Hold up, Is That Richard Armitage?

Alert reader Jennifer sent me the following message: “Searching for a good (kindle) historical mystery for myself, I noticed that someone slapped Richard Armitage on the cover of their book:

It’s flipped & Photoshopped, but it definitely looks like his head shot (via RichardArmitageNet.com).

I’m all for seeing Richard everywhere, but somehow I don’t think this is authorized usage—- couldn’t they afford some stock photography to use? Arrgh. (sending it your way since this site discusses book covers and Richard Armitage is one of the patron saint hotties of romance).”

HUH. That’s a new one – self published book sales via Armitage. There’s already an Amazon review citing Armitage’s picture as a reason for buying the book.

See for yourself. Here’s the book:

Book Cover

And here is Armitage’s photo from his gallery of headshots. (No, no, don’t curse me now for the time you’ll spend looking at all the rest of the pictures. That’s research!)

Image from RichardArmitagenet.com, used here only to spare their server the image file traffic.

It certainly looks like a Photoshopped Armitage. And also chutzpah. Somehow I doubt Armitage gave permission for his image to be used on a book cover. But it does make me wonder:  would this type of use of Famous Actor photo on a cover entice you to buy?

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  1. 1
    Ceilidh says:

    Unf. There can never be enough Richard Armitage. Don’t think I’d buy the book though – Google images and YouTube provide me with my Armitage fix. *total fangirl*

    This seems as good an excuse as any to post some Vicar of Dibley clips.


  2. 2
    MissFiFi says:

    I see your Vicar of Dibley and raise you with “North & South”.  God I loved him in that series. Brood, Brood, Yum, Yum!


  3. 3
    Daisy says:

    In answer to your question – no, celebrities on covers do not entice me to purchase.  I prefer my covers to be rather anonymous in that if you put a known face on the cover, then I automatically relate all known personality traits of that celeb to the character in the book – which may or may not be a good thing.  And if it is a celeb that I don’t admire – forget it, I am not buying your book, no matter how good the reviews are.

  4. 4
    MissFiFi says:

    And wait, I forgot to say, I would never use an unauthorized photo of anyone on my book cover nor would seeing a celebrity on the cover encourage my purchase. I buy a book for the story first and foremost.

  5. 5

    If it was done with their permission? Absolutely. I cast my characters using famous actors/actresses. If they started appearing on covers, that would be awesome :)

  6. 6
    quichepup says:

    MissFifi, I have to follow that sad bit of business with this. *deep sigh*


  7. 7

    Totally sweet cover… but I think it’s possibly illegal.

    Wonder how long it’s going to remain on sale when said celeb’s lawyers get involved. Unless, of course, she asked and received permission or paid for the image.

    A good cover will get me to look the book over – but if the writing isn’t good the cover doesn’t matter to me.

  8. 8
    Ros says:

    I don’t think it would get me to buy the book.  It might make me wonder if there was a TV/film adaptation to look out for.

  9. 9
    karicc says:

    Well, I don’t think the face of my fav actor (heh) is enticement enough to buy a book, but thanks for the eye candy. And now, let’s remember the hottest kiss in BBC history…

  10. 10
    Mina Lobo says:

    I can see a celeb’s image working for/against a book.  In this case, because I found Armitage *adorable* in Vicar of Dibley, it might tempt me…Beauty being in the eye of the beholder, and all, it’s tricky to predict what would grab and secure the attention of any reader.

  11. 11
    Karen S. says:

    As much as I think RA is OMG HAWT, his or any other celebrity’s picture on a book isn’t going to get me to buy it.  I don’t even read books about the celebrities themselves. ;)  The cover would definitely catch my eye enough to get me to read the blurb, but it wouldn’t make me buy it if the story sounded meh.

  12. 12
    cayenne says:

    Richard Armitage will always get my attention, image or voice, but if the blurb isn’t compelling or what’s behind the cover is no good, pretty pictures will not save it.  I can get RA pics without a bad book attached, thanks.

  13. 13
    JudyPatooty says:

    Oh thank you, quichepup and karicc!  I was just about to post a link to that part of North & South.  Sigh.

    spamword:  thus69 … No comment.  :)

  14. 14
    MissFiFi says:

    Quichepup and Karicc –

    Good God, when she kisses his hand, the way he looks at her…swoon swoon swoon forever!!!

  15. 15
    Karen S. says:

    I should add that not to mention, if it wasn’t a novelization or a tie-in book or somehow linked to said actor, I’d definitely wonder if the photo was being used illegally, which would make me less likely to buy it.  It might be an honest mistake (considering the number of people that don’t realize that just because it’s on the internet, it isn’t free, even with some sketchy photoshopping) but still, I’d likely hold back.

    Capcha: deep77.  …I’ll just leave that one alone.

  16. 16
    Kati R says:

    Oh my gosh! I am currently reading a book by this author. What a shame! I did however buy Georgette Heyer’s abridged audiobooks because Richard Armitage read them.

    I would never buy a cover that had a Famous Actor photo on it. However, if Jed Hill or Paul Marron were on the cover, there’s no telling how many of those suckers I’d buy. :) I’m a cover wh0re.

  17. 17
    EmilyD says:

    I was so busy ooohing and aaaahhhing and swoony-sighing over the end of North & South that I almost forgot about leaving a comment. The answer to would I be enticed to buy based on a famous person on the cover is “no”. However… anything with Richard Armitage is going to get my attention.

    On the flip side, if a celebrity who I dislike is featured on the cover, it will strongly influence me (into not buying your book). So I guess the message is that it’s necessary to choose wisely which celebrity you’ll use on your unauthorized cover.

  18. 18
    Kristi Lea says:

    Should I be embarrassed to admit that I have no idea who Richard Armitage is? The cover itself isn’t that great either…obvious photoshopping there with the sword too.

    I wouldn’t buy a book because of a celebrity on the cover (and if the photo were an authorized portrait of the celebrity in question, I’d probably run screaming away from yet-another-annoying-celebrity-memoir).

  19. 19
    DreadPirateRachel says:

    Good gods, that man is hot. Excuse me while I go take a cold shower.
    And I’m back. To answer the question, the only time I would buy a book with a celebrity on the cover is if that celebrity had been in an adaptation of the novel (e.g., Pride & Prejudice with yummy, yummy Colin Firth on the cover). In this case, I think seeing a pirated and then hack-Photoshopped image of Armitage will actually be a reason to NOT buy the book.

  20. 20
    Sam says:

    I buy books with actors/actresses on the cover plenty—they’re called media tin-ins and books about favorite movies/tv shows (though you could say I’m more buying them for the characters inside than the real person on the cover…but a sexy cover of a favorite character does make me at least give the book a look.)
    But that’s fully authorized and makes sense. However, some random book with a probably stolen image in a ‘shoop job? Hells no. It’d make me NOT buy the book.

    (And, mmm, he is lovely. Another reason to look forward to The Hobbit movies!)

  21. 21
    Mireya says:

    Frankly, as much as I admit I am wiping some drool over here from looking (closely) at Armitage’s picture, no, I wouldn’t buy that book for that reason alone.  Additionally, I have to admit that I wouldn’t have made the association if I hadn’t read your post.


  22. 22
    cayenne says:

    @Sam, you realize that as Thorin he’s going to look something like this:


    And CG’d to be 5’ tall.  But to each one’s own

  23. 23
    Jim C. Hines says:

    Could be worse. Publish America once released a hideously Photoshopped cover of Orlando Bloom as a vampire…


    At least the Armitage one is a nice-looking cover!

  24. 24
    Brian says:

    According to this author interview it’s not Armitage on the cover…

    Looking at Alec on your book cover, it is impossible not to notice a certain familiarity in those features and in those blue- eyes. Is Alec Halsey an 18th century version of Richard Armitage?  (I’d love to see him with long black hair tied in a ribbon, breeches and a frockcoat. But thanks to your novel, I’ve actually seen him in action as a perfect 18th century gentleman. And it was great!)
    I wish it was Richard Armitage on the cover! I adore Richard as Mr. Thornton (as anything really!). A fan pointed out the resemblance. The publisher asked for guidance for the artist on what Alec might look like and so I sent back a list of swoon-worthy men – Jeremy Northam, Colin Firth, Richard Armitage, Daniel Day Lewis, Richard E. Grant were at the top of my list. And the cover is the result.
    I didn’t have any particular image in mind when I was writing Deadly Engagement – but now as I finish writing book 2 Deadly Affair, it is my cover version of Richard Armitage with a dash of Colin, a pinch each of Jeremy and Daniel, and a splash of Richard E Grant swashbuckling about the countryside in breeches, frockcoat and that wonderful head of thick black curls tied with a silk bow!

  25. 25
    GLH says:

    He also played a spy in the BBC series “Spooks” (MI-5 in the US), seasons 7-9: http://movies.netflix.com/WiMovie/MI-5/70140413?trkid=2361637#height1253

  26. 26

    I don’t know if it would prompt me to buy, but I think I found the model for my next pirate hero.  Excuse me, ladies, while I go do research….yeah, research, that’s what I’m calling it.

  27. 27
    lorelai says:

    I’ve seen that cover before and I don’t care what the author says – that’s a photo of Richard Armitage. I bet either someone told her that image was a Photoshop-magic mix of all those men she suggested and she believes them or she knows it’s RA and she’s trying to cover her ass or a combination of both. Either way, I’m not voting for a tar and feather situation, but this could turn into a copyright/legal issue if the wrong (or right?) person saw this since that photo is probably owned by the photographer and they would expect to be paid in a situation like this.

    To the person earlier who hadn’t seen North & South – MAKE HASTE TO NETFLIX! It’s available on Instant and you will NOT regret watching it. I rewatched it for at least the fifth time this weekend.

  28. 28
    anon snotty commenter says:

    Gee, that’s not Armitage? it’s amazing how the cover model managed to have the same floppy lock of hair and THE SAME FREAKING EAR.

    Look. Just because you put his photo into photoshop and tweak it doesn’t make it original.

  29. 29
    Brian says:

    @anon snotty…

    Gee, that’s not Armitage? it’s amazing how the cover model managed to have the same floppy lock of hair and THE SAME FREAKING EAR.

    No, it’s the same image.  I was just pointing out what the author says.

    Never heard of the publisher before so I don’t know if it’s the authors own brand or a regular small pub or what.

  30. 30
    anon snotty commenter says:

    It looks like Sprigleaf is a POD.


    Unless they supplied the art, it was supplied by the author. Someone in this food chain should know better.

    @Brian – was not railing at you as much as I was railing at the cojones it takes on the publisher’s side. Didn’t Tor get sued for the Dita Von Teese thing?

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