eBook Cover Size Specifications

Size Specifications for eBook Covers – LAST Updated 1 June 2016

Here is an essential summary of ebook cover specifications for all major ebook publishing sites.

SO IS THERE A STANDARD SIZE THAT WORKS FOR ALL?  

Yes, please refer to my page with my cover size specifications that work – click here…

“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 an essential summary of ebook cover specifications for all major ebook publishing sites.

 

SO IS THERE A STANDARD SIZE THAT WORKS FOR ALL?  

Yes, please refer to my page with my cover size specifications that work – click here…

VISIT MY PREMADE EBOOK COVER GALLERIES HERE – ALL GENRES

31 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).

  8. Juan

    I can’t seem to find the Amazon recommendation cited by Robert Gregory Browne of cover pictures at least 2820 pixels wide. Reading similar topics in other sites, they have similar quotes to Robert’s with this link as the source: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2J0TRG6OPX0VM. Well *now* that link has a different (smaller) size recommendation for book covers, so the recommendation changed again! It currently says “For best quality, your image should be 2500 pixels on the longest side”. Thanks for this post, it’s very useful.

    • Always start with 300 or 330 dpi since you will need that for a paperback version in future. You can change it to 72 dpi for the ebook version, but I just leave mine 300 dpi as it really makes no difference on the screen.

  9. Joe C. Belland

    First, I would like to say that I found the info on this page very useful. However, that said, that info and comments can cause confusion for many and I hope it’s OK if I explain why.

    First, I would like to advise everyone that the resolution everyone is talking about should use the term PPI (pixels per inch) and not DDP (dots per inch).

    DPI is only a function of how many dots/spots/splots of ink any particular printer lays down per inch of printed paper. The printer settings (Draft, Normal/Standard, High, Photo, etc., actually tell the printer how many dots to lay down per inch, with lower settings representing lower numbers numbers (e.g., 200dpi, 300, 600, 1200, etc.) and the lower the number or setting the more grainy the printed image.

    On an image viewer, images have no physical dimension (such as inches) and are represented by pixels (short for Picture Elements), the smallest part of an image viewable on a display. You can see them if you zoom in a lot on an image – it becomes jaggy as the pixels are viewed.

    PPI is information set in your image editor telling the printer how many of those pixels of the image to print per inch of printed paper. A 600 pixel square image set to 300PPI will print a 2 inch square image (600 pixels divided by 300 printed pixels per inch). If you set PPI to 600 you will end up with a one inch square printed image. So PPI is only a way of telling the printer how large you want the image to be printed.

    But whether it looks grainy on paper when printed depends on the printer’s DPI (dots per inch) setting. Draft, for example, will print out 200-300 dots per inch, while Standard maybe 1200 dots of ink per inch, and Photo twice that. The exact dots per inch with each setting is a factor of the various printer manufacturers and the specs of the printer but a decent printer will lay down at least several more dots per inch of ink than the input pixels per inch information it receives from the input image.

    So an image input to the printer providing information that it should be printed at 300 pixels per inch will look better the higher the dots per inch setting because the printer will lay down more ink in each inch of printing the higher the setting. It’s like drawing a one inch line with a crayon with light pressure – it looks pretty light and grainy. Draw the same one inch line with more pressure and it looks better because you are laying down more wax particles in the same size of space.

    So as @ebookindiecovers said, leaving the PPI setting to 300 is a good idea because an image with that PPI setting printed on a decent printer using a high DPI print setting is about as good as the human eye can resolve. And because the PPI is only information that is important to send to a printer and for no other purpose you can leave it at that setting when it comes to exporting to view on a screen because it means nothing on the display.

    HTH.

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