eBook Cover Size Specifications

Size Specifications for eBook Covers – LAST Updated JUNE 20 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.

  NOTE:  This image just illustrates HOW to find the size specifications for any picture on your computer.  It is NOT the size of an ebook cover.  For the correct size of an ebook cover please read till the end…

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?
In mid-2012, Smashwords increased the dimensional requirements of ebook covers to satisfy the recommendations of Apple and Barnes & Noble.  The new requirements, along with visual examples, can be found by clicking here to the Smashwords Blog.  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). To view the pixel dimensions, right mouse click on the image and click properties. There’s room for personal preference.  Aim to make the height approximately 30-60% greater than the width and the book should look good.  When Smashwords or our retail partners receive your cover, it will often be converted to multiple smaller sizes, so don’t make your title text or author name too small, otherwise it’ll be unreadable when it’s shrunk down to thumbnail size.

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 ratio 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 2820 pixels on the shortest side and 4500 pixels on the longest side

Color

Product images display on the Amazon website using RGB (red, green, blue) color mode. RGB is the color mode native to the web and many color screen displays, as these three colors displayed at varying levels of intensity create over 16 million colors.

Use color images whenever possible and relevant. The Kindle reading device has a black and white screen today but Kindle applications for other devices, such as iPhone or PC, take advantage of color fonts and images.

DRAFT2DIGITAL

File Size         -   Not specified
Dimensions  -   1600 x 2400
Resolution    -   Not specified

From their FAQ:   What are your cover art requirements? For best results, give us a JPEG at 1600×2400. But really, all we need is a tall rectangle. We’ll accept most standard image formats, and resize whatever you upload to meet the requirements of the sales channels you choose.

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:

https://www.nookpress.com/support/faq

Upload your cover image file for your NOOK Book from the Cover Image page. Your cover image must be a .jpg or .png file with a file size between 5 KB and 2 MB, and the height and width must be at least 750 pixels. However, for optimum quality, we recommend that both the height and width are at least 1400 pixels. If your cover image does not meet these specifications, then you must use image-editing software to stretch or shrink the image. Remember, you must have the rights to use any image that you upload.

LULU

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 an ebook cover?

I  notice on ebook sites that most top authors use the 1:1.5 or 6×9 proportions. In my searches only about 10 ebooks out of a hundred use the 1:1.6. 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.

Due to Amazon’s new large size recommendations (as of June 2014) you will have to make the cover wider than 2820 pixels. For a 6 x 9 proportion that could mean 3200 x 4800 pixels, unless you decide to go with the skinnier look and use their recommended 2820 x 4500. Do check the topselling and newly added ebooks on Amazon though – you will see most authors prefer the slightly wider 6 x 9 (1:1.5) size, and your book may look odd if you make it thinner.

From there you can downsize the cover to 1600 x 2400 pixels to be uploaded at Barnes & Noble and other platforms that still require smaller file sizes.  For B&N especially you have to make sure the file is less than 2 MB.  However they may soon follow in the footsteps of Amazon.

For resolution start off with 300 dpi or bigger to accommodate possible print versions of the book, then downsize to 72 dpi if need be.

Please note that at least once a year file sizes have been changing, so this is an ongoing process one has to keep up with…

 

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 premade cover section or read about extra design services.

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!

26 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.

    • The info is up-to-date (April 2014). Check the links in the sections – they will take you to the various websites and then you can verify. Unless you know of a very recent change happening that I am not aware of – in which case I would be grateful if you could let me know…

      • chrisalmeida

        I had heard rumors about iTunes updating their requirements. Not sure if that includes their requirement for cover sizes. Thank you for keeping such a central resource up-to-date. :) So I gather that you use the 1:1.5 for all your covers even for Amazon? Do they require a separate 1:1.6 version?

      • charles

        I wonder why Amazon requires those specs. It’s far higher than any device screen they currently offer. It even surpasses the iPad Air screen. It could be so their books could be dowloaded to and read on devices such as the iPad Air (via the Kindle App) without loss of clarity.

  3. No, the 1:1.6 size is just a recommendation, not a requirement. I have been keeping an eye on the covers on Amazon and honestly I see the top authors go for 1:1.5 – perhaps because that is the proportion used for a paperback too. Will check on iTunes but I have not heard anything…

  4. Maureen Pantoja

    Thank you very much for this information! Glad i found this, it’s just what i need to do my first e-book design project.

  5. charles

    With regard to the quote under Kobo, any designer will tell you 900dpi (especially for something that displays on a screen) is way too high. It must be a mistake. Kobo needs to update their specs correctly.

    Even for offset printing we use 300dpi (or more correctly, ppi) which is standard. Device screens these days are getting ever sharper, but there is none that sharp.

    The Samsung S5 screen resolution is 1080 x 1920 pixels at 5.1 inches (~432 ppi pixel density), while the Apple iPhone 5S Screen is 640 x 1136 pixels at 4.0 inches (~326 ppi pixel density).

    Apple’s latest iPad Air is 1536 x 2048 pixels at 9.7 inches (~264 ppi pixel density).

    For the Amazon Kindle Fire HD it is 800 x 1280 pixels at 7.0 inches (~216 ppi pixel density).

    Hope it’s not an information overload. The information on pixel density is taken from GSMarena.com.

    • Yes, I always found the Kobo one rather amusing – 900 dpi. It is still there in their writing life guide – I just checked (1/5/2014). I am sure it was meant to be 90 ppi. Thank you for all the detailed info on screens.

  6. I am working with an artist to design a wrap around cover for print and an ebook cover of the same design. She asked about format. What do I ask for? And do I need a different file for the ebook cover than the print cover?

  7. Great comprehensive article. Another one to add to this list is Bowker, the US ISBN Agency’s recommendations for a cover, which is 1600 pixels x 2400 pixels. This is what I go by for my books since it seems to be linked to what all the publishing houses use as a standard for printed books that tie into other book versions (epub, PDF, etc).

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