Creating Kindle eBook Covers: Sample and Example

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UPDATED POST 12/2013 (originally posted Dec 2011)

We’re on Day 7 of our 25 Days to ePublishing, Marketing and Promotion. Today I will show you by example a sample ebook cover layout that you can download (JPG, PDF) to use as a guide.

Kindle Formatting Ebook Cover Sample

Sample of a Full Color E-book Cover Design

 

FireHawk

In this example I will create a book cover titled “FireHawk.” I will use a photograph I took of a red-tailed hawk, and then play with the image until I have a design I like.

The photo is included in this tutorial for you to download at a lower resolution (200 dpi) (below). The photo isn’t very sharp, so rather than use a soft image, I applied an artistic filter to add interest to an otherwise dull image. This is the beauty of computer programs, the ability to easily modify images.

In the following demonstration, I will be using Photoshop, but you can use a variety of imaging programs including:

Imaging Programs

Set the Size and Resolution

The standard screen resolution and size varies depending on the device. However, I prefer to use a standard paperback size of 6″ x 9″ (or at least 2500 pixels on the long side). Even if you do not plan to print your book, you are guaranteed the best display quality for your cover. And should you decide to print later on down the road, then you will not have to “recreate” the cover to the higher resolution.

  1. Open a new page in your design program
  2. Set the resolution to 300 dpi
  3. Set the page size to 6 x 9 ” (or at least 2500 pixels on the long side)
  4. Save the file

ADDED: 1/10/2012

Screen sizes and proportions

Device Screen height (px) Screen width (px) Height/width ratio
iPad 1 1024 768 4:3
iPad 2 1024 768 4:3
iPhone 3GS 480 320 3:2
iPhone 4 / iPod Touch 960 640 3:2
Nook Color 1024 600 5.12:3
Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 1280 800 16:10
Motorola Xoom 1280 800 16:10
Kindle 4 800 600 4:3
Nook Simple Touch 800 600 4:3
Kobo eReader Touch 800 600 4:3
iRiver Story 800 600 4:3

Import the Image into your editing program

Here I will be using one of my own photo images. Since I am working in Photoshop, I opened the photo image and then dragged it to my new document.


NOTE: the example image is 200 dpi.  If enlarged, the quality will diminish, so this image is for tutorial purposes only.


Redtail-HawkYoung Redtail Hawk
Right click this image and “Save As” to you computer.

Edit the Image

This is where you can have some fun.  Keep in mind the area for the title of the book, the subhead (if you have one) and the authors’ name. You don’t want the text the image competing for space.

Artistic Filters and Vibrance

  1. Adjust the image to fit the pixel area of the cover
  2. In my example, I flipped the image horizontally so the bird was facing to the right
  3. Apply artistic filters: I applied Filter > Brush Strokes > Accented Edges
  4. Adjust the Image: I applied Image > Adjustments > Vibrance until I liked the results

Add the Text

Your computer comes stocked with a variety of typefaces. While these may work, you can also find optional free and paid fonts online.

I chose the font “Handwriting-Dakota” for my title and “Optimum Regular” for the Author Name.

  1. Type the Title of your book only.
  2. Adjust the font, size and color. Choose 72 pt. size to start, and adjust, if necessary. Every font is different and 72 pt in another typeface may overpower the cover layout.
  3. Maintain a contrast between image and text color (white on red, for example)
  4. Test it as flush left, flush right, and centered.
  5. Move it around on the page until you like the unity between image and text.

Book titles need to be visible (about 1/4 to 1/3 of the book area) but shouldn’t obliterate the image; titles are commonly placed in the top half of the book cover but that is not a requirement. The title can be caps and case or all caps. You want the title to jump out, so test various typefaces, weights, and colors.

In my example, I chose to place the Title at the bottom. I also selected the red from the birds tail section after I applied the Vibrance filter.

Play around with your cover and see what you come up with.

Font Sources:

Book Cover Template

Save for e-publishing

Once you have the cover the way you want, save the original file. Now you want to save it to a JPG file at the highest resolution possible.


DO NOT COMPRESS your image when saving to JPG.  The Kindle publishing system automatically applies  compression to all images, so applying it yourself can make images look blurry or pixelated.


If you created your cover too small, do not stretch it to make it larger. That will result in a blurry image. It is better to recreate the image at the correct size and quality.

Read More on KDP Creating a Cover Image >>


NOTE: KDP  automatically inserts your cover INTO your ebook based on the Product image you upload.


  1. Save your original file (ai, psd, etc) – you want to keep the original file for modifications or changes.
  2. Save to JPG using “Save As” Feature. (besure it is at least 1000 pixels on the long side)
  3. Upload to KDP product image area.

RECAP

  1. Design your cover to 6 ” x 9″ or at least 2500 pixels on the long side
  2. Use 300 dpi high resolution*
  3. Do not compress your image for uploading
  4. You do not need to include the cover “inside” your ebook – Kindle will insert it for you.

*According to Amazon, you should save your file at 72 ppi (pixels per inch).  (See: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A3UPL1JFRLJ2II)

Sample Files

Free Download of Book Cover Templates (PSD and PDF formats)

Below are the working files for the FireHawk cover.


Updated 1/10/2012
Updated 12/12/2013

NEED MORE HELP?

Feel free to contact us for you design, formatting and marketing needs.

Comments

  1. Doug says

    I think you have this backwards. Kindle Publishing Guidelines calls for the internal cover image to be 300 dpi RGB Up to 127KB. The product image for the Kindle Store is displayed on the web, so you should Save to Web @ 72-dpi RGB for your cover store image.

  2. Marcus says

    I am having trouble with my internal image. (And I have noticed some other people with the same problem). I’ve tried creating it in different ratios, different sizes, but in the Kindle Preview it always comes out with the right side and the bottom cut off.
    I then got the idea of putting your Firehawk image in my ebook to see how that worked. Same result. The side and bottom are cut off.
    I’m using MobiPublisher, but I don’t think that is the problem. The internal cover looks okay in Kindle for PC, Kindle Iphone, Kindle ipad. It is only cut off in Kindle and Kindle DX. Is this maybe a problem with the previewer?

    • says

      I have a Kindle 3, and the cover appears fine. It is not required for you to place the image in your Kindle ebook. In fact, if you create a “Page” for the cover, then you will end up with a “double cover” in your Kindle book: one from the page, and one from the image.

      UPDATE: KINDLE Has changed their requirements for book covers to a minimum of 1000 pixels on the long side. Here’s more information on creating Kindle covers: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2J0TRG6OPX0VM

      NOTE: Although readers can display higher resolutions that usually increases the file size of the book, which isn’t necessary (not for a book cover). So , I prefer to create ebook covers at 96 to 72 dpi. I also do not specify the height and width on my xhtml page.

      Additionally, Amazon KDP automatically adds your product book cover to your ebook through their program.

  3. Marcia Smith says

    I’m having the same problem. It’s one of the things holding me up from publishing my first story, so I read this with great interest, however…

    Are you saying the reason it is being cut off is because we are not inserting that html into the input doc? If we do that will that manually add the image and then we shouldn’t add it while compiling the book in say, Calibre? Or do we do both and the html will take care of the size problem. I’ve tried both 600 x 800 in 72dpi and 300 dpi. I appreciate any help.

    • says

      It depends how you are uploading the file. If you are uploading the Word Document, then even tho the cover may be in the file, you need to upload the loose image as well. To do this you need to ZIP the word doc and all the images into one file (Such as MyBook .zip). If the image is cropping off, then it may be KDP causing the issue.

      I do not recommend uploading the Word doc for publication, but using an HTM or mobi file created by KindleGen — you can do this by saving the word file to HTM, and then zipping both the HTM page and the images folder created (as a ZIP) file and uploading that.


      UPDATE 12/2013: However, you do not need to include the cover in your Word file, as Amazon will insert the cover into your eobok form the Product image you upload. Just besure to meet their “new” requirements of at least 1000 pixels on the long side (and recommended up to 2500 pixels on the long side)


      I prefer to create an epub file using Sigil. Then I convert the file to mobi using KindleGen.

      If you are still having issues, feel free to email me directly at contact [at] unrulyguides .com and I will help you through the process.

      Suzanne

  4. says

    KINDLE has changed their requirements for uploading covers. They insert the cover “into” your file based on the Product cover image uploaded in KDP. While this works well for many, I still prefer to include my cover with my ebook. If you are having issues uploading your Word file with images then here are the steps:

    1. Once you have a well-formatted Word file – save the file (filtered) as an HTML. This will create an HTM page AND separate out the images into a “folder.”

    2. You need to ZIP the “folder” and the HTML page together, and upload the ZiP file to KDP.

    I create HTML ebooks directly in Sigil epub editor and then convert the epub to mobi using KindleGen. I have found Word is too unpredictable and inaccurate when creating ebooks. If you still find you are having issues please leave a comment and I will be happy to help.