Is Penguin using stock photography for cover designs?

I was a little surprised today to see the cover of Ruth Long’s book “The Treachery of Beautiful Things”. After being warned by a designer friend about using stock images (because the same image might end up on multiple book covers) “Treachery” jumped out at me because I’ve been working with the same stock photo for another cover design. Of course I assumed it was an indie published book; even so I will have to ditch the photo as I don’t want to design a cover so similar to something already out there. Turns out this book is actually being published by Penguin! Why oh why is Penguin using stock images for book covers? Isn’t that a little unfair against the little guys who have no choice but to use them? Or has independent publishing so threatened traditional publishing that they can’t hire their own photographers anymore and search for royalty free images like the rest of us?

Anyway it’s a beautiful cover, the book is probably good as well.

My cover was still in a very early (rough) phase, but would have been just as good as the one above eventually.