The Difference between a Book Cover and an Ebook cover

Ebook cover design has to be tackled differently from a printed book cover. A print book has a back cover and spine. It has ‘substance’ and tactile qualities. An ebook cover design on the other hand is just a digital rendition on a screen, generally at a very tiny size. Unless you are an established author, it is important to make sure that your cover ‘works’ at a small size. Too much detail and too much text will also make the cover messy.

Criminology Textbooks

Criminology textbook cover designs for Napier Press

Bear in mind that sales messages and reviews can be placed within the description on the web page rather than the cover. Fonts and colours need careful consideration too. Many fonts, especially serif, don’t hold up well at small sizes. If you haven’t created a title for your book yet, you might find it useful to come up with something simple to add to the cover’s visibility. It’s also worth checking your title on Amazon to see if there are other books with the same title and compare. Also look at covers in the same genre. Don’t make your book look similar, make it stand out from the crowd.

Professional ebook cover design will give your ebook ‘substance’ and the potential buyer will get more of an idea of what they are purchasing. Your aim is to present a substantial quality product. Even if it’s a free ebook it should look like it’s worth downloading.

If you are brave enough to create your own ebook cover, the ideal size is 2,560 x 1,600 pixels so they appear in high quality on larger devices. Personally I think 1,400 x 2,100 pixels is perfectly adequate. You can supply a square cover too if required. Submit in RGB colour space.

Book Cover Design Variations

Alternative cover designs (I usually supply 5 different alternative designs)

Finished Print Cover - My Urchin Empress

Developed finished print cover. Design chosen by client.

Ebook cover software

Don’t be fooled by ebook cover software which claims to create professional results in minutes. Unless you have experience in graphic design and using graphic software, the chances are that your cover design is going to be mediocre compared to one created by a professional. This will of course lead to fewer sales and probably harm your brand.

Therefore if you are planning on selling or giving away an intangible product such as an ebook or ezine, I’ll create a professional image to maximise its potential. You’ll be pleasantly surprised how inexpensive this can be.

Print Cover formatting

If you are planning to submit your own print cover to Amazon KDP make sure you follow these guidelines.

  • Covers should be one continuous image centred left to right on the spine at a resolution of at least 300dpi. If your image is small and low resolution, don’t be tempted to just increase its size.
  • Flatten all layers in the native file.
  • Bleed of 0.125″ (3.2 mm) is required on all sides.
  • Any content you don’t intend to be trimmed off should be a minimum of 0.25″ (6.4 mm) from the outside cover edge.
  • Embed all fonts on the cover in the native program before publishing.

Spine measurements for black and white books on KDP

  • White paper: page count x 0.002252″ (0.0572 mm)
  • Cream paper: page count x 0.0025″ (0.0635 mm)

For Complete Print Options and KDP Pricing

Please note, if you intend using a different publisher, they will have different specifications for bleed and paper thickness.

Cover Templates

You can also download a cover template form KDP. Decide on book size, paper thickness then  add in your number of pages. For the barcode – you can supply your own or let KDP automatically add one.