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?
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.