eBook Cover Size Requirements / Specifications

Size Specifications for eBook Covers – LAST Updated MARCH 2014

 “What size should an ebook cover be?” is a question often asked by ebook authors new to ebook publishing as well as by experienced authors – since specifications change from time to time.  As an ebook cover designer, I attempt to stay updated on this matter. Firstly, when we talk about ebook cover size, there isn’t just one attribute to consider, but three!

THREE ASPECTS TO THE SIZE SPECIFICATIONS OF AN EBOOK COVER:

There is the File size – how many megabytes big your ebook cover file is, e.g. 1.35 MB.  This can easily be seen if you hover over an image stored on your computer, or right-click and check “Properties.”  Under “General” you will see the size. Then there are the Dimensions.  That is the physical height and width of the image. Right-click on a saved ebook cover image on your computer, go down to “Properties,” then select the“Details” tab at the top, and scroll down to find the Dimensions – height and width.

Dimensions can be measured in inches or millimetres, but it is more usual to be stated in pixels, e.g. 1200 x 2500 pixels.  This will not give you the RATIO directly, but you can use your math skills to calculate that.   The 1200 x 2500 image has a ratio of 1:2.08 (just divide 25 by 12!) Thirdly, when considering the size of an ebook cover, there is the Resolution.  Once again right-click on a saved image, click on “Properties”; select the “Details” Tab and scroll down to Resolution.  This gives you the Pixels or Dots per inch.

EBOOK COVER SIZE SPECIFICATIONS/REQUIREMENTS BY eBOOK SITES:

Now this is the tricky part – different sites have different ebook cover size specifications for each of the above three aspects!  This can seem really confusing at first, especially since ebook cover requirements are sometimes not clearly stated by the sites themselves. Every so often authors only discover a cover did not work once they see it with a stretched-out or blurry  look on their Kindle! Here is a summary of ebook cover specifications from major ebook publishing sites:

SMASHWORDS

File Size          -  Not stated, though it is mentioned the entire ebook should not be more than 5 MB

Dimensions  -  Minimum width of 1400 pixels.  Recommended size APPROXIMATELY  1:1.5 ratio or 1600 pixels by 2400 pixels

Resolution   -  Not specified

From their FAQ: What are the requirements for my cover image, and how do I create one? Book covers must be uploaded as image files (files that end with .jpeg, .jpg or .png), not as PDFs for Word documents, and must include the book title and the author name. The cover should show the front of your book only, not the back cover you use for print. It must be two-dimensional, not 3D or pseudo-3D.  Cover images must not contain web addresses on the front cover (some retailers will reject them for this reason) or promises of products not included in the book (such as, “Comes with a free CD!”). They should be vertical rectangle-shaped (the height is greater than the width), not squares, and must be a minimum width of 1,400 pixels. A recommended size is approximately 1,600 pixels wide by 2,400 pixels tall (the proportions of most paperback books in the USA, which have height 1.5 times greater than their width).

KOBO

File Size         -  Should not be more than 2 MB

Dimensions  -  Not specified.  From personal experience I can say that a 1:1.33 (or 6×8) as well as a 1:1.5 (or 6×9) image displays well.

Resolution    -  Not specified

* Below is a paragraph from their Writinglife Guide. I guess these must be old specifications that they have not updated, as the 1Mb size contradicts the new 2Mb max that is clearly stated in the uploading section of their website: * “You can upload a cover image for you eBook by selecting the large “cover image” button. A pop-up window will appear, allowing you to choose your cover image file. Please ensure that the image you upload is saved as a JPG or PNG file. For best results, your image should be 900 DPI and no larger than 1 MB.”

KINDLE DIRECT PUBLISHING (Amazon)

File Size         -   Not specified

Dimensions  -   Minimum of 1000 pixels on the longest side,  Ideal height/width ratio of 1.6

Resolution    -   Not specified

From their Publishing Help section: Kindle Direct Publishing accepts two types of files for cover images: JPEG, or .jpeg TIFF, or .tif(f) KDP applies additional compression to images when displaying them on its website. For best results, images should be uploaded with minimal compression. Dimensions Requirements for the size of your cover art have an ideal height/width ration of 1.6, this means: • A minimum of 625 pixels on the shortest side and 1000 pixels on the longest side • For best quality, your image would be 1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest side

APPLE iBOOKS

File Size         -  Not Specified

Dimensions  -  At least 1400 pixels wide

Resolution    -  Not specified

BARNES AND NOBLE

File Size         –  Not more than 2MB

Dimensions  -  Ideally 1400 pixels wide

Resolution    -  Not specified

From the support pages of Nookpress.com:
Cover image specifications:
Your cover image must be a .JPG or .PNG file with a file size between 5KB and 2MB, and the height and width must be at least 750 pixels. However, for optimum quality, we recommend that both the height and width each be at least 1400 pixels.

File Size        -   Not stated

Dimensions  -   Cover image: At least 1400px wide, portrait or vertical rectangle-shaped artwork (no squares), and a recommended height/width ratio of 1.6

Resolution    -   Minimum 72 dpi

This site is an exception and has wider and smaller covers compared to others:

Here I found the exact requirements on their site: “You will need to upload a full size cover image. 612 x 792 pixels (8.5” x 11”, 72 DPI) is preferred to avoid blurriness.  Check all images, including your cover, before you upload to make sure the images are readable and don’t contain obvious pixelation. Your cover art should perfectly fit the available space/frame of the image area. Otherwise, the cover tool will add white borders around your image, making it appear small or incomplete. 3D images of a book, screenshots, or images of a printed version of the book for your cover will also be rejected.” (Point Number 7 in this article on the Lulu.com site).

SO – HOW TO SIZE YOUR EBOOK COVER…

Easy!  Make sure the image is wider than 1400 pixels.  Keep a ratio of either 6:9 (1:1.5) or 6:9.6 (1:1.6) as those are the standard ones used on ebook sites.  Make sure the file size is smaller than 2MB, or as small as possible.Amazon charges a digital delivery cost per ebook according to the size of the ebook file – which is paid by the author!  So obviously the smallest size you can get away with is the best for your ebook cover to avoid pushing up delivery charges.  Even though this may only be 15 – 30 cents per book, it can make a big difference if you sell a few thousand books.


Oh, if you don’t have the inclination to do the maths: a 1:1.5 (6:9) image could be 1600 x 2400 pixels and a 1:1.6 (6:9.6) image could be 1563 x 2500 pixels.

The latter will have a more elongated look.  However, some stock images may not fit nicely on the elongated look – you have to see what works best with the stock images you have.  Also, the paperback books are usually in 6 x 9 inches, so the former works better if you are planning to do a paperback version. I also notice on ebook sites that most top authors use the 1:1.5 or 6×9 proportions.  Both the 1:1.5 and 1:1.6 sizes are displayed at exactly the same height in the store shelves, and personally I think the 1:1.6 ratio is at a disadvantage as it looks skinnier and smaller.

Both the above sizes fulfil the requirement of being 1400 pixels minimum in width, which will work on all the above sites!  You could make them bigger, but also remember about the digital delivery fees – better to use the smallest size possible as it will keep the megabytes of the total file size down!

Use 300 dpi resolution so that you can use the cover for a paperback version too.  For an ebook 72 dpi can also be used, but for a paperback it MUST be 300 dpi, so better to start off with 300 dpi.

 

Please contact me if you have any additions or updates to the above sites and their ebook cover size specifications, or if you have recent personal experiences with regards to size problems.

I also have information on the size requirements for Facebook Banners/Covers.

On this website you will find pre-made ebook cover designs in various categories.

Please browse the fiction ebook covers section, the non-fiction ebook covers section and the ebook covers on sale section.

Custom designs are also made if book details are given. The more details provided the better for me to get an idea of what your book is about, it’s theme and mood.

Please Like or Share this page if you found the information helpful!

8 comments

  1. Good walk-through.

    The note about max 2MB file size on sites is often due to the WordPress (and other blog platform) max upload default set at 2MB. So a blog looking to add your book image will default under that. However, if putting something on a blog you want rapid image display so a file size under 500k (or smaller!) will be important.

  2. Thanks so much for posting this. I had just completed about two months work on an ebook cover with artist Mark Hardman but we had used the old 600 x 800 specs. I was in a near panic at the loss of all our hard work. Fortunately I also created a paperback version and it was nearly the size of the specs you recommended. I really appreciate this information and have shared it with over 1000 other authors on fb.

    • Thank you for the feedback! I always try to keep up to date with book size requirements and its with the help of kind authors like you that I am able to discover what works and what’s the latest happening in the e-publishing platforms.

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