When we talk about book cover design, we often talk about the color palette, typography and use of images. What we rarely mention are the dimensions of the cover. After all, it’s usually determined by the book’s trim size. That, or it’s seemingly inconsequential, as most new independent authors rely on ebook sales anyhow, where the cover only really exists on digital retailers.
In this post, we’ll look at the standard sizes of book covers in publishing and help you decide on the right dimensions when creating or commissioning your own design.
Before we jump too far into the conversation, let’s start by looking at the most popular ebook cover sizes used today.
What are the recommended book cover dimensions?
Kindle Direct Publishing recommended size — 2,560 x 1,600 (1.6:1 aspect ratio)
Novels and Non-Fiction — 2,560px x 1,600px (1.5:1 aspect ratio)
Illustrated Books — 2,800px x 3,920px (1.4:1 aspect ratio) or 3,000px x 3,600px (1.2:1 aspect ratio)
Audiobooks — 3,200px x 3,200px (1:1 aspect ratio)
These numbers might be confusing at first, especially if you’re not familiar with pixels and aspect ratios. In this next section, we’ll take a closer look at what these terms mean, and how they will affect your cover.
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The average ebook reader’s screen (Kindle, Nook Simple, and iPad) has an aspect ratio of 1.33:1 — which means that for every 100 px (pixels) of width, there will be 133 pixels of height. This is equivalent to the shape of your old, standard definition TV. However, few publishers bother creating a cover that perfectly fits the Kindle. Each device will center the cover design seamlessly and, more often than not, the reader will never actually see it on their e-reader.
So, instead of focusing on how your cover design will look on an ebook reader, consider how it will look on the retail platform. A book cover has to make an impact as a thumbnail if it has any hope of doing its job. Therefore, the aspect ratio is critical.