On book browsing and double takes

Image: Pixabay

Sometimes I get a little confused when I’m browsing through books. I may be online or walking through the library or a book store. A cover catches my eye and I think, “Ooh, that looks good!” And then I pause, “Hmmm, that cover looks familiar. Haven’t I already read that one?”

Now I blame some of this confusion on my advancing age, but I get a little stubborn when I get an idea about something, so I did a little investigating. Look at the book covers below and tell me what you think. Don’t they look similar?





Who’s driving these trends? Are we, the readers, showing our preferences and the publishers are giving us what we want? Or is it the other way around? What do you think?

Thanks for visiting – come back soon!


29 thoughts on “On book browsing and double takes

  1. Gosh, at first glance, you’d think the same author wrote the books that look similar. My guess would be maybe a little of both drives the trends. I’m thankful for the feature on Amazon that tells me, “You already purchased this book, dummy!” 🙂

    1. Haha! I think the first three in my post are the most similar. I can’t decide if seeing them makes me want to pick them up or pass them by. I’m definitely attracted to a certain type of cover, so maybe I’m a marketing target! Thanks for stopping by, Jill.

  2. Oh wow, I must admit I have never noticed, but I bet I do now, although there are couple I have noticed that looked similar. I also think that a little of both drives the trend, now 1 need to look at a few books I have bought recently and see if there is a trend with mine 🙂

  3. I agree–those covers are similar! I think it’s even more common now, because many authors and publishers use stock images for their book covers. You’ll see the exact same base image on two different books. Sometimes a few other images are added to it, and of course the font and style are different, but the underlying image is the same.

  4. A lot of the advice I’ve been listening to has been saying that you need to keep your covers similar to what’s expected in your genre, but geez, this is going too far. I agree with Carrie, that stock photos have a bit to do with it, but I know some indie authors use quickie cover services on Fiver for book covers…and if you look at the example covers these “designers” have to offer, they all look the exact same.

    1. Yes, you are right. I’m sure publishers study what sells and go with a cover style that has a good history. My father and I used stock images for both his books and gave them to the publisher to design covers. We are happy with the results, but we looked through thousands of images before we came up with them. Thanks for reading!

  5. I’m also tired of the repetitive titles: The Girl with the ____, The _____’s Wife, The ______’s Daughter. I’m all for female leads, but please let this trend end soon!!

    1. Oh I know, the title thing is definitely a trend. And it didn’t just start. My book club has been together for over fifteen years and the first book we read was The Bonesetter’s Daughter by Amy Tan. Maybe she started it!

  6. I had the same experience lately…is the indie market getting homogenised? I sincerely hope not. I feel that the cost of self publishing is driving this trend. 🙂

    1. Maybe so. As a previous comment noted, many book covers use stock images which can appear on more than one cover. Although I do believe publishers have a hand in this too. Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Jane!

  7. Do you think they all had the same graphic artist do the covers? Or maybe one book sold really, really well and a different author thought that might be able to fool readers into buying their book by mistake (I’m thinking of all the books that have GIRL in the title). Good observation, Barb.

  8. Oh yes, this drives me nuts. There are so many look-alike book covers right now! And with so many with similar topics or variations on a theme, it really can be difficult to figure out which is which, much less which I’ve actually read.

  9. Wow, those are really TOO similar! One more reason I need to always keep my “have read” list updated, so I don’t second guess whether I’ve read something before or not. Great post!

  10. I was just checking the status of two books I have on the wait list from my local library. The books are “As Bright as Heaven” by Susan Meissner and “The Address” by Fiona Davis. I did a double take and thought of your recent post and had to laugh. The book covers are basically the same. Thanks for not opening my eyes to great writing but to the books covers!

  11. It’s a pet peeve of mine. Do they really think I’m so dumb I’ll buy a book without making sure I have the right one?? Ugh. I’m also really done with two other trends–the new scrawled/drawing cover re-dos on many titles and the “branding” of all an author’s works to look exactly alike. I love good cover art. Each should be unique.

  12. Wow – what a fascinating observation and a great set of examples! I’m sure someone somewhere has an algorithm for book covers and what works and doesn’t. Much as I’d like to say you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover….I usually do 😏

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