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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just posted a blog post (link: http://stevewhibley.blogspot.ca/2013/03/doppelganger-book-covers-beware.html) about how some images are used in multiple books, and I was wondering if anyone here knew if there was one site in particular where professional book designers get their stock art from. I'm thinking I would like to find the original image from some of the covers I blogged about, but there are hundreds of stock art sites and I was thinking that perhaps there was one in particular that was used above the others.

Thanks guys
 

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Shutterstock.com
Depositphotos.com
Bigstock.com

These are just a few of the many out there, and some of them carry the same photos so it's very easy to understand why books end up with the same images. Recently, I read a blog that focused on Traditonally published books and their covers and actually showed the different variations and how the artist treated it. It was very interesting.
 

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Some also use Flickr's Creative Commons images with Attribution license or Dreamstime.com. iStockphoto.com is very popular. No wonder there are covers with the same pictures, photographers upload their work to sell on many sites.

Best way to avoid it is to get exclusive license from photographer himself with restrictions so that others can use it for commercial work etc. But then you won't buy a photo for $20, it will go into hundreds, and depending on what territories it's licensed for (World or US only) price can approach $1000.

Premade covers seem most at risk to have same stock used multiple times (unintentionally, if picture is good, then many designers will like it and decide to use it). So accidents happen.

It may not be detrimental tho as you say, esp. if designer can manipulate them really well and make it looks different.
 

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Or you could go to a local art school if you know what you want and buy all rights from a young talent.
You both get the benefits. You get reasonably priced art and the talent gets exposure.
There are enough "starving" artist around to get your pick.
 
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For me the right image is more important than a unique image. Granted you could get a right and unique image by paying for a photoshoot with thousands of dollars, but probably not too feasible for many of us...
 
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Mathew Reuther said:
I don't know what's worse. Having to worry about your stock image being used multiple times.

Or writing in a genre where you need an illustrated cover to catch eyes.

:)
I imagine the second since it would likely bankrupt me. :D
 

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I'm actively putting off writing my action/adventure and epic fantasy ideas until after I have earners in genres I can get away with skimping on the illustrations. I can't afford the (minimally) hundreds of dollars right now for covers. The artists I really love? Four figures, just for the art.
 

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Steve

It's a common issue that's just part of the deal. I was surprised recently to notice that the "hot-chick with gun" on Konrath/Peterson's latest collab was a stock, and I've seen it elsewhere. Surprising because that's an Amazon/T&M release. I would think they would go all custom but apparently not.

You'd think that with all the pro and amateur photographer in the world selling on all the stock sites that there would be billions of stocks to choose from, and maybe there are, but when you're looking for something very specific your choices seem to get narrowed very quickly and all the different stock sites tend to carry the same pics. Kinda like how indie authors upload to all the different e-sellers. Erotica is a big example of this. Look at enough titles and you'll see the same models, or stocks from the same shoots, on dozens of covers.

That's where a great designer comes in, using different parts of a stock or combining them and manipulating them to be unique. If you're in the market for one them then I'll say you came to the right place.

The artists I really love? Four figures, just for the art.
That's what you get for shopping on Deviantart. Everyone was warned about that. ;D
 
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D.L. Shutter said:
but when you're looking for something very specific your choices seem to get narrowed very quickly
Case in point: trying to find a female warrior who isn't rail thin or look, as JRTomlin would say, like they'd worry about breaking a nail.
 

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D.L. Shutter said:
It's a common issue that's just part of the deal. I was surprised recently to notice that the "hot-chick with gun" on Konrath/Peterson's latest collab was a stock, and I've seen it elsewhere. Surprising because that's an Amazon/T&M release. I would think they would go all custom but apparently not.
I have heard that sometimes authors are able to give input on covers more at Amazon than at other publishing houses. It may be that they liked that image and asked to have it used. *shrug*

That's what you get for shopping on Deviantart. Everyone was warned about that. ;D
That's what I get windowshopping tradpub illustrators. ;)
 

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cdstephens said:
Jennifer Lawrence, but then her fee would likely be prohibitive.
Funny. I was just admiring her rear tonight and thinking about how not exactly tiny she is.

(It's pretty prominent in Silver Linings Playbook. She's still not what I'd call big though.)
 

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Yup, cover stock is tough. That's why I try to shoot my own, and why I offer extra shots cheaply to KBers before I upload them to Dreamstime.

When I have a model in, I'll do tons of things with her for stock in addition to my cover. (Yeah, including sticking her in bondage tape...) http://www.dreamstime.com/Girlstar_portfolio_pg1 (Safe search will need to be off to see...)

I upload about 10 images a week there. Slowly building. If there is a stock hole, I ask KBers to tell me and I try to fill it. I have about 300 images to upload, but it's a tedious process and I am on a tight deadline on writing right now.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Good points, guys. What I found interesting, too, was that the covers I featured in my blog post were not from little presses (not all of them). Some of them were from major guys. Some of them were NYT bestsellers and major award winners. I thought it was interesting that the top presses would use such images as the main focal points in their books. It would be totally different if they used some such images for some of the other elements.

I think it would only be unfortunate if the competing title was same genre/market/timing . . . and I'm not sure how likely all those factors falling into place would be. Maybe more likely than I'm thinking they'd be though.
 

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Hi!

Thought I'd add in my cover collection here - these books are all from different authors, but with he same male model image. I think all the covers still look pretty unique though as they were cleverly manipulated. Plus, unless you REALLY hang on stock sites and study ebook covers like me, I'm not too sure that readers will notice the duplication so easily or care about it...though I do try to steer away from images that have been used repeatedly when I design covers...but the very meaning of STOCK IMAGE is that it is sold repeatedly - otherwise it would never be so cheap. If a photographer has to set up a photoshoot, hire models, get costumes etc. and then he/she will only be able to sell an image once - do you think they'd ask $10 or even $50 for it? No way!

This dilemma, by the way, is not only present in the book publishing world, but even great companies have run into the problem when using stock images for advertising and billboards. I came accross this amusing post about competing websites with the same banner image:
http://fairtradephotographer.blogspot.com/2010/03/microstock-why-would-reputable-company.html

Right - here's the cover images:



Also, to answer your question about which stock sites are used by designers - I'd say 80% of stock images are exactly the same on ALL major sites! So that's a futile question...with time as you study covers you will easily identify the images that have been used a lot...best is to always at least combine two images.

All the best,
Melody
 
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