i on Romance: Cover Clones

Posted April 4th, 2014 by in Blog, Features, ionR / 45 comments

i on Romance: Cover Clones


With the rise in self-publishing, cover art is something that is becoming more standardized. Now, it’s not the worst thing ever – once you’re reading a book, the cover is behind you.

But have you ever looked at something on Amazon (or your shopping site of choice) and wondered if you’ve read it before based on the cover?

There are actually a few categories in the “Cover Clone” club. Covers that use the same model(s), Covers that use the same art, and Covers that are so visually similar they all blend together. I’ve made a few graphics to highlight examples, but I want to stress that I find absolutely *nothing* wrong with any of these books – nor do I find the practice bad in any sense.


Books that Use the Same Image


Covers Using the Same Model – Jimmy Thomas


Covers Using Visually Similar Images

However, I’d love to hear your take on the matter! What do you think? Have you ever had a moment where you had to double check to see if you owned a title already based on the cover art? Are you tired of seeing a layout over and over?
Sound off in the comments!



45 Responses to “i on Romance: Cover Clones”

  1. Jen B

    I have noticed the same images on books lots of times, it can get a bit confusing. What I find more annoying though, is a book changing it’s cover, making me think I haven’t read it when I have.

  2. Ada

    I kinda enjoy seeing multiple covers…or at least seeing the same models on the different covers. It’s kinda cool to see the different ways they can change it up. And to be honestly, I haven’t really seen all that many that were the same but maybe that’s just because I’m kinda clueless sometimes haha

    • KarenL

      As you can see above, Jimmy Thomas is amazingly versatile. I used his covers on purpose. I’m amazed at how many different looks he can pull off.

      You should check out some of the “listopia” lists on Goodreads – especially the color themed cover lists. Most of them are gorgeous, but you’ll see a lot of similar covers. Right now it seems to be women under water. πŸ™‚

      • infinitieh

        Jimmy Thomas is a special case; he models in and sells his photos. I don’t know of that many others who do the same.

  3. Kimberly V

    All the time. It just happened now with the cover of Mia Marlowe’s book in this post. I thought it was Bronwen Evans’ A Kiss of Lies.

    • KarenL

      Wow! You’re dead on. Those covers are almost identical. Good call.

  4. orchid7

    I’m not really a big fan of it when the same models and poses are used on multiple books. It does get confusing, and when I have to keep checking to see if I already have it, it can get a bit annoying. I also tend to “identify” a certain model with a certain story or series, so having to now think of those same exact faces and poses connected to a different one can be strange.
    One thing I dislike more than the repetitive use of the identical poses on covers is the ever increasing trend I’ve seen lately of authors/publishers reissuing previously published books under new covers. You get all excited about a new release only to discover that you’ve already read it. Thankfully I try to check before auto-buying my favorite authors so that I don’t end up with duplicates.

    • KarenL

      That’s a good point. Auto-buying an author can get tricky. Especially if they’re prolific. Even reading a summary might not be a sure thing. In those cases, “Manage your Kindle” (in my case) is a life-saver.

      Luckily, I tend not to ‘see’ a cover once it’s on my tablet, so I don’t get an image of the couple in my head once I’m reading. I make the movie with new characters as I go. I can definitely see how it’s an issue though – which was part of why I wrote this. I know it’s a big issue for some people. I totally sympathize.

    • Sara HJ

      I have a Nook and Kindle, and I have recently ended up buying re-issues by an author (new covers) I already had on another device. I am a visual person, so I associate covers with books, now had these reissues had the same old cover I would probably have stopped and looked.

      • KarenL

        I *almost* did that as well – luckily it was a book in a series, and I just went back to make sure I had that number, and I did. SOOO close to buying it again though.

  5. bn100

    yes, see it all the time; don’t like seeing the same cover/couple used by different authors, especially when the books come out at the time time

    • KarenL

      Perhaps a new batch of models come out at the same time and then the cover artists jump all over it – at least that’s my guess for why you see them at the same time. I wonder if there’s any remedy for this?

  6. Sara HJ

    Off late I have been noticing the same models on different covers – Case in point as illustrated above. A little time and effort by Cover designers to do a Google image search before they use a stock photo would definitely be worth the effort in my humble opinion. Glad we decided to talk about this topic Karen, now I know I’m not the only one who find the cloning annoying πŸ™‚

    • KarenL

      Yup, and big props to you Sara for helping me out with this one. Turns out to be a really hot topic!

  7. Leanna

    It can be annoying especially when you accidentally buy a book you already own again (like Sara did). I have noticed that if a particular series is popular other books tend to go for similarly styled covers. I noticed that after the 50 shades of grey trilogy came out there were a lot of authors that had similar covers. Slyvia Day comes to mind as having similar covers. It should not reflect on the author as the publisher often has the final say on a cover.

    • KarenL

      Oh yeah, that trend is still happening too. The simple covers with clothing/accessories/glassware thing. Super confusing.

      I agree on your last point as well. I’m sure the author has much less input than the publisher when it’s a major publisher.

    • KarenL

      I’m guessing probably moreso over the last couple of years than any other time in publishing. We’re all double-taking. πŸ™‚

  8. ki pha

    Yes, yes I have doubled checked my piles of books, printed and e-copies,just to make sure I didn’t already have it. I don’t mind seeing the same covers, sometimes I know right off the bat which cover one of my authors used and can even name the book. I guess I laugh too as my mind races to identify it. But I do judge and compare it to other books I’ve seen with the same cover. Like does it look nicer, does it match the back blurb, does the title match the cover…etc… And having the same model isn’t bad either because I like seeing a certain model on my covers. πŸ˜€

    But for the visually similar images one, I think they’re that way because they’re in the same kind of genre, like Dystopia like books, or the creepy weird ones.

    • KarenL

      Yup, I notice that too. A LOT of the YA Dystopian novels are what I’d call “dreamy” looking. Gorgeous, but they tend to blend together.

      I love that you give thought to your covers, because I’m graphically inclined as well. I appreciate my covers for the short time I see them, and sometimes I even keep them around if they’re striking enough. (phone lock screens, etc)

      If you follow me on twitter, I also play around with covers every once in a while. It’s irreverent fun, but I only do it with Authors that I know will find it amusing. πŸ™‚

  9. infinitieh

    On one hand, I do buy covers with my favorite models on them so having multiples of a pose on different books isn’t that big a deal. On the other hand, this is what ticks me off about self-published books – using the same or similar photos and without the benefit of a traditional cover artist (of whom which I do have favorites).

    • KarenL

      I’m guessing you mean it ticks you off when someone steals an image for the cover of their book? Or perhaps even using it badly? Yeah, I know what you mean. I was a graphic artist in a previous life, and both scenarios bother me too.

      • infinitieh

        No, not stealing. Since I only got into reading Romances due to the cover art, generally in the photo-realistic (i.e., Claudio Marinesco) to the painting-like (i.e., Jon Paul Ferrara and Aleta Rafton) spectrum, some of the self-pub books have only so-so cover art by comparison. Now, for most people those would be perfectly fine covers, but to me, they’d be a deal breaker. But then, I also complained when J R Ward’s The Fallen Angel series changed cover artists (bring back Don Sipley!!).

  10. marcyshuler

    I don’t buy a book based on it’s cover. But I do check both my Nook and Kindle libraries, my ‘read’ books on Goodreads, and also my paperbacks to double check if I’ve already purchased/read a book. I also dislike it when books are reissued in ebook format with totally new covers and sometimes new titles and it’s not clearly stated up front.

    I also thought that was Bronwen’s book at first glance instead of Mia Marlowe’s. There should be a database for authors to let them know when a cover has been used last to prevent the same cover being used with close publication dates.

    • KarenL

      Oh man, that kind of a database would be amazing! Unfortunately, that would mean they’d all have to coordinate, and we know how difficult that would most likely be.

      I’ve run into the new title thing myself. I wasn’t incredibly peeved because I really dug the book and I had lost my older copy, but I ended up re-reading a book that I didn’t really *need* to re-read.

  11. Sara HJ

    @marcyshuler: A data base is a great idea but honestly Karen and I took one book cover from the image titled “Books that Use the Same Image” and did a reverse image google search and came up with the rest of the book covers you see on that image and more.
    It is really as simple as – A little effort goes a long way…

    Cover designers, If you are reading this post hope you are taking notes πŸ˜‰

    • KarenL

      When Sara says “and more” she’s not kidding. I had quite a few more to choose from. So yeah, take notes. πŸ™‚

  12. denise

    I notice it a lot–sometimes the books are totally different genres of fiction, too

    • KarenL

      Yup. Again, I see it a LOT in dystopian and horror – crossing over into YA/NA romance/paranormal. Seems to be a deluge of that lately.

  13. denise

    and, I’ve seen Harlequin recycle their own covers, too, just a few months apart. Sometimes, the “photo shop” the colors of a dress, sheets, hair, etc…

    • KarenL

      Oooh, I haven’t noticed that, perhaps I should keep an eye out. At least they’re doing something to camouflage it.

  14. Rakisha

    I’m a young adult librarian, and I don’t like the “cover alikes.” It happened a lot with other YA books especially after the success of Twilight. Publishers re-released books like Jane Eyre so it resembled Twilight. I don’t like that. I think it assumes readers are not bright.

  15. Nicole Potter (@NiiArt)

    As someone who graduated with a degree in art, and have done book covers before and just am overall inspired by beautiful book covers, I have to say I am highly swayed by a book cover. I can walk through the shelves, and if I see a nice cover I’ll pick it up to read what it’s about. It’s a terrible habit!

    I have noticed several books, especially kindle books, that reuse the same images. I have done a double take before, as I always pay very close attention to covers! Though in general, it doesn’t really bother me πŸ™‚

    I will pick up a book if it’s good and has a terrible cover, mind you! I just have to read reviews on it first before I will buy it…thank GOODNESS for the Goodreads app!

    • KarenL

      Oh yeah, the Goodreads app is a lifesaver! I rely on the reviews there, even if they’re just stars. πŸ™‚

  16. lavendersbluegreen

    The ones that actually really bothered me were the ones with the EXACT same image. That is just not fair to the author, the reader, or even the models / artist. That is a publisher(s) that are being disrespectful. In my opinion. The others don’t really bug me that much….