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Kindle Cover Images

The Only Image Your Kindle Book Needs


No image available placeholder image on Amazon.com

No image available placeholder image on Amazon.com

Screen shot by J Kyrnin courtesy Amazon.com

One of the most rewarding things to do with a Kindle book is to add images and video to your books. In many ways it really isn’t hard. It’s as easy to add images to your Kindle book as it is to add images to an HTML document. You simply use the IMG element like you would in any other HTML document. But there are a lot of rules, suggestions, and tricks to getting images into your mobi files for Kindle devices.

Even if your book has no images, you should include at least one—the cover image.

The Cover Image

The first and most important image you should think about with your Kindle books is the cover image. This image is important not just because it’s how you market and promote your book, but also because it’s the only required image in every Kindle book if you want it to be sold on the Amazon store.

Some of the rules for the cover image include:

  • It’s mandatory
  • It should not infringe on any copyrights, either in whole or in part. In other words, don’t use an image that you don’t own, or didn’t get permission to use.
  • You can’t mention pricing or any promotion details.
  • You should not post your cover image twice in your book file.

When you create your cover there are a few details you should be sure to include:

  • The book title
  • The author(s)
  • Any edition information
  • It’s also nice (although usually left out) to include series information if the book is part of a series, but this is not required.

Don’t feel bad if the first few versions of your titles forget some of these things. I’ve created book titles without my name (as the author) on them and I’ve seen many books on the Amazon store without even the title. No text is required on the Kindle cover image, it’s just nice to have because it’s another way to market your book. Remember on some devices like the Kindle Fire, readers are given additional suggestions below the carousel, and those suggestions just have the book cover. If your cover doesn’t include the title, that might not entice people to click through.

One of the tricky parts of the cover image for most web designers is its size. It’s huge! Amazon publishing guidelines recommend that the image be 2500 pixels on the longest side (usually the vertical height) and a minimum of 1000 pixels. Note that I wrote minimum. That was my first mistake on my first Kindle book—my cover image was too small because I was used to creating images for the web which need to be small, and 1000x2500 images are generally too big for most web pages.

For best results, your cover image should have a height/width ratio of 1.6. This means for the best results your image would be 1563 pixels in width and 2500 pixels in height. Most books have a larger height than width, but you can swap those numbers around (2500 width by 1563 height) if you’d rather have the cover be short and wide. The smallest your image should be is 625x1000.

If you’ve created a cover that is too small, do not stretch it to try and make it larger. It’s better to upload the smaller image as a temporary measure while you completely re-do the cover. Then you can create a new image in the larger size. Remember that stretching the image will not improve the quality and will end up making the cover look worse than if you simply use the smaller graphic.

Don’t worry about compressing the image. Upload your cover image in the highest quality format you can. The Kindle publishing system applies additional compression to all your images automatically, so applying it yourself can make your images look blurry or pixelated when they come out on Amazon.

Be sure to upload a color copy of your image in RGB color mode. Even though many Kindle devices are black and white, there are full color Kindles as well as Kindle apps for other color devices like iPhones and Android tablets. If your cover uses white art or a white background, it’s best to add a gray (#cccccc) 3-4 pixel wide border around the edges to make the cover stand out more effectively.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to create a good looking, professional cover for your ebook. The cover is often the only thing a customer sees before they decide to buy your book, and a good cover will generate more leads, while a poor cover will make people skip your book without even looking at the details.

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