Tuesday, December 29, 2009

In Which Trai Wonders About a Cover Art Coup

On Sunday, I was wandering through Barnes & Noble, having gone to pick up the newest Kitty Norville book by the wonderful Carrie Vaughn (review up soon, hopefully). As I was walking past the new paperbacks rack, I was stunned to see a reprint of a Jane Austen-related book that's gotten dreadful reviews. The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet, written by Coleen McCullough of The Thornbirds fame, has been slammed by Janeites on all quarters since its release earlier this year.

As I looked at the book, I noticed to my shock how similar it was to the poster art for the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movie (the one with Keira Knightley). I went home and made a comparison image, sending it to the wonderful website Austenblog, which I've been reading for about two or three years now. Mags, the Editrix, very kindly posted the image with my story.

I was surprised to see the similarities between the cover art and the poster, and I'd noticed this before as well-- on two different romance novels I found while browsing the Internet, except in that case, the exact same stock photo was used! I'll give links to my comparison images.

The Independence of Miss Mary Bennet as compared to the Pride & Prejudice movie poster: here.

Expecting the Doctor's Baby as compared to Father by Choice: here.

I feel as though the only thing I can say is, what's up with that? I guess I understand the reasoning: for the romance novels, it could be because Harlequin had the stock photo/drawing and just used it for books with a similar theme. For the P&P sequel, they might have wanted to draw in readers like me who would recognize the image as similar to the P&P poster and therefore take it as authentic.

Both instances smack slightly as lazy to me, but far be it from me to tick off the publishing companies who are nice enough to provide me with reading material. Either way, I'm steering clear of Mary Bennet, but I thought I'd throw the issue out there. The cover artists aren't pulling a fast one on me!

- Trai

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