ABA market.

Also only the other day saw a book which was published by an Australian author at least 20 years ago (although it may have been a more recent edition) that had the same cover as Cynthia Ruchti's They Almost Always Come Home.

Fascinating!

KM said...

I've seen ones with the same image, but I couldn't tell you the names of them. :/ I saw two that both featured a girl with similar clothes lying on a bench on her back with one foot propped up. Neither showed above her belly button. It was crazy how similar they were.

LR said...

Great observation skills! I've noticed the same images in advertisements, but never book covers.

WordVixen said...

I know that I've seen them, but not in books in my own collection, so I haven't made note of them. Like LR, though, I see it all the time in advertising.

Jacket Whys said...

Wow, this image (the woman with a hand over her mouth) is used A LOT!!!
I ran it through TinEye and got more than nine pages worth of links. Usually TinEye doesn't turn up more than one or two links for me.

C.J. Darlington said...

Thanks for all your comments!

Anonymous said...

Selina Penaluna by Jan Page
North of Beautiful by Justina Chen Headley
An Hour Too Soon? by Christopher Santos
Evermore by Alyson Noel.

All with the same cover!