“Hey, I saw your book cover on another book!” How to avoid this scenario…
There are also sites like Fiverr.com where people trying to make a little extra money will create your book covers on the cheap.
Many independent authors, and even the folks creating book covers on the cheap, think they can just jump on a stock photo site and find the perfect image for a new book.
That’s usually fine, but keep in mind that you’re not the only self-published author, or cheap book cover creator, scouring stock photo sites for the perfect book cover image.
Even though there are hundreds of stock image sites, some of the most commonly used are iStockPhoto, Shutterstock, Dreamstime, PhotoDune and BigStock.
Another thing that some folks may not be aware of is that the same stock images may appear on more than one stock photo site, so the same image could be on every site I mentioned above.
For example, photographer Yuri Arcurs has his work on all the stock photo sites listed above. The following are links to the same image on all the sites:
What can you do to make sure you’re not using the same image on your book covers as other authors?
First, this information only applies to authors who are concerned about this issue. You may not care that the image you or your designer has chosen is being used by other authors. You’ve decided you like the image, it fits with the content of your story and you’re going to use it no matter how many other books it appears on. That’s not a problem. Go for it.
However, if this is not what you want, one service you can use is TinEye.
TinEye is a reverse image search service that will allow you to upload an image or enter an image URL, so you can see where it comes from and where it’s being used on the web. I did that with the book cover image in the top left of this post. I found these other covers with the same image:
TinEye is a free service, and it takes only seconds for it to search over two billion images and return your results. The service can also come in handy when you want to see if other sites are violating your copyright or intellectual property rights on images you’ve taken exclusively for use on your book covers. What if you’ve paid a photographer for the exclusive rights to a picture he/she took? Wouldn’t you want to know if the photographer is honoring your exclusive agreement, especially since you’ve most likely paid a pretty penny for that exclusivity? TinEye can help.
TinEye even has convenient browser extensions for Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer and Opera, so you don’t have to visit their site every time you want to search the web for an image.
You can even use TinEye to search by colors.
If you’re aware of other services, like TinEye, that allow for reverse image searches, please leave a comment on this post. With the way websites come and go, it would be great to know of other sites that do the same or similar things as TinEye.
Just FYI: A search through TinEye for the photo by Yuri Arcurs shows that it is in use 94 times on the web. Who knows how many times it’s been used in print format.