Cover Sites: More Fun Than Fun Itself

Do you really, really need the next 15-20 minutes of your life? Because if so, don’t click these links.

Thanks to Talpiana, I have The Rap Sheet’s Copycat Covers, which tracks overused stock imagery, particularly in crime novels. And then there’s the gallery of overused cover art in historical novels.

Hey. Don’t be mad at me if you needed those 20 minutes.

EDITED TO ADD: Ooops. Need moar coffee. I posted the same link twice. My bad.


The Link-O-Lator

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  1. Liv says:

    The links both go to the same place.

  2. joanne says:

    It seems like a very cost-effective way to market books, no? If it’s offensive to the authors then it’s a BFD, but from my point of view as a reader/buyer of books: what & ever.

    It’s the inside that matters and I want that to be new & fresh & interesting… and the author well paid if it is. So, saving on cover art? Why not. They’re using the technology available to make them appear different so it’s silly to re-shoot the same old couple (or threesome… or tree.. etc.)

    Hasn’t anyone learned yet that you can’t judge a book by it’s cover? (from a woman who was fooled multiple times by hot covers with blah-blah-blah writing).

  3. Pssst—your link to “The Rap Sheet” goes to the historical site.

    Aside from this, I’d rather have a lovely and overused historical piece on a cover than something made with Poser and bad computer art.

  4. Leah says:

    So basically, if I ever get my romance published, I need to have my contract specify that the publisher will never used that polka-dotted dress woman on the cover.

    Btw, I hope that the “Danegeld” woman doesn’t think she’s getting any, um, romancing from her Dane…geld may mean gold, but it also has another, more unfortunate, meaning.

    Spam word—certain63—yes, I am certain we’ll see that polka-dot lady on 63 more covers this year

  5. Liv says:

    I have no problems with taking stock images and incorporating them into unique and creative covers, but using the same cover with only a minor detail or two changed?  That’s just sloppy – or lazy – or both.

    Some of the historical covers are beautiful, and even though several of them may have a common image, they have a completely different look.  Some of the others (and most of the crime novels) are just too similar, if not exact.

  6. Barb Ferrer says:

    I remember receiving an email where someone told me they’d seen my cover from It’s Not About the Accent at Target.  I was all set to start doing the Snoopy dance because to my knowledge, my books hadn’t been in Target before.

    Turns out they still weren’t.  A flipped version of Accent’s cover image was being used in the Target music section to advertise new releases.  *g*

  7. Sarabeth says:

    Each of the historical art covers make me want to look at them.

  8. Julie Leto says:

    My cover for Dirty Little Secrets has been used at least three times beyond mine.  One on Tara Jensen’s new book. One on a non-fiction book for Kate White.  One on an ebook.

    My new cover has also been used, although on a historical romance…by an author who is also represented by my agent!

    Oh, how I long for a photo shoot.

  9. SonomaLass says:

    Spent my 20 minutes!

    Hey SB Sarah, did you sent the Rap Sheet your post on Flippy Skirt Girl?  They should totally add her to their collection of “overused women in skirts” images.

    I wonder if this is going to be more of an issue in the age of the e-book.  On the one hand, a publisher wants to keep print book costs low, due to the competition from e-books that are so much cheaper.  On the other, if you have readers still interested in buying the actual book and keeping it on a shelf, visual appeal becomes even more important.

    At least we know Borders stores will be making it easier to spot duplicate covers, by placing more books facing front!  Hmm, the things I can waste time pondering firs thing in the morning…guess I need moar coffee 2.

  10. Jennie says:

    Now I know where that deja vu “I think I’ve read this before” feeling comes from sometimes when I pick up a new book & swear there’s something familiar about it…

  11. I had this comment about using the same cover model on romances.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to see Nathan Kamp half-naked, but it does get a tad amusing to see him just about everywhere!

  12. Dayle says:

    While I’m not against stock art and agree that you can’t judge a book by its cover, book covers do have an affect in catching a browser’s eye. If they all look alike… Worse, if they look alike (same stock photo, no real change otherwise), a reader might not realize it’s not the book she already read!

  13. Thanks for linking my historical covers page!  I read this site every day but hadn’t seen I was linked until another reader told me.

    I spotted the McKenzie/McCafferty/Moore trio on a Borders display shelf a while ago.  All three were published the same month in 2002, or very close.  Oops.

    I agree many of the covers are gorgeous, yet I long for more diversity… for example, Leila seems to be the default cover for “historical harem” novels these days.

  14. Molly Montgomery says:

    Check out Flirting with Pride & Prejudice: Fresh Perspectives on the Original Chick-Lit Masterpiece by Jennifer Crusie (Editor) and The Rules of Gentility
    by Janet Mullany. I particularly love the Crusie ‘variation’.

  15. Mantelli says:

    Sheesh. I’ve read some of those books.

  16. sanachan1 says:

    Best of all, there’s overlap between the historical site and The Rap Sheet covers! (The girl in the long skirt on the Robert Goddard ARC). Of course that one didn’t get published, but I was still amused.

  17. Wry Hag says:

    Nathan Kamp covers should be outlawed.  That man is walking sin, plain and simple.  He puts very naughty thoughts in my head.

  18. Nathan Kamp covers should be outlawed.  That man is walking sin, plain and simple.  He puts very naughty thoughts in my head.

    LOL! You aren’t the only one…hence the reason he’s so popular on covers!!


  19. As an illustrator, it saddens and infuriates me to see this.  I’ve recently been hired to do a few middle-grade novel covers, and would like to do YA and maybe some adult historical novels, but apparently the lure of the stock photo and the bad Photoshop collage is too great.  Feh.

  20. Tesgirl123 says:

    I knew at least one Lauren Willig book would be included in those historical covers.  The problem is that publishers just choose a painting and keep reusing that one.

    Though I disagree about using DaVinci’s Ginevra as a bad technique, its recognizable enough on its own to attract attention and probably chosen because of this

  21. Rebecca says:

    I thought it was really interesting to see the use of fine art in covers.

    The quality of the art elevates the books for me. When I am looking at covers in the bookstore, covers with fine art on them *always* draw my eye and I go over to take a good look at them – clinch covers, not so much.

    Sarah J., thanks for the publishing info. I think that it somewhat supports the idea that art directors and book designers will read the synopsis (and perhaps the book) to get a sense of the atmosphere of the novel.

    It also proves that, if they have the budget for it, they will pay for the use of fine art for a cover. I can’t imagine that being inexpensive.

    I’m not really bothered by the multiple uses of an image across different titles.

    What I was interested in seeing were those covers that I thought were successful designs vs those that weren’t.

    Oh, and I loved the series of the women in historical dress looking over her shoulder toward the viewer. Six (seven?) covers! She gets around! 🙂

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