While it may be standard practice to see book covers with blurbs that read “In the tradition of [insert best-selling author’s name here],” the Internet is abuzz today about one of the most blatant abuses of this questionable technique. MarketingWeek is reporting that the cover of Deadline, a new novel by British thriller writer Simon Kernick, features The Da Vinci Code author Dan Brown’s name well above, and much more prominently than the book’s actual author.
The cover (which can be seen here) states, “If you like your thrillers as fast, furious and unputdownable as Dan Brown, then we thought you’d enjoy…,” followed by the real author’s name and book title way down at the bottom. The top half of the back cover copy lists reasons to read Dan Brown “ only the bottom half mentions Deadline.
Photos of the cover indicate that this edition is exclusive to U.K. chain WH Smith. From writer Pace J. Miller’s blog:
There is no right of publicity in the U.K., but I’m sure both Brown and Kernick would be spewing if they knew about this cover (and at least a prima facie case of passing off could be made). It’s designed to mislead and deceive the careless book buyer, or at the very least cause what is commonly referred to as “initial interest confusion.” The danger is exacerbated when this book is placed right next to Dan Brown’s books, which it was when I found it in WH Smith.
The thing is, Kernick is not some crappy first time author who can’t sell a copy. His previous novel, Relentless, was the 8th best-selling paperback, and the best-selling thriller in the UK in 2007.