A common phenomenon in publishing is the “lookalike cover,” which happens when two covers share the same stock photograph (or at least a very similar one).

Here’s an example from the first of my new Midnighters covers:

Note: This lookalike was first spotted by Pop Culture Junkie.

This isn’t such a bad lookalike, because the photos have been cropped, Photoshopped, and used in very different ways. Plus, it’s a fairly normal-looking stock photo.

But the crazier the photo, the more obvious the lookalike. Like this one that was pointed out to me recently (thanks, Eloise). It involves the Australian cover for Peeps and, um, the Bible.

Now what sort of Bible is that, you ask? It’s a coffee-table version with slick magazine-like layouts, that’s supposed to appeal to you slick young things.

As one might expect, The Bible: Illuminated was surrounded by a fairly boring controversy over whether publishers should try to make religious texts “cool” or not. Blah, blah, blah. Some people will like it, others not. For some, the juxtaposition of modern images with ancient texts will be brain-rattling, which is probably a good thing.

But for readers of Peeps, the cognitive dissonance should be especially intense. And that’s the fun part of lookalikes—when the same image works in different ways for two very different books.

Any more lookalikes out there that you guys have found?

Update: And it turns out there are more of these eyeball covers! Check them out on Pop Culture Junkie.

114 thoughts on “Lookalikes

  1. I just saw that Bible today, and did several double takes when I noticed it in the store. It was pretty surreal–I wondered whether I’d gone temporarily insane.

  2. I think it’s good that those two look alike! Very interesting how the same cover can work for two very different things!

  3. Funny thing, which happened a while ago. The day you posted this I go to the mall. I go into waldenbooks and while looking through the clearance section, guess what I find. THAT book, I laughed for ten minutes. I just thought it was really funny. That is now the wallpaper on my phone. 😀

  4. scary. I never knew a Bible’s cover could look like that.The Bible is supposed to have a calm, peaceful, NON-LOOKALIKE cover, not one that matches a scott westerfeld book (no offence, scott [or god]). I REAPEAT: SCARY

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