I make book covers on a professional basis both as an illustrator and graphic designer. Printed books the publishers later additionally release as e-books. Now what are the sizes to think about.
Kindle, Ipad & Nokia Lumia Windows Phone, the e-book readers of today
We all know by now that aspect ratio in this case is important. Because actual size of a screen can be measures in inches, millimeters, centimeters and large format signs in meters. So looking at different devices is important. A device that you would read an e-book on: your Kindle, Nook, Ipad, Surface or simply using an app on your iPhone or Nokia Lumia windows smartphone, has to be measured somehow in aspect ratio right?
Yes and no. Because every screen device manufacturer seem to make their own aspect ratio. So we have to consider making covers for e-book novels and e-comics fitting several branded devices. but it doesnt have to be so difficult.
Now were you only making covers to fit Kindle devices from Amazon, you could settle with that and be fine and use their recommendations. But if you are targeting a wider audience beyond the world of Kindle, you have to have some rule of thumbs and some hard facts to rely on, right?
And then as it happens the manufacturers in the future start making new aspect ratios and you simply have to be somewhat updated? Right!
A rule of thumb is never wrong, so I will add a few things to think about.
- All your images are for digital use, so only use sRGB
- Resolution 72 dpi. It’s only to be viewed on a digital screen.
- Kindle Amazon, size from 495 to 500 pixels x 745 to 800 high, and vice versa
- Some say a maximum of 2000 pixels on the largest part
- If you have the size mention above, need to make a thumbnail yourself, and then down sample the image to a thumbnail size, the size roughly would be 155 to 160 wide X 245 to 300 high.
- And if you need it smaller, you just look for the size asked for.
- And when down sampling dont forget using ”Unsharp Mask”
- File format either JPEG, PNG (24 bit) or GIF.
- Tiff file format is used for print on paper and with resolutions no less than 300 dpi if in a printed book And not needed for viewing on digital screens. Just get way to heavy to load on a website and digital reading device. Resolution is a topic of its own and were printed books need 300 dpi a poster in a subway/bustop/underground station might just need 150 – 200 dpi when printed on paper. But remember, Tiff is a no, no for digital screens, and 72 is the norm for web and digital screens like a Kindle, IPAD, Surface and so forth
I use Corel PHOTO-PAINT for this kind of work. Its equivalent Adobe Photoshop Elements, Corel Paint Shop PRO and Gimp is also okey. But personally I prefer and use daily Corel PHOTO-PAINT. It´s part of the software suite CorelDRAW Graphics Suite. There is a Home & Student version for approximately 80 USD/80 euros. But I use it for Professional use and buy the full version with professionally added tools and features.
But because standards may change over time, instead of me sitting and writing a bunch of measurements that might change, here are the guidelines from the very sources themselves.
Barnes & Nobles/Nook
Apple Discussion thread
Illustrator & graphic designer