Double Dipping?

These two covers are so similar, I am guessing the photos were taken at the same shoot. The young woman on Boy Proof by Cecil Castellucci (Candlewick 2005) and the young woman on The Declaration by Gemma Malley (Bloomsbury 2007) look like the same person.

Boy Proof Declaration

The paperback cover for Boy Proof has a more interesting type treatment, but uses the same photo (it seems to be clearer, but that may be the cover scan). The British cover for The Declaration is completely different and gives a different sense of what the book might contain.

Boy Proof B Declaration B

I haven’t actually seen anything written about it, but I’ve noticed a huge increase over the last ten years in the numbers of book covers for children and teens using photography rather than illustration. With designers using stock photos more than ever before, it surprises me a little that we don’t see more book covers using the same photos or the photos from the same shoot. Do stock photo companies keep some kind of registry of who is using the photos that is available to designers? How much does price affect the choice to use photos over illustrations?

Boy Proof: Feeling alienated from everyone around her, Los Angeles high school senior and cinephile Victoria Jurgen hides behind the identity of a favorite movie character until an interesting new boy arrives at school and helps her realize that there is more to life than just the movies. (Age 14+)
The Declaration: In 2140 England, where drugs enable people to live forever and children are illegal, teenaged Anna, an obedient “Surplus” training to become a house servant, discovers that her birth parents are trying to find her. (Age 9-12) Jacket design by Donna Mark.

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3 Responses to “Double Dipping?”

  1. This happens pretty frequently. There’s generally no way to prevent it with royalty-free stock (where you pay a flat licensing fee). Usage is not exclusive or easily trackable.

    Using stock photography is often cheaper than commissioning illustration, but in my experience, we generally ask for a photo or photo-realistic cover or a traditionally illustrated cover. It’s rare that we ask the art director to try both. Audience and trends influence the photo-or-illo decision more than cost, generally.

  2. The girl on the cover of TANTALIZE (Candlewick, 2007) also appears on the cover of a British adult book, and my agent spotted her photo in a makeup ad. It’s all stock photography from Getty Images. I love my cover. And because these all cater to different markets, I don’t think there’s any negative effect. But I would fret reader confusion if, say, two American YAs featured clearly the same person in the same cover art.

    Great blog by the way! I’ll be featuring the link on Cynsations in February!

  3. For the record, I like the butterfly one better than all the others . . .

    As an artist, I’m always attracted to beautifully illustrated covers — not so much the ones with photography. But some subjects sort of demand photography — can you imagine those street sign ones done as effectively by an illustrator? I can’t.

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