Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Sextuplets! Or, How to Avoid Embarrassing Book Cover Doppelgangers

Fingerprints. Snowflakes. DNA. That's how unique you want your book's cover image to be, right? Why would you want to copy anyone else? Why would you want your book mistaken for someone else's?

In the wonderful world of indie-press and self-pub, low-budget and home-made covers abound. Some are shockingly bad, but as I've discovered during my weekly Kindle Romance Cover reviews, I have to admit the quality is rapidly improving.

But quality aside, the way the indie-press/self-pub world goes about gleaning images from the internet at large appears to be creating a slightly bigger problem. Let me explain.

This had me wondering. If the exact same image could crop up on two books within a week, how many other times had the same image been used?

The answer (from what I could find, just digging through Google Images), was a little startling.


That's right. Here are six separate book covers, all published at some point using the EXACT, same image.

(Granted, at least one of these titles is now published using a different image - maybe they caught on?)


Okay, you think, So what? So what if other books have the same cover? But... what if that's not the only place your lovely book cover image has been used on the internet? Again, a simple Google search shows that the above image can be found illustrating:

And just in case we haven't caught onto the theme here, we have the image with 'Sex Addiction' plastered all over it. Nice.

So yeah.  Now your 'smexy romance' is associated with sex addiction articles. Not quite so smart, and not so sexy after all?


So, how to avoid the Wore The Same Dress to the Ball mistake?

There are no guarantees, mistakes can always creep in. With the proliferation of images on the internet there is no way to ensure that no one uses your cover image ever ever

But a few things to try, and will at least ensure your use of the image is unique:
  • Enlist a reputable cover artist who does original work and uses exclusive images
  • Ask for exclusive rights on the photograph used for your cover
  • Design your own, don't use stock images
  • Please, use that little Google image search, lovely people, and check before you use a picture. It might save you a little embarrassment. And perhaps a few copyright lawsuits!

UPDATE - 10th May 2013
One week on, and you guessed it. I found ANOTHER ONE...Seven and counting.

UPDATE - 17th June 2013
Just spotted yet another hapless author who's got which picture on their cover? You guessed it...

UPDATE - 18th June 2013
Did another image search just for kicks (when did this turn into my latest hobby?!) and found...a few more. ELEVEN and counting, folks! 

As well the image used in a few other places:

An album cover:

...and a 'Christian Sexuality' video:

Stay tuned...you can bet there will be more!

UPDATE - 24 June 2013
That's right folks...it just never ends. SEVENTEEN books, people. -={ 17 }=-

(Okay, have listed this book already above, but it is a different design!)

And in other languages...

Are there NO more pictures in the ENTIRE WORLD?

But this might explain at least one of these covers. YOURS (and many others')...for only $25:


UPDATE - 24 June 2013
Now, this is technically a series, so not sure if it's fair to count these as three separate books, but by golly they ARE and I WILL. That's now TWENTY books, people. -={ 20 }=-

Tilting the image a bit to change the body language? Interesting...

Done a little photoshopping to change the heights, have we? So sneaky...

And even here they've changed it just a little to make her more level with him. SAME PICTURE, folks!
('Everything' except a unique cover photo, it seems...)

Keep your eyes peeled for more - you just know this won't stop here, don't you?

UPDATE - 22 January 2017 
Thought it was about time to (gently) scour the interwebs for any recent editions to my hall of shame.

Ah, here's one...(nice use of barbed wire)

Surely there aren't more...oh, I tell a lie...

Oops, and one more...

And another (oh, the irony..."first sight"..)

This one's making me a little blue...

And a foreign book...thank you Harper Collins, for this original image. 

By my count that's now -={ 26 }=- books with this cover. *sigh*

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