Is it okay to use an image of a book's cover in a book review?
I'm writing a Hub to review an amazing independently published book I read a while back, but I've never written a review as a longform article before and I'm not sure if it's okay to use the book's cover as an image in my article. I've read plenty of book reviews on blogs and such that included a picture of the cover front and center, but I'm not sure if those reviews were solicited or if the reviewer just typed up the review of their own accord and included it. Are book covers one of those images that are considered safe for editorial use?
Book covers may be copyright protected by either the author or the person who designed it, but I don't think most author's/designers would have a problem with you using the book cover picture on your hub. Speaking for myself, I wouldn't have a problem with it. I've used a number of full covers and parts of covers in hubs and never had anyone complain. It's free advertising. Another good thing about showing the cover is in case someone writes down only the title of the book and, when they go to search for it on Amazon or someplace, they find more than one book with that title or the titles are very similar. They will probably remember the cover you displayed and be able to choose the one they want to buy.
When referencing the picture, perhaps link it to the author's website or the Amazon link to buy the book. I'm sure they won't mind at all - it's free publicity for them and you're clearly not trying to use the image as something you made. I wrote a book review and used the cover and the author was delighted.
In most cases, it's considered "fair use" because you're specifically addressing that particular work. Including a link is always a good idea and, when in doubt, look up the author's webpage and ask if you can use it. It's actually not hard to get into contact with most authors, and I've gotten into some fascinating conversations with a few different authors, and been sent some free books for future reviews . I own a review website and use images of book covers, movie covers, etc. and have never had an issue. As I understand it, though, any scanned pages, screenshots (in the case of movies or digital games), or artwork that's not on the outside of the package may be considered copyright infringement, so those are usually what I contact authors or agents about.
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