Sex, money, and book cover snap

Book cover snap strikes again!

Publishers pressure designers to pump out covers quickly and the stock image libraries don’t tell designers who has already bought the same image. The stock libraries get a lot of mileage out of some images, don’t they?

Here’s the cover of a new release by Chloe Hooper, The Engagement, published by Penguin Australia on 22 August 2012 under the Hamish Hamilton imprint.

Chloe Hooper's The Engagement, published by Penguin Australia in August 2012

Chloe Hooper’s The Engagement, published by Penguin Australia in August 2012

And here’s the Vintage Classics edition of William Makepeace Thackeray’s Vanity Fair.

Vanity Fair, published by Vintage Classics

Vanity Fair, published by Vintage Classics

Is that the same little black dress, with the image cropped differently? The earrings have changed and the tones on the coil of hair are different, but Photoshop could account for that. If it’s not the same photo, it’s remarkably similar.

It could be a case of intentional imitation. I once worked with a publisher who commissioned a designer to create a copycat cover, as she was trying to attract the same readers who had made the original book a bestseller. It happens all the time. It’s a little insulting, isn’t it?

I wonder how Chloe Hooper feels about it, after working away at her book for months or years. Is she pleased by the association, or would she have liked a different cover?

Did publisher and author agree that the similarity in covers was appropriate, because both books are about sex and money? I would love to know. Given that Chloe Hooper’s agent is the notorious ‘Jackal’ (Andrew Wylie), she may have negotiated for a cover that echoes the contemporary one for Thackeray’s classic. As Becky Sharp would testify, you have to look the part.

Leave a reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s