Jul
01
2011

Ebook Cover Design and Optimum Size Specifications for Amazon, Kindle, B&N, Nook, iBookstore, and iPad Formats

Please note the following updates to this post on 5/19/2012:

  • Barnes & Noble Embedded Cover: 600px x 730px
  • iBooks Embedded Cover: 600px x 860px
  • Amazon Embedded Cover: 600px x 800px
  • Amazon Catalog Cover: 1562px x 2500px

 

If you self-publish, you should read this post before hiring a cover designer. I get a lot of covers from authors whose designer made a standard cover without knowing what size is best. I’m not sure how they decide on the image size, because it’s never optimized for anything. Also, I’ve seen cover designers give clients the wrong size, and then charge more when their client asks for the right one.

SPECIAL NOTE: This is a long, detailed post. If you’re not interested in all the whys and wherefores, I suggest reading this first section, then reading the last section: the Quick and Handy Guide.

Designers tend to rely on their customers to tell them what they want, so if you self-publish, you need to know what to ask for.

Let’s do simple first.

If you only get one size for ebook formatting, go with these specifications:

  1. 600px x 800px
  2. Jpeg

I think most ebook formatters and developers can and will optimize it as best as possible from that… or at least I do, by rule. I can’t change proportions, though… and each format calls for a different proportion. So if your designer can give you covers in various proportions and sizes without resizing it out-of-whack, then please send them to the handy guide at the bottom of this post.

600px x 800px is the best choice if you pick one. At the eBook Artisans, our digital cover + epub + Kindle special includes a 600px x 800px cover.

NOTE: By optimum size, I mean the size at which the cover image fills the screen perfectly without extra white space on the top, bottom, or sides.

Ebook Cover Design

I’m no graphic designer, obviously. The only important thing I can say about cover art for ebooks, is that the cover will be automatically resized to a thumbnail on the device library and, most importantly, in the retail catalog/website—which is usually the first place your customer sees your cover.

Because of this, the cover should look good when the large Catalog Cover image is automatically resized to about 150px high, give or take some, depending. Large fonts for the title generally look good, as well as not-too-busy covers.

And, of course, the cover should look good full-sized. LOL!

A Quick Glossary

Keith Snyder had a great post about the distinguishing and naming the different type of covers. It’s better, funnier, and more in-depth. :-) In a nutshell, your cover will serve the following functions:

  1. Embedded Ebook Cover: The cover embedded inside your ebook that displays as the first page. This can (and probably should) be separately sized for each different store.
  2. Catalog Cover: The cover that shows up in the ebook store on Amazon, B&N, iBooks, and other retailers. Generally uploaded separately.
  3. Print Cover: For the print edition. Unlike an ebook cover which is only a front, a print cover also needs a spine and a back cover… and higher-resolution graphics.
  4. Publicity Cover: I’m no expert on the best sizes for this, but this includes your website, blog headers, ads, postcards, business cards, etc. Your designer probably does know!

Underlying Philosophy

Choosing a size for a digital cover, when it will automatically be resized depending on what device the reader views it on, is difficult. I generally operate under the following priorities:

  1. Majority Rules, Minority Protected: I like the cover to look good on all devices, but I like the cover to look best on the most-used device. Each of the retailers allow their ebooks to be read on a wide variety of devices, and none of them publish statistics on where there books are most read. So it’s difficult to determine.
  2. Big to Small: In general, a big cover automatically resized to be smaller usually looks better than a small cover automatically resized to be bigger. Small to big usually results in ugly blurriness, while big to small generally results in not-so-great but readable font.
  3. The Retailer’s Guidelines

Color vs. Grayscale

Color. For Kindle formatting, it used to be better to sharpen and convert your cover image to grayscale. Times change quickly, though. Now that Kindle books are read on PCs, Macs, iPads, Androids, Tablets, and iPhones, color is the way to go. It’s predicted that Amazon will be coming out with a tablet in the next year, and a color e-reader will probably be coming out at some point, too.

Kindle Covers

Kindle is the largest ebook retailer. The Catalog Cover has exact specifications released in the Amazon Publishing Guide. It should be:

  1. A “minimum” of 500px wide and a “maximum” of 1280px tall.
  2. 72 dpi
  3. JPEG or TIFF

For the Embedded Cover, this is more difficult. The published guidelines are as follows:

  1. 600px x 800px
  2. JPEG
  3. 300 dpi
  4. Under 127 KB

Getting an image both at 300 dpi AND under 127 KB is very difficult. The Kindle displays are actually 167 ppi… so I’d suggest altering the resolution to 167 ppi – 300 dpi, or as high a resolution that you can get while staying under 127 KB. Many say 72 dpi is just fine.

Barnes & Noble Covers

The Nook Store is the second largest retailer of ebooks. According to the B&N Publishing Guide, the Catalog Cover can be between 500px x 600px and 600px x 730px.

Here are the exact specifications they suggest in their guidelines for the Embedded Cover:

  1. 600px x 730px
  2. JPG, PNG, or GIF. As they say, “The choice of format is optional and should be based on a compromise of image quality and file size.”
  3. Under 300 kb.

BUT.

The Nook Color.

The Nook Color has a screen resolution of 1024px x 600px, and as far as I can tell, it’s their bestselling device by far. (Please correct me if you find statistics that prove me wrong.) So going with both the Majority Rules, Minority Protected and the Big to Small priorities, I suggest the following guidelines, if you’re looking to fill the screen perfectly:

  1. 600px x 1024px
  2. JPG, PNG, or GIF
  3. Under 300 kb.
  4. 170 ppi

iPad Covers

The iPad is doing some great things for ebooks, like fixed-layouts. If you want an iPad-optimized ebook that takes advantage of the fixed-layout, it’ll cost more and probably won’t work for other retailers, but it can be well worth it, depending on your project.

For the purpose of this post, let’s stick with cover size for general iPad epub books. Liz Castro explains in detail why 600px x 860 px is the best size.

These are the optimum specifications for the Embedded Cover:

  1. 600px x 860px
  2. JPG, PNG, GIF
  3. 132 ppi
  4. Under 200kb

 

A Note About Smashwords

Smashwords randomly suggests 500px x 800px as a good cover size. I don’t know why, because that’s optimized for… nothing. At least with a 600px x 800px cover size, you’re optimized for the largest retailer: Amazon. But perhaps they have their reasons that work with their Meatgrinder Software.

 

Quick and Handy Guide

All images should be RGB and not CMYK. Lulu will reject sRGB, if you want to use them to get into the iBookstore, but other retailers accept it.

Again, always go for the correct file size first, at the cost of resolution if necessary; not the other way around.

  • EC = Embedded Cover (give to ebook formatter to embed)
  • CC = Catalog Cover (you’ll upload separate from ebook)
  • n/s = Not Specified
Format Size in px Resolution File Size
Kindle CC JPG, TIFF 1562 x 2500 72 dpi n/s
Kindle EC JPG 600 x 800 167ppi – 300dpi 127kb
B&N/Nook CC JPG, GIF, PNG 600 x 730 n/s n/s
B&N/Nook EC JPG, GIF, PNG 600 x 730 170 ppi 300kb
iPad EC JPG, GIF, PNG 600 x 860 132 ppi 200kb

Again, 600px x 800px will pretty much cover your bases, so if you choose one size, I suggest that one.

And if you ever need a cover, the eBook Artisans teams up with Ink Slinger Designs to offer ebook formatting and cover art. (I had to put in a plug!) You can view some sample covers here.

Any questions? Any new info to add? Any corrections?

81 Comments »

  • Charles Gramlich says:

    I definitely need to pay attention to this. I just slapped an image on Killing trail but I’d like to do something better when I self publish again.

  • Eric Mayer says:

    Jeebus! All those different specifications — none of which I understand — for so many different formats. I know this is a “how to” but it reads to me more like why you should pay someone who knows what they are doing to do it :)

    Seriously though. I am not convinced when it comes to self-pubbing ebooks. If I were going to ask readers to pay money for a book it would have to be professionally presented. Now supposing I could do all the formatting myself — which, from your tutorials I doubt — the small amount of sales I would expect would not justify the time it would take me. On the other hand, were I to pay someone to do it, I doubt I would recoup the cost. (And I actually don’t see how you can do all that formatting for the price you charge, it’s just that I honestly don’t think ebooks generally sell) Of course, it might well be worth investing a bit in having an attractive ebook available for those who wanted it.

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Those are only specs if you want a cover that fills the screen on each device, which looks great. Otherwise, 600×800 serves everything pretty well.

      I’m not sure you’re right about ebooks. Pretty much most of mine would recoup the formatting money within a month or two… even the horrid ones that are badly written. And mine are all priced pretty badly, considering. And that’s even with a massive slow down in sales this month. Most of my clients, from what I can tell when I check up on them, see enough sales to make it worth their while, I think.

      • Eric Mayer says:

        Well, that sounds good. I would really like to see ebooks be viable. Most of my life I have self-published for fun so I like self-publishing. There are a lot of books I would write if I thought it was worthwhile to publish them myself but won’t waste time on otherwise, knowing what the publishers want. That being said, Poisoned Pen Press has priced our mystery ebooks at $6.99 and they haven’t sold at all. Well, I know you bought one, thanks!

        • Natasha Fondren says:

          I bought more than one! They skipped a couple, and I stopped buying them, because I was waiting for the middle ones to come out so they’d be in order. I have to check again. I pressed that button for weeks: “Please make this available on Kindle.”

          Pricing is frustrating. My one pub is really open to discussion, but not my other one. I can’t wait to do a little self-publishing, at least!

    • Cindy Martin says:

      Eric (and others) the specs are specific and requires a balance of design, size etc. Paying for professional design is well worth it, as the cover is the “sales tool” for your book. Every business has marketing costs and this is just one. Find a designer you get a good feeling about and regardless if they have done ebook covers, they will have the training, skill and tools to design within the specs and that’s what counts!

      • Natasha Fondren says:

        I seem to get a lot of designers’ covers who use some unknown measurements that don’t fit anywhere, digitally. I’m not sure why that is; I think they must rely on client to provide dimensions, and unfortunately, the client generally doesn’t know either.

  • Thanks for the info, Natasha! I usually make covers based on Cobblestone Press’s format, which starts at 700×1059, 300dpi, then downsize from there. That way, I get great resolution even at the smaller sizes. So far, that’s worked for me, but I haven’t had the opportunity to test it on an ipad.

    I’ll definitely keep this information handy for the future. :)

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Working from something bigger is awesome, probably the best.

      One pub I format for sent me covers that were 1600 x 2134, which downsized perfectly to 600×800. (I was like, YAY! LOL!)

  • Joyce Wycoff says:

    Natasha … thanks for the great information which is perfectly timed! If you and your rig are in the Yosemite area, let me know … I’d love to show you around and chat about the world of writing.

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Oh thanks, Joyce! I’d love to go to to the Yosemite area! The gas prices have me grounded for awhile. My rig gets 7 miles a gallon!

  • Ellen Kleiman-Redden says:

    Thank you, Natasha! Don’t know when I’ll need this, but my gut tells me I will.

  • THANK YOU SO MUCH. This is SO helpful!

  • Hans Meier says:

    Natasha, thanks for heaps of good information!

    YOU WRITE:

    For the Embedded Cover, this is more difficult. The published guidelines are as follows:

    600px x 800px
    JPEG
    300 dpi
    Under 127 KB

    Getting an image both at 300 dpi AND under 127 KB is very difficult.

    ===

    No, it is not difficult. The only important thing is 600×800 px, which determines the file size (together with RGB color mode and JPEG compression ratio). Wether that 600x800px-image has 1 dpi, 72 dpi or 300 dpi is not important at all for file size – actually the dpi is usually not at all important for electronic publishing. Dpi is some internal math that only is important when printing (determining how many pixels of your image appear per square inch of paper or so). Depending on how you do it, the dpi value of an image can be totally changed without changing the file size or image quality or touching one real pixel.

  • CD Loken says:

    Forgive me if I sound stupid I’m still in the learning process here. My book is almost ready and I will be submitting it to smashbooks- but I was researching on formatting today and came upon this post. Sorry again- because I am now completely lost! I had a graphic artist design my book cover and she sent it to me in JPEG form- dimensions being 1500×2100 1.82 mb- does anyone know if when I go through the formatting process that can be adjusted to the recommended 600×800?

    Thanks

  • CD Loken says:

    sorry I meant smashwords, not books-:(

  • thank you for the EXTREMELY helpful information! :^)

  • Scott Hooper says:

    The cover art for my children’s book (ePub compilation in progress) has a lot of detail. The 600×800 png is 572kB, and the quality=10 jpg made from that in Photoshop is 207kB, although that has minor artifacts. If I make the jpg quality less, the artifacts become quite obvious. This is a book in which the illustrations are as important as the text. Are there any serious consequences to leaving my cover art larger? I have 24 color illustrations, all 552px wide png. Several are bigger than 200kB. How necessary is it to downsize these by converting them to jpg?

  • Scott Hooper says:

    I keep reading about whether ePub images should be 72dpi or 132dpi or 300dpi. As far as I can judge, the dpi doesn’t matter at all–only the image size. Specifically, the file size for a 600 x 800 300dpi quality=10 jpg is EXACTLY the same as for a 600 x 800 72dpi quality=10 jpg. Neither is the display different in any way when the two images are displayed in ADE or iBooks.

  • Natasha Fondren says:

    The dpi or ppi I listed are in the specifications of the device’s publishing guide. They didn’t list a reason as to why, except the one said something like: “for best future compatibility.” :-)

    If you’re doing a children’s book, it’s honestly best to design specifically for the device you’re targeting. Check the display size of a full page in the Nook and iPad. When the Kindle Fire comes out, check that, too. Each device has a specific limit in their guidelines; you can look them up. If you don’t abide by the limits, the book will probably be rejected when you upload it. Or else the book will crash.

    • Scott Hooper says:

      Thanks for the response. I’ve tested my ePub book, which is currently 5.1MB, on iBooks, ADE, Sony Reader, Aldiko, and FBReader. No crashes. That doesn’t test for rejection by virtue of illustration size, however. What’s the difference between a guideline and a hard limit?

  • Natasha Fondren says:

    Some will convert your image themselves, and some will reject your file. Just because it works on their device, doesn’t mean the retailer will accept the file. :-)

    Please check and confirm on each site with their guidelines rather than take my word. They change often. But their guidelines are their hard limits. :-)

  • Kellli says:

    Hi Natasha! Refreshing to see someone offering this information, you saved me another 4 or 5 hours of dredging the search engines in persuit of the ‘middle ground’ specs you offer! Not to mention making it really easy to go check the information for updates! Thanks SO much!

  • David says:

    Hi Natasha,

    Thanks for the really useful post!

    One question… does the DPI setting really make a difference in the digital world?

    My understanding was that DPI settings only made sense for printing images and that web/screen images were always effectively 72dpi?

    Cheers,

    David

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Thanks, David!

      I had the same thought about dpi, but since Amazon lists it as a guideline, I included it. I suspected (and they intimate) it was support for a future e-ink device, but I think e-ink is going to fall by the wayside to tablets and the Fire, although I am quite fond. :-)

  • Deanna says:

    Great post, Natasha! Thanks. You know your stuff!

  • [...] yourself you can use services like createspace, CoverFactory or BookCoverPro.  Also here is a good post about dimensions and specifications for different formats I found helpful (NatashaFonddren) No [...]

  • Hello from Montana,

    Thanks for this great information. We are in the process of posting some of my regular books to Kindle books.

    It is nice to meet others who are more experienced and willing to teach those of us on the journey.

    Have fun in your camper.

    Judy H.Wright
    author and speaker

  • Nick says:

    Hi Natasha – Many thanks for the handy post. I’m also planning to incorporate images into my Word file, which I’ll put through the KDP self-publishing software. Is there an optimum size for these? Any idea whether different readers will resize them? Hope you can help, no worries if not. Cheers. Nick

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Hi Nick! I don’t recommend using auto-conversion from Word. If coded properly, it will display well with backwards and forward compatibility on all devices. So I’ve never experimented much at all with auto-conversion–except to reject the process–and have no idea how to best do it that way. I’m sorry I couldn’t be more help!

  • Neil Chopra says:

    Thank you very much for this article, was useful in getting covers together for different platforms!

  • [...] Based on the advice of this article, Deanna wrote me this: After reading this article, I think a 600 x 800 jpg file size may be the optimum for a cover to look good across platforms. Could you adjust the file size to 600 x 800 ? (I’m not even sure what I’m talking about, but I trust this friend of mine who wrote this article. I hope this doesn’t affect the design, which I love!) [...]

  • [...] what sizes are best since there are different styles of Nooks with different viewing sizes.  See Natasha Fondren’s excellent and comprehensive post about Cover dimensions for the various plat….  It’s simpler to convert an existing 600×800 image into 600×730 (which will size [...]

  • [...] a final bit of polish to make sure the cover looked the best for each device. I found a wonderful article which explained optimum sizes for both the embedded cover image and online catalog image. My free [...]

  • Dan Sparkman says:

    I have my book ready to post on Kindle but when I review my text on the Kindle website some of the text is in bold type and others are not. I’ve tried changing it and nothing works. Any thoughts?

  • Yucel says:

    I would like to put together a photo book using my vast library of photo images…

    This seems good info for a cover..

    There is a lot of confusing info out there about using word and perhaps layout software like scribus…

    I’m confused…

    What size pages do I set up for? Margins and all that?

    Is there a guideline for how to write the layout into word? What size images to use inside the book? Etc?

    Thanks,

  • [...] Natasha Fondren » Ebook Cover Design and Optimum Size Specifications for Amazon, Kindle, B&N, N… Big to Small: In general , a big cover automatically resized to be smaller usually looks better than a small cover automatically resized to be bigger. Small to big usually results in ugly blurriness, while big to small generally results in not-so-great but readable font. The Retailer’s Guidelines [...]

  • [...] Comprehensive blog post: eBook Cover Design and Optimum Size Specs for Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc. [...]

  • Eliza Wyatt says:

    This is useful– thanks for the information.

    For those of you who don’t do much with graphics, here’s a handy rule I picked up as a digital painter. Always compose huge. These rules say 600×800 for a finished product, but I’m working with a cover at 4720×6000, at 600dpi right now. (It’s a bit wide, but the extra ‘edging’ gives a nice leniency when it comes to cropping.)

    As you pointed out, scaling down is easy.

  • Jon says:

    Hello,

    Thank you for this great post! I do have a further question however. I’m using a 600×800 image (in InDesign) for a cover. When I export to epub, the cover looks correct. But when I convert to mobi using Calibre, the cover has a large white border at the right side and the bottom. Do you have any advice about getting the output from Calibre to behave?

    Thanks for any advice,
    Jon

  • Terri Black says:

    Natasha – Thanks for sharing the info!

  • Donniel says:

    You wonderful woman. I was seaching something different and came arcross this post. I didn’t even know what I didn’t know! Thanks, D

  • Tyu says:

    Hello,
    Do you have any recommendations on the font/size to use for the cover for children’s books? Not all fonts seem to be supported by all devices.

    Thanks.
    Tyu

  • Natasa says:

    This article saved my entire life, so I love you.

  • Natasa says:

    Hi again, Natasha. I was wondering if you could also include CreateSpace in this guide since it’s fast becoming one of the go-to places for quickly publishing eBooks. I’ve tried following their online guide but being a newbie, it’s pretty much indecipherable to me.

    Thank you for this excellent article!

  • Elisabeth says:

    Thanks so much for this article! Am printing it out for reference and posting to my Facebook page:

    https://www.facebook.com/ElisabethonEarth

  • [...] Note: For guide lines to eBook cover design and specifications according to the output device, you may check this post [...]

  • [...] religiously looked at Natasha Fondren’s cheat sheet on cover sizes. The only thing I would add to her information is Smashwords founder Mark Coker’s post about [...]

  • [...] Natasha Fondren had an excellent article which I used as a guideline when I first began: Ebook Cover Design and Optimum Size Specifications for Amazon, Kindle, B&N, Nook, iBookstore, an…. [...]

  • Alain says:

    I read the post but I also read the Kindle guideline from Amazon in which they suggest a 1000 X 16000 or a 1 x 1.6 ratio.

    Now I am confused.

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      This is an old post. If you look at the top of the post, I posted the updated sizes. The ideal Amazon Catalog Cover size is 1562×2500. That’s a ratio of 1.6, and the largest side they will allow, so you get the best quality no matter what they do with it. 1000 is their minimum side, so 1000×1600 will also work.

  • [...] and Optimum Size Specifications for Amazon, Kindle, B&N, Nook, iBookstore, and iPad Formats: http://www.natashafondren.com/writing/kindle-formatting/ebook-cover-design-and-optimum-size-specific…Share this:ShareFacebookEmail This entry was posted in Tech Tips and tagged Converting to ePub, [...]

  • [...] Ebook Cover Design and Optimum Size Specifications for Amazon, Kindle, B&N, Nook, iBookstore, an… 自分で電子書籍をたくさん出している作家さんのブログ。 [...]

  • Will says:

    Just FYI, ppi is irrelevant if you know the dimensions. A 600px x 800px image is always 600px x 800px, regardless of ppi.

    This was a great article, but I want to stick up for the designers here. Regarding “I get a lot of covers from authors whose designer made a standard cover without knowing what size is best. I’m not sure how they decide on the image size…” the reason why designers often turn in covers that are larger than what is needed is because most authors fail to provide the designers with any of the critical information that is needed. Authors are aware they’ve written a book, but have no idea what dimensions their book will be. Spine width? Forget about it, authors have no idea, even when the print-on-demand company has provided the calculations (thickness of paper stock x number of pages / 2 = ___).

    When authors take an active interest in the production of their book, everything goes much smoother.

  • Greg says:

    Hi Natasha,

    This is from the B&N PubIt cover upload dialog:

    Please make sure that your cover image is a JPG file between 5KB and 2MB. The sides must be between 750 pixels and 2000 pixels in length.

    I went ahead and uploaded a 600×1024 image anyway, just to see if it would work. Since I don’t sell much of anything on B&N, I feel obliged to experiment.

    As far as the designers go…. If you tout yourself as a book cover designer, it would seem appropriate to me that you would ASK the client what dimensions they need. I know for my first cover I didn’t know better, but luckily I had a designer who did NOT charge me extra. I now do my covers myself.

    Thank you!

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Yes! That’s for the catalog cover. The embedded cover needs to be 600 x 730 or else the bottom third or so will be cut off in library view.

      It’s always oem thing, lol!

      • Greg says:

        Thanks, Natasha. I just now figured out that the catalog cover and the cover displayed in library view are two different images. Thanks for clearing this up for me. I’m now hard at work in Photoshop… again. :)

        G

  • [...] my anthology. I have some minimum requirements, such as pixel size and whatnot, which can be found here - the file must be appropriately sized- but I am allowing a fair amount of creative liberty toward [...]

  • [...] usually occurs when a small cover image is expanded to fill an eReading screen — thanks to Natasha Fondren for bringing that to my [...]

  • Melissa says:

    Thank you for such an informative article! I’ve been searching for something like this, and I appreciate your candor. I’m just about ready to publish my first book on Kindle and your tips helped a lot. I’ve come across so many different spec suggestions I can’t see straight! For the most part they are outdated, or written by people who are misinformed. You speak clearly and concisely with actual pixel numbers (hooray) to back up your examples. So glad I found your site. Thanks!

  • Scott Hooper is right. The pixel dimensions (e.g. 600 x 800) is all that is needed to specify the image file. The ppi number is not recorded in most files since it is a function of the display and, unless some scaling is done, will determine the size at which the image displays on screen.

    A 600 x 800 file on a 132ppi display will be 4.5″ x 6.5″ on the screen. This is smaller than the old iPad screen. On the current iPad, with a 264ppi screen (2048 x 1536 pixels), it would display at 2.27″ by 3″ (a little bit larger than an iPhone4 screen!).

    Clearly, if 600 x 800 is the common spec then the readers/pads with high resolution screens (130ppi and up), which is most of them these days, must be doing some up-scaling of the cover image, which may degrade the quality. If they are still specifying 600 x 800 pixels this may have more to do with keeping the file size small than anything else.

    Incidentally the 72ppi spec mentioned has been ancient history for decades (well two decades anyway). This dates back to Apple’s early ‘macs’ designed for DTP and was an attempt to match the resolution of the screen to the ‘point’ size of typefaces – there are 72 points in an inch (actually it was 72.27 but this was rationalized to 72 for convenience). I doubt that you could buy a 72ppi display today. The universal number has almost always been around 96ppi for PCs and Macs with some high-res laptops even higher.

    The Kindle Direct Publishing recommendation for the cover size is a minimum of 1000 pixels on the long side and a height:width ratio of 1.6 (800 x 600 is only 1:1.333). They actually recommend using 2500 pixels on the long side for better quality. Unfortunately Amazon only accept JPEG and TIF files. Most cover art that I have seen is ‘line-art’ and large text. JPEG is not a good format for line art because it is designed for photos and will produce serious ‘artifacts’ (mainly smudges) at high contrast edges (like a sharp font) when compressed to get a small file size. PNG and GIF are better for line-art. TIF would be good but will result in large file sizes at their recommended 2500 x 1562 pixels.

    I does seem that there is a lot of misleading information around on this subject.

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Hi Brendan!

      If you want to fit the iPad, 600×860 fills the iBooks page completely, whether horizontal spread or vertical. Note that I did not say it filled the entire iPad screen… that’s not a possibility in iBooks. And while it’d be nice to take full advantage of the higher resolution of the new iPad, iBooks has a 2M pixel limit on images.

      Keep in mind that those KDP recommendations you quoted are for the CATALOG cover, not the EMBEDDED cover, which are two different things. The EMBEDDED cover recommendation is still 600×800.

  • Greg says:

    Dear Natasha,

    After following your advice, I’ve experienced the following problem. I would appreciate any help you or your blog followers could provide.

    My book covers on the Nook Colors are having the bottom one-tenth, I would say, cut off when titles are being browsed. Meaning, if you type my author name in the search bar and the three titles appear with the book cover icons, those icons have their bottoms cut off. When you click the icons to magnify the cover art, the bottoms are still cut off. However, when you actually open the book, the covers are just fine. They also look good when displayed on BN.com. I assume those are the “catalog images.”

    Here’s the deal: My embedded covers are 600×730, my catalog covers are 1250×2000. These are within the defined parameters specified by the PubIt! format guide. But I now believe that information is outdated.

    Could someone please help me and tell me what I’m doing wrong? And by the way, this problem doesn’t occur on the Simple Touch devices or the other legacy non-color devices, just the colors.

    Thank you very much!

    Greg

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Well that’s odd. 600 x 730 should fix the problem. Are you sure you have “use catalog cover as embedded cover” unchecked? (Wording is probably much different.) If that doesn’t work, you could try making your catalog cover something at the same aspect ratio as 600×730 and see if that resolves the problem.

      The PubIt! format guide hasn’t been updated in something like three years, ROFL. It wasn’t even useful to begin with. :-)

      • Greg says:

        I don’t see an option to check off such as you describe. Perhaps they have eliminated that option since you last saw it?

        I’m really pulling my hair out over this.

        It’s interesting to note that I see that famed author John Sandford has the same problem with his electronic titles. The bottoms are cut off on his, too. So there’s at least one big publisher out there as much in the dark as I.

        Oh well….

        Thanks,

        Greg

        • Natasha Fondren says:

          I hear you! It’s frustrating! I think in the case of publishers, they tend to use one eBook cover size for all formats. What I mean is, they probably didn’t check that and probably aren’t trying to fix it like you, LOL. I mean, look at J.K. Rowling’s latest book. If they can’t “afford” to give THAT the attention it needs, I find that hard to believe. But apparently, they just don’t find us eBook readers (as in persons who read eBooks as opposed to the devices) important or profitable enough. Something else I find hard to believe, LOL.

      • Greg says:

        Oh, I should also point out that the PubIt! software won’t allow a catalog image to be uploaded with sides less than 750 pixels.

        • Natasha Fondren says:

          I meant try the same aspect ratio… I don’t have a calculator, but you could double it, like 1200 x 1460. See if that helps.

          • Natasha Fondren says:

            And let me know, please! :-)

            • Greg says:

              Well… I asked around on the PubIt! forum, and someone suggested I raise the lettering on the bottom. I did that, and the result was that all my books look fine in “browser view” on the Nook Colors. Bad part was that they now look hideous on the website and the Nook Simple Touches.

              So, back to the drawing board I went. I took a ruler and started measuring dimensions of books on the Nook Store where the lettering successfully displays on the bottom, without being cut off. The aspect ratio that appears to be the most successful is 1.75 inches in length to 1.1875 inches in width, or 1.47 to 1.

              Using that crudely derived aspect ratio, I am experimenting with one of my covers. Using the smallest side allowed of 750 pixels, I redid the cover on one book so that it now has dimensions of 750 pixels in width and 1100 pixels in length. I’ve run the text near the bottom, the way it works on Amazon and even Smashwords.

              I’ll let you know what happens once the change propagates.

              If only PubIt! gave a crap and updated their specs, you know?

              • Greg says:

                To make a long story short, I found spiritual creaminess with my Nook cover image (aka catalog image) by dimensioning it to 750 pixels by 1100 pixels. The image now looks good no matter what device it displays on, as well as on the B&N website. I’m not saying it won’t work with other dimensions, because obviously it does. I just wanted to light the path to at least ONE good solutions.

                No thanks to PubIt!, but thank you, Natasha, for using you as a sounding board. :)

  • [...] embedded cover: Natasha Forndren (7/1/2012) recommends: 600 x 800 embedded [...]

  • [...] from Natasha Fondren, and it’s worth your while to check out the article she has written on ebook covers for the big three online stores. Some basic planning here, no matter whether you are designing your own cover or commissioning the [...]

  • Wil says:

    Natasha – first let me say: EXCELLENT BLOG POST!
    One question. If someone goes with your happy medium of 600×800, what are the downsides? Sounds like some white space at the top or bottom in most mediums. But it sounds like the Nook color is even shorter (730X800)?

    This might seem obvious but I just wanted your clarification. Thanks,
    Wil

    • Natasha Fondren says:

      Hi Wil!

      The happy medium of 600×800 is outdated. I’d probably suggest 1100×1762. It’s large enough for Kindle’s minimum, and not over Apple’s maximum.

      Nook now seems to not work across all Nooks at any size without sometimes cutting bits off on certain devices in the library view, so I don’t bother making a special Nook edition anymore.

      Generally I put the cover in an SVG wrapper for the ePUBs. Resizes nicely and fills the screen as much as possible. :-)

      Thanks!
      Natasha :-)

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