Deja-View

Pottering through any book shop and looking at the bestseller lists, it’s not uncommon to see new book covers aping previous popular books, for example all the ‘erotica books are done in the style of Fifty Shades these days.  The same thing happened with the Da Vinci Code as well as others I would have noticed had I bothered to look at best sellers.  I do recall Salmon Fishing in the Yemen spawning a few as well.

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It is thanks to the wonderful Private Eye magazine and in particular the infrequent Bookalikes column that has encouraged me to bring this travesty of lazy publishers to your attention.  All it takes is the effort to employ some artists, recognise that people don’t want another clone of books they have already read and some original works…it’s not difficult to reinvigorate the poor selection of bestsellers out there.

Stop giving the masses more of the same and if you are so inclined at least dress it up to seem like something that is worth it…or better still don’t jump on the band wagon but bring out original stories, there are plenty out there to be snatched up.  It’s a new world these days and the old guard of publishers are being left behind by the strides being made in self publishing.

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I read a quote once where some high up woman in a company was proud of the fact the book her company was publishing a book that  had a ‘similar plot line to Fifty Shades’.   Don’t despair though as It’s not all the publisher’s fault though, it is up to us readers to vote with our wallets and show them we won’t accept tardy rehashes but are ready to be wowed by new and better written works.  Anyway small rant over, I would give you more examples of book covers but sadly all my back issues of Private eye are packed away….

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27 Replies to “Deja-View”

    1. It is one of my pet annoyances and one of the reasons why I hardly bother looking at the bestsellers. I am glad I am not alone in this. At least I know which rubbish books to avoid when they all look the same so that is a plus point, ha!

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  1. I’m sure the authors wouldn’t be too happy unless deliberately trying to cash in. But which is more successful the cover or the title? I was reading about an Amazon ban on a certain un PC monster genre, so one author changed the title of her book and sales plummeted! Something like Alien Sex Slave was the original title and it got tamed down and her rocketing career slowed to a halt. Well, I don’t really have much to say on that, except that the title seems kind of important.

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    1. Alien Sex Slave, I would have to read the blurb on that, I can imagine some serious work on emancipation hidden in an Star Trek episode…the cover can only be imagined…I can’t remember many titles recently. I fear I am judging a book by its cover but this blanket ban on such a thing is to miss the nuances of certain genres. I may have to go on a quest to bring the hilarious and bad titles to the attention of you gentle readers…but not without a lot of alcohol in me, Stethinks.

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    1. Overly nice I think, I remember shaking my head at a lot more examples than this over past weeks, which I don’t now remember…perhaps book companies pay for the rights to certain photos and to save money just pass them around, like pop bands do with their music.

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  2. I’ve seen the “woman in to woods” cover somewhere else too – can’t remember where, but I know I’ve seen it and it wasn’t one of those titles.

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    1. I wonder what the record is for the most amount of times a cover is used…I will avoid all books like this in the future methinks.

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  3. No WAY!! Fancy just using the same cover! How odd. I get heartily sick of bland repetitive covers in YA. I have a blanket policy (which I’m sure I’ve mentioned before…ad nauseum) of rejecting any book with a long haired girl on the cover. It’s served me well so far.

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    1. I like your tactic…I have attempted that with any cheesy covers but it did narrow my reading choice down a lot. Cliché is not a seller…especially for the e-reader readers.

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    1. I thought so too, maybe the artist just sell them to whomever or perhaps it is the publishers that hold the copyright. Either way it’s a tacky practise.

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      1. It depends on where the image is sourced. Most newspapers, magazines and publishers don’t go through the long process of arranging a photo shoot. They just buy images ready-made from photo libraries, which are all available online: Corbis, Getty, Alamy and Thinkstock are some of the biggest ones. I think you can pay to have exclusive rights over the image, but in other cases, you only get the option of using in it your publication and anyone else can do the same. I did once work on a book which almost had an identical cover to a German title, both sourced from photo libraries. In the end, we published an international and a German edition with different covers just to get round the clash. So it can happen by chance. >>Ahem<<
        There are whole websites now dedicated to clichés in photo libraries. The most famous is "women laughing alone with salad" …

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        1. That explains a lot…I can imagine there being a lot of accidental crossover especially when something is making money and ‘subconsciously’ influencing the people who choose the covers. That’s extremely interesting to know. I tend to not pay much attention to where books came from so hadn’t done much research but now I think it deserves looking into.

          Women laughing alone with salad is perhaps the best website title I have ever heard…I do hear that salad is a knockout at open mic nights.

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  4. Well – ignorant me. If I’m gonna’ stay out of this trap – I better consult with you first before making any book purchases…

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    1. Haha, as it should be my friend, I’ll read the bad books so you don’t have to go through the pain and point out the good books and all I ask in return is one of your legendary high fives, please.

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  5. I must admit to having this escape me as I do so much reading these days on the Kindle. I was rather shocked to know this is happening, although why the reaction I am not sure, as we seem to be a somewhat lazy society. Thanks for this great post Ste J.

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    1. Laziness is one thing but it is jobs for people in the long run and that should be what the publishing business is about…it does feel disappointing to pick up a book, a unique work and then see the cover a few months later…it takes a way from the experience. Kindles are good for keeping the illusion though even I grudgingly admit that lol.

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      1. I keep thinking about this blog post of yours and I am still shocked at what you have shone the light on. Is shone the proper word? 😉

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        1. On this blog any word goes for I love a bit of anarchy, especially anarchy with a few rules. Check Alistair’s comment (the one in reply to me, in reply to Ren) he sheds some light on the situation, which still seems a bit lazy.

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  6. Always so very intriguing….the various pieces of information you shed light onto. I’ve never even noticed same book covers, except maybe by color….like a bunch of blue ones all together making them blur a bit. Now it would seem an entire conspiracy?! Okay, maybe not so very dramatic as that….this topic makes me sad when I think of writers and what they go through to get their ‘vision’ out there…I wonder if any of them know about this duplication business? xxxxxx

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    1. As far as I’m aware a lot of authors don’t get a choice unless you have enough clout with book sales then perhaps you get a chance. I like your conspiracy idea, it’s almost a book in itself…I wonder what that cover would look like though…xxxxxx

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  7. Readers of the world, unite, you have nothing to lose but your hard-earned money on beach trash! Lol
    You have a way with words, which is why, when I am tired of feeling down, I visit your blog for a quick smile.

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    1. I like to provide smiles to the international community so feel free to surf on over whenever! I do have a bit of a loathing for lazy books, be they the cover or the words…it miffs me more than a miffed thing!

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