Same Cover, Different Book

I spotted this cover of ‘The Forgotten Waltz’ by Anne Enright today and realised it was exactly the same photograph as the one on my copy of ‘Les belles images’ by Simone de Beauvoir!  I know this happens quite frequently in the publishing industry – I’m sure there must be similar examples of almost identical book covers for vampire fiction and you only need to look at the chick lit section in a bookshop to see that all the books invariably use the same sort of curly fonts and pink colour schemes as these so-called marketing experts think this will appeal to their target market.    Admittedly, my copy of ‘Les belles images’ is a French edition so few people in the UK will have seen it, but is it really so hard to check that a photo from their stock hasn’t been used before?The Forgotten Waltz Les Belles Images 









There has been some debate recently about whether e-books are killing off cover art but it could be argued that the publishing industry are already doing that themselves by recycling the same images and using virtually the same designs for particular genres.  Even though people might say that you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, eye-catching and original designs do sell books.  Just ask Chip Kidd.


Filed under Books

10 responses to “Same Cover, Different Book

  1. Hmm, I never like to see the same cover on two different books. Such a pity that happens. I noticed it a few times, even “warned” publishers when the book was an ARC, but even by then it’s probably too late – or they don’t care.

    Buying exclusive rights to the picture would solve the problem but maybe that’s not always possible, too expensive, or they really don’t care.


  2. I’ve seen similar but not yet seen books with the same cover. I mean how hard is it to just replicate the scene & take your own photo.


  3. How strange. I never noticed this before. I will be on the look out now for books with the same cover!


  4. Private Eye has an occasional feature devoted to “Bookalikes” – it happens scarily often.


  5. Mel

    Are they allowed to do that?


  6. I never knew this happened! If I was lucky enough to get my book published I’d insist on using an original piece of artwork on the cover. Sometimes it’s the image that propels the book into the limelight. Take ‘One Day’ by David Nicholls or ‘The Sisters Brothers’ by Patrick DeWitt – both striking and instantly recognisable covers.


  7. Yikes. Not kool at all. Didn’t realize they could do that… But then, I guess it’s whoever’s paying? So sad.


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  9. This happens quite a lot these days. I’ve collected a whole set of “clone covers” here:

    Most of the time, the reason it happens is because the publisher or cover designer licensed a stock photo. It’s completely legal for two designers to license the same stock photo. (Which, if you think about it, makes it kind of a stupid idea to use stock photos on book covers.)

    Regardless, you have to feel bad for the authors, because 99% of the time they would have no idea that a stock photo was being used as the basis for their cover, or even if they did, what the potential consequences might be. It’s the publishers and designers that need to clean up their act.


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