e-Book Cover File Size Specifications

by Joel Friedlander on October 27, 2011 · 47 comments

Post image for e-Book Cover File Size Specifications

I’ve been getting a lot of questions recently about e-book covers and, specifically the size and proportion requirements for submitting the cover image of your e-book when you upload it to a retailer or a distributor.

Here’s a selection of requirements that should help. Keep in mind this information is accurate now but could change at any time, so check when you’re ready to upload.

Kindle Direct Publishing

From Kindle Direct Publishing help system:

Creating a Catalog/Cover Image

A book is judged by its cover! Your cover image can have a direct impact on your readers’ purchasing decisions and adding a high quality cover image is an effective way for you to inspire customer confidence and boost sales. The topics covered in this page will help you format and upload a catalog cover image.

Please note: Uploading a catalog cover image in KDP will not automatically add it to the inside of the Kindle book. To learn about adding a cover image or any image within your Kindle book, please see our Image Formatting Help page.

Requirements for the size of your cover art:

  • At least 500 pixels horizontally and 800 pixels vertically
  • Ideal height/width ratio of 1.6
  • Maximum of 2000 pixels on the longest side is preferred
  • Save at 72 dots per inch (dpi) for optimal viewing on the web

Barnes & Noble Pubit!

From Barnes & Noble Pubit! Help system:

Your cover image must be a .JPG or .JPEG file with a file size between 5KB and 2MB. The sides must be between 750 pixels and 2000 pixels in length.

Smashwords

From the Smashwords Style Guide:

“Your image must be in RGB color, not CYMK. Reminder: Don’t upload your book to Smashwords until you have a good looking cover image, otherwise you’ll make a bad first impression on readers.”

BookBaby

From BookBaby: Preparing for Conversion:

All images must be in .png, .jpg, or .tif format, 72 dpi, and in RGB color mode. Cover and full-page images: 800-1000 pixels tall by 550-700 pixels wide.

Password Incorrect

From Ebook Specific Cover Design: #3 – Proportions

“If your book is going to be sold via iBookstore or as an app via AppStore, use iPhone or iPad proportions. In an app you can have both. The 4:3 cover could load on the iPad, 3:2 on iPhone or iPod Touch.”

Also see the chart, Screen Sizes and Proportions on the same page.

MobileRead Wiki

See Ebook Covers for technical specifications for ePub files.

Apple Support Communities

From the article What Are The Book Cover Art Dimensions For iBooks?

“If referring to a “Cover” to be included on a page of the ePUB book, then Michael of ZappTek (Legend Maker) indicates the limit is 740×560 pixels. If referring to external files used as cover art, most sites providing images for use in ePUB management applications like iTunes or Calibre which are typically limited to 500 pixels in height or less. The pages routine used by Apple will accept an image up to the size of your document page but then scales the “cover-image.png” file stored in the ePUB package.”

Photo by The Creative Penn

Do you have any resources to add to this list? Let me know in the comments, thanks.

Be Sociable, Share!

    { 40 comments… read them below or add one }

    Paul Salvette October 27, 2011 at 3:22 am

    For the Barnes & Noble Pubit platform, I was always a bit confused by the language they use when they say “750 pixels and 2000 pixels in length”, because the NOOK is 600x730px. I usually just submit the 600x800px cover that goes to Amazon’s Kindle, and it seems to work okay.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 27, 2011 at 11:32 am

    I did the same with my recent book upload, and it also worked well.

    Reply

    Pamela Hegarty October 27, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Great info. How do you determine the number of pixels in a jpeg? And how do you adjust the pixels to fit the various formats? Thanks.

    Reply

    David Bergsland October 27, 2011 at 6:09 am

    I don’t know if this will help, but you really need Photoshop. I start with a PDF made in InDesign. I open that in Photoshop at whatever pixel dimension I need. You can also start a new image directly in Photoshop at a specific pixel dimension.

    Reply

    Ros October 27, 2011 at 11:05 am

    And if you’re alarmed by the price, don’t be. You really only need Photoshop Elements which is significantly cheaper. In fact it was bundled free with my recent netbook purchase.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 27, 2011 at 11:35 am

    Pamela, if you use a Mac you can find out the pixel size of your image quite easily by selecting the file in Finder and hitting Command-I (Get Info). The resulting info pane will show the pixel dimensions of the file. Of course, to re-size or otherwise edit the file, you’ll need some image editing software as David and Ros have noted.

    Reply

    David Bergsland October 27, 2011 at 11:37 am

    PS Elements will do what is necessary as long as you do not need CMYK for the print version.

    Reply

    Diane J Mills November 8, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    You can also download GIMP (free) to create, edit and size your cover page. There are also good tutorials on the web to help in the learning curve of GIMP.

    I use Photoshop Elements 2, and if I need to use any tools created since PE2, I move the graphic across to GIMP.

    Reply

    Terry King January 31, 2012 at 3:28 am

    That is a good idea, but what do you think will be a good dimension of starting a book designing sir?

    Reply

    David Bergsland January 31, 2012 at 7:09 am

    600×800 pixels @ 72 dpi is 8.333″ wide by 11.111 inches tall. I set my page size in InDesign at Web intent, 600×800 vertical, with 0-point margins, so I have a visual reminder that I’m working an ebook with its Web quality graphics. This lets me see my graphic at 100% so I can have some sort of visual guide as to how bad the Web quality is going to mess up my graphics.

    I start with finished copy so I do not have to worry too much about editing the copy. I should really check everything again using the Story Editor (the word processor built into InDesign), but that’s a “Do What I Say, Not What I do” kind of thing.

    Reply

    David Bergsland October 27, 2011 at 6:06 am

    I uploaded an ePUB at Lulu last night for the iBookstore. In the cover creator, when you click on the links that allow you to upload your own cover, they ask for a JPEG or PNG in a specific pixel dimension. Last night it was 612×792 pixels. A few days ago, for the 6×9 PDF ebook version, it was 432×648 pixels.

    For the Nook and Kindle, I find I need to use Save For Web in Photoshop to make my JPEGs. For Lulu I can use Save As PNG for the file format.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander October 27, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Thanks for the info, David. I wonder what difference the “Save for Web” option makes, I use it very rarely.

    Reply

    adan lerma October 27, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    i “believe” it’s really an automating function to create a 72 dpi (which can be done manually in photoshop)

    an advantage of the save for web, is it usually will offer several looks for each compression

    either way, you can also choose web friendly colors only(216?), or go full spectrum, and i usually go the latter route now, as color readers will be taking the color limitations away more and more (not to mention already seeing the millions of colors via reading apps on one’s computer or tablet)

    an advantage of a full photoshop, is saving in layers, then creating & saving your variously needed jpgs as needed, and thus keeping a high res digital of your original

    i’ve only recently uploaded my first ebook, and am getting my second ready, and when i needed to make a chg to my amazon kindle editon cover, it was relatively easy cause i had the layered photoshop file

    i haven’t even started uploading to anywhere else, so experience from me there folks ;-)

    really like this summary, even if subject to change, thanks so much!

    Reply

    Ros October 29, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    You can save layered psd files in PS Elements too.

    Reply

    adan lerma October 29, 2011 at 6:46 pm

    good to know, thanks!

    Melinda December 14, 2011 at 8:51 pm

    Thanks David. This is an important tip regarding saving any images for your book as ‘images for web’ to create your jpeg. It substantially reduces the size of the outputted image compared to saving as a standard jpeg.
    Very handy if you have a kb limit for your cover, or if the e-store charges a ‘delivery’ fee per download based on ebook file size, and you have lots of images.

    Reply

    David Bergsland December 14, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    The only thing you need to watch is you can make it so small that the JPEG artifacts ruin the image.

    Reply

    Melinda December 14, 2011 at 9:54 pm

    Yes! Will look nasty. :)

    Reply

    George Angus October 27, 2011 at 9:49 am

    Joel,

    Perfect timing! I’m uploading a book to KDP this weekend and this will save me a bit of refreshing my memory/research.

    Exactly why I love this site so much.

    George

    Reply

    David Bergsland October 27, 2011 at 11:40 am

    I’m not sure either, but I find that companies which have trouble with the Mac apps (like B&N), have trouble with high resolution JPEGs. I formerly did my graphics for Kindle with Save for Web (didn’t work otherwise) but now I’ve been having good luck converting my ePUBs to mobi with Calibre.

    Reply

    Karen Inglis October 27, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Thanks, Joel – this type of round-up is always useful…. When I next update my blog I will point to it… Karen

    Reply

    Beth October 29, 2011 at 8:22 am

    More data for Apple/Smashwords.

    http://www.smashwords.com/about/how_to_publish_ipad_ebooks says:

    “You will need a quality book cover image (JPEG file), and it must be a vertical rectangle shape, at least 600 pixels tall, and the cover should include both the title and the author name. The cover cannot be a greyscale image (i.e. black and white only), and it cannot contain hyperlinks or web site addresses (it’s not considerate to Apple to direct your prospective customers elsewhere). As with all Smashwords ebook covers, keep the image PG-13 (no nudity).”

    Reply

    Rachel November 24, 2011 at 9:19 am

    I went through PubIt and my book just got put up on the B&N site but for some reason my image isn’t showing:

    http://search.barnesandnoble.com/books/e/2940013525634

    I first submitted the same cover as I did for my Kindle but then wondered if it was the wrong size when it came through and was missing from the page. So, I resubmitted a larger size image. I’m guessing it’ll take a couple days to update. But from reading this it looks like I shouldn’t have had any trouble….hmmm

    I emailed PubIt but haven’t received a response. :( Any help on how to fix this (if the trouble is even on my end) would be awesome!!!

    Reply

    David Bergsland November 24, 2011 at 9:33 am

    Once you click to upload they tell you the minimum and maximum for the image size. It must be 72 dpi so I usually use Save For Web. They seem to strongly prefer JPEG.

    Reply

    Rachel November 24, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Thanks, David! Yah, it’s JPEG and the initial image was 72dpi. I checked and double checked it all. Unfortunately it didn’t work. :(

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander December 15, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    Rachel, I had an issue when I first uploaded to Pubit! and had to wait to hear back. It took them some time, but I did get help from the staff there and solved the problem. Give them a few days and then try again.

    Reply

    Bryan Natusch January 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Great recommendations here.. for those looking for a free program with the capacity to change photo sizes and use layers if you want, I have found paint.net ( http://www.getpaint.net ) to be fantastic! it’s quick and simple for someone familiar with photoshop or gimp, but also has great tutorials online for the newbies.

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander January 15, 2012 at 3:03 pm

    Thanks, Bryan. Paint.net is a great option for people with Windows-based PCs.

    Reply

    renae clare February 3, 2012 at 6:01 pm

    hi..I have written a book named Potty Mouth which is about my life with multiple sclerosis which I have had for the past 40 years. When I need is a book cover, front and back for a paperback book. The book is written and is now at an editor it should be back to me soon. I am completely flummoxed about the cover. One idea I had was a dusty road with the wheelchair going down that path and photographed from the back with just a head and right arm showing The road
    would be rust colored and the subtitle would read:A woman disabled with multiple sclerosis bravely meets life’s harsh challenges with courage, wisdom, and a profane sense of humor.
    I am of course open to any ideas. Please let me know what you can do about this and what the charges would be. My main concern is to get a very polished and professional looking cover and I appreciate your help.
    Thank you very much
    Renae Clare

    Reply

    Jack Pumphrey February 15, 2012 at 10:41 am

    I’m an old car artist who wants to publish a new e-book of my art. I have an older version of Adobe Photoshop Elements and MS Word on a PC platform. Do I need any other programs? Should I use the vertical scrolling of word? and will this automatically convert to left to right page turning?

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander February 15, 2012 at 10:45 am

    Jack,

    I think you will have problems and a lot of frustration trying to create an illustrated book in MS Word, it’s simply not meant for that. A layout program like InDesign or QuarkXPress would be the best bet, but there are other programs that are less expensive, all the way down to Apple’s Pages, a hybrid word-processing and layout program that gives you much more ability to position elements on the page.

    Reply

    John Amy April 26, 2012 at 9:01 am

    I still can’t understand why Kindle suggest file sizes so big… at least 1000 pixels high. That’s high enough resolution for quality print.
    And ideal ratio of 1:6. That would mean if it was 600 pixels wide it should be 1000 pixels high. the Kindle page is in fact 800 x 600 as most people seem to use.
    Now the way I see it is that the most important image of a Kindle book is on Amazon. The top titles work out to 600 x 900-965 when scaled up and look the best. A cover isn’t really necessary within the book so why not work at this sort of size?

    Reply

    Joyce Fler June 13, 2012 at 7:35 am

    You are amazing! I have been designing all sorts of book covers (1D, 2D, 3D), ebooks and physical books. I think this website will be a real great help for me for my future works. I’m still stuck in designing covers and would like to get in to laying out the entire book for clients.

    I feel like I’ll be spending a lot of time reading your articles. :)

    Thank you for sharing your brain. :)

    Joyce

    Reply

    Joel Friedlander June 13, 2012 at 2:59 pm

    Joyce,

    Thanks, glad to help. You’ve got some great looking covers on your site, I don’t think the interiors will be a big problem if you just follow book publishing conventions.

    Reply

    Joyce Fler May 12, 2014 at 8:50 am

    Wow, I can’t believe its been so long since i last commented here not knowing how to do full books from start to finish! I taught myself and have been making books now from beginning to end but of course, there is always room for improvement so I hang around your website to read when i have the time! So thank you so so much for all your help. I am able to do the best work i can offer with learning new things. :D

    Reply

    ELVEDA BAYRAKTAR July 12, 2012 at 1:40 am

    What should be the content of e_book technical specifications .We think to buy this work from other firms. So which the technical features do we want from firms?

    Reply

    Lee McNulty December 15, 2012 at 4:22 pm

    Question….I just want to see how big a picture that is 800px by 600 px already done. I do not know the lingo as I am new to this, and before I convert my gallery….I Just need to know what that looks like. I cannot find an answer anywhere.

    Reply

    Joyce Fler December 16, 2012 at 12:07 am

    Hi! You can do that by using photoshop. Although I believe its 600x800pixels and not 800×600. :)

    Reply

    B L Alley March 25, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    From KDP: For best quality, your image would be 1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest side

    Reply

    Ingrid Banwell May 21, 2013 at 12:40 am

    Can someone please advise me on image composing software. I’m about to update my website and need (preferably free and easy to use) software that can crop and resize images for ebook covers. I need to overlay text and have a good choice of fonts as well as create special effects for my images. Many years ago I used Microsoft image composer and paintshop pro. Microsoft image composer still kind of works but I’m finding it frustrating to use. Any suggestions?
    Many thanks,

    Ingrid

    Reply

    Leave a Comment


    eight + 2 =

    { 7 trackbacks }