Thursday, March 20, 2008

Seeing Double

Over at The Rap Sheet, my colleague J. Kingston Pierce is now almost two years into his amazing project tracking down copycat covers. In fact, I’d venture that no one can put a candle to his collection. As Pierce said in his first copycat covers piece back in May 2006:
How many times have you spotted a novel or other book that duplicates the cover photo from a different work you have seen or read?

The causes of this trend seem pretty obvious. Corporate publishers, looking to enhance their bottom lines by producing more and more titles, and trying to capitalize on marketplace crazes … are prone these days to hasten the draft-to-finished-book process. As a consequence, they’re susceptible to using the same art as others. The fact that they can use identical artwork results from the creation and consolidation of stock photography companies, notably Corbis, Getty Images, and JupiterMedia, which make it easy and relatively cheap for publishers to find high-quality images that designers can use in putting together book covers. Also in the mix here, I suspect, is a calculation by publishers that their readers simply won’t notice that they’re employing the identical book jacket art (or even titles) that others have used before.
His latest two installments come less than a week apart and again present a surprising list of original cover art infractors. These two most recent copycat cover articles are here and here but, if you have the time, ride with Pierce through the whole catalog. It’s an eye-opening journey.



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