As you can see from the picture below, I removed the red background with all the distracting raffia and rice, and replaced it with an open book. You see the bookmark, and you can understand that it's on top of a book. It's not confusing anymore. I also tried to reduce the reflection I was getting from the lighting and the laminate plastic by angling my camera differently.
I think the new photos are much better, so thank you V. and fellow Etsians for your help!
It will take some time before I can swap out all the old photos, but eventually, they'll all be updated.