e-Book Cover File Size Specifications

by | Oct 27, 2011

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.

tbd advanced publishing starter kit

55 Comments

  1. Kate Tattersall

    I’m doing my first ebook (!) I’m using Quark 10 and exporting as a mobi file. Everything works fine, except that my cover image has a thick black bar top and bottom and a narrow white bar on the right hand side when viewed on Kindle Previewer. I have obviously got some size setting wrong. I have simply created the cover as a jpg and pasted it to fit my 480 x 640 Quark layout. Is there a way round this? This is going to be sold from a private website, not via Amazon.

    Reply
  2. Mat

    For kindle publishing, does the book cover size have to match the size of the content pages?
    Can I format the whole manuscript for example; 8.50×6.00 inches and then design the book cover at 1600×2560 and publish it like that?

    Reply
    • Tracy Atkins

      Hey Mat,

      The file size for kindle covers is independent and uniform, the same size no matter the content page size set. You can do an 8.5″x6″ interior, just fine.

      Reply
  3. Gary Townsend

    I see this is an old post, but I’m still curious about something. If — for the Kindle — we’re talking 2000 x 3200 (1:1.6 ratio) with 16-bit depth, then this gives a total file size for the cover of…

    2000 x 3200 (image dimensions) x 16 (bit depth) ÷ 8 (to calculate bytes) ÷ 1024 (to calculate kb) ÷ 1024 (to calculate mb) = 12.2MB

    My question here is: Do you know of the file size of the image is included in the total file size of the book at Amazon? I’m curious because of Amazon’s 15¢/MB delivery fee.

    Reply
    • Tracy R Atkins

      Hello Gary,

      Great question. I do not believe that the uploaded cover image counts toward the delivery charge. I usually upload the largest size possible, and when I check the royalties, it doesn’t seem to take out a large chunk of profit for a cover that size.

      Reply
      • Gary Townsend

        Thank you, Tracy. I appreciate your response. I suspected that that might be the case, but I wanted to know for sure.

        Reply
  4. Anne Thompson

    Recommended 2015 Book Cover Specs (to date)
    https://www.ebookcoversize.com
    https://blog.smashwords.com/2012/06/new-ebook-cover-image-requirements.html

    General: 1563X2500
    Amazon: 2820 x 4500 pixels
    Barnes & Noble: 1333 x 2000 pixels
    Smashwords: 1600 x 2400 pixels
    Google Books: 1618 x 2500 pixels
    Kobo: 1600X2400 pixels

    High quality images are recommended. Formatting RGB color children’s books. Should I increase the dpi? What dpi do you recommend when resizing covers, interior images in Photoshop. Another tool designers are using is https://webresizer.com. Check it out.

    Thanks for your help,
    Anne Thompson

    Reply
    • Joel Friedlander

      Hi Anne,

      Interestingly, ebookcoversize.com links to this very post. If you’re formatting for ebooks, you only need 72 dpi (screen resolution). If the same book may be also going to print, you’ll need 300 dpi (at the reproduction size). I would only use webresizer.com for images intended for screen viewing, I generally use Photoshop for everything else. Not sure if that’s what you were looking for, but hope it helps.

      Reply
      • Anne Thompson

        Thank you. For interior images, specs vary depending on e-reader sizes, so adjust to each e-reader? Or is there “general” spec guideline for formatting in all e-readers? Photoshop is my exclusive software for image resizing. Thanks for webresizer comment.

        Some publishers require 350+ dpi for printed publications. For ebooks, is anything “standardized?” ALL images at 72 dpi, right?

        You’re the best,
        Anne

        Reply
        • Tracy Atkins

          Hey Anne!

          In my experience, the DPI for eBook is highly variable. If you use a 72dpi image, it tends to be more “WYSIWYG” between the program you create the eBook in, like Word or InDesign, and the actual eReader device. You also get the added benefit of having a small file size, which is important for eReaders.

          However, if you are doing full-screen images, or images that will be zoomed in, have lots of text, etc, going up to 300dpi is acceptable for the eReader.

          If anything eReaders do require a little bit of experimentation, and there is no “one size fits all” design for it, which is unfortunate.

          Reply
  5. Darwin Airola

    Joel,

    Which color settings should I use in Photoshop for KDP? (Right now, I have embedded an Adobe 1998 RGB color profile into my JPEG cover image. Is that the correct thing to do?)

    Have a great day.

    Take care,
    Darwin

    Reply
    • Ingrid Banwell

      As I understand things, RGB is correct for the web. If you were physically printing the cover, you would select CMYK.
      Best of luck,

      Ingrid

      Reply
      • Darwin Airola

        Ingrid,

        Yes, that much I understood from the various Amazon KDP related pages. However, my question was more specific.

        In particular, I have embedded an Adobe 1998 RGB color profile into my JPEG cover image. Is that correct? (From the Amazon KDP related pages, it is clear that sRGB is not to be used, but is Adobe 1998 RGB or something else to be used? Is embedding it in the JPEG file’s metadata the correct thing to do?)

        Have a great day.

        Take care,
        Darwin

        Reply
        • Joel Friedlander

          Hi Darwin,

          I asked the person who preps our ebooks what they do, and here’s the response:

          “I don’t think there is a wrong color pallet for KDP, just as long as it is large enough for their pixel count. Most of the time we use 16 bit color, RGB.”

          We do many ebook conversions of all types, and our customers are happy with their books, so I hope that helps.

          The best extended discussion of this topic that I know of is Aaron Shepard’s book Pictures on Kindle so you might want to check that out as well.

          Reply
          • Darwin

            Okay; thanks, Joel!

            Have a great weekend.

  6. Ingrid Banwell

    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
  7. B L Alley

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

    Reply
  8. Lee McNulty

    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

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

      Reply
  9. ELVEDA BAYRAKTAR

    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
  10. Joyce Fler

    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

      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

        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
  11. John Amy

    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
  12. Jack Pumphrey

    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

      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
  13. renae clare

    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
  14. Bryan Natusch

    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

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

      Reply
  15. Rachel

    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:

    https://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

      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

        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

      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
  16. Beth

    More data for Apple/Smashwords.

    https://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
  17. Karen Inglis

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

    Reply
  18. David Bergsland

    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
  19. George Angus

    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
  20. David Bergsland

    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

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

      Reply
      • adan lerma

        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

          You can save layered psd files in PS Elements too.

          Reply
          • adan lerma

            good to know, thanks!

    • Melinda

      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

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

        Reply
        • Melinda

          Yes! Will look nasty. :)

          Reply
  21. Pamela Hegarty

    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

      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

        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

          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

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

          Reply
        • Diane J Mills

          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

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

        Reply
        • David Bergsland

          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
  22. Paul Salvette

    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

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

      Reply

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