How big is a book cover?
There are several answers to that question and it is best if we break the answer down into two sections: ebooks and paperbacks.
Let’s start with the most straightforward…
An ebook does not have a physical cover. Instead, it has a digital image that represents the cover. That digital image is displayed in different places, most importantly on the digital bookshelves of Amazon and other ebook providers.
The image is measured in pixels (the tiny squares that make up a display screen). When you upload a digital image to your ebook company, it must meet a minimum size. If it is too small then your ebook company will reject the image.
If you’re thinking that all ebook companies will have set the same minimum size then that is a sensible assumption. You’re wrong. But it would be nice if it did work that way.
At the time of writing, these are some of the recommended and minimum sizes for an ebook cover:
Ebook company Recommended size in px Minimum size in px
KDP 1600 x 2560 625 x 1000
Barnes and Noble 1333 x 2000 Height 1200
Smashwords 1600 x 2400 Width 1400
Kobo 1600 x 2400 No minimum stated
Apple ibooks 1600 x 2400 Width 1400
Google books 1618 x 2500 No minimum stated
Draft 2 Digital 1600 x 2400 No minimum stated
Lulu 612 x 792 612 x 792
Book baby 1400 x 2100 Width 1400
As you can see, they have not agreed on a common size.
What size do you use?
My starting point for an ebook cover is 1600 x 2400 pixels.
This is for two reasons:
- 1600 x 2400 pixels is the most common recommended size across ebook companies
- It has the same height-to-width ratio as a 6″ x 9″ paperback cover
A cover this size will automatically work with most ebook companies. And, if you are purchasing an ebook and a paperback then your front cover design will look the same in both digital and physical formats.
Can the cover size be changed?
If you are using an ebook company that does not use a 1600 x 2400 cover size (or if you have a particular desire to use a different sized cover image) then I can create the ebook cover at a different size. Let me know which ebook company you are using and what size cover you require and I will provide a cover image in the appropriate format and size.
1600 x 2400 is smaller than KDP recommends
KDP prefers a taller ebook cover. They recommend a cover that is 1600 x 2560.
It is still possible to use a 1600 x 2400 cover for KDP and, in my own personal view, a slightly wider cover stands out nicely on Amazon’s digital bookshelves. However, if you are using KDP and would like your cover to be provided at 1600 x 2560, please just let me know and I will provide a taller, thinner cover for you.
Can I use the cover for more than one ebook company?
Yes. Again, please let me know which ebook companies you are using.
Most of the time, the same file can be used for more than one ebook company. If this is not the case and more versions of the cover file are needed, that is not a problem. Normally I can include this for you without any issue, but if you need a large number of additional files then there will be a small additional cost.
Unlike ebooks, paperbacks have a physical cover and there are lots of different choices when it comes to what size you want your paperback to be.
Most often, however, authors choose a cover that is 6″ x 9″. So that’s the size I generally start from.
As with ebook covers, if you need a different sized cover, just let me know.
What else do I need to think about when purchasing a paperback cover?
I will provide you with one file that contains the front cover, the back cover, and the spine.
The exact size of this file will depend on two things:
- Which print company you are using
- The thickness of your book
I will ask you for this information as we complete the cover creation process. Using your answers we will calculate the correct size for your finished cover file.
Bleed and trim
When your cover is printed, the print company will print it larger than needed and then trim down the edges. To make sure that you aren’t left with any white lines around the edge of your cover, I make sure that the deign bleeds right to the edge of the file. Part of the design is then trimmed away.
The important parts of the design are all enclosed within a safe area. This is to protect the design in case the print company are a little slapdash and trim away more than they intended to.
Can I choose a different cover size?
Yes. Let me know and I will create the cover at the appropriate size.
Can I use the cover for more than one print company?
However, unlike ebook covers, different print companies often require different files. I can provide up to two print files for you when you purchase a paperback cover from me. If you would like to publish with more print companies let me know. There will be a small additional cost to provide additional print files.
If you have any questions about book cover sizes, please leave a comment or get in touch via email@example.com