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The Book Cover Design – further thoughts

Posted by in Books for Sale , Self Publishing on May 16, 2011

Following on from a previous blog ( about the need for a great book cover for your self published book, I have been attending a number of conferences and discussions on this subject.

Book covers have been a vital part of the marketing process. With a large number of books and limited shelf space in book stores it has been important to ‘stand out’. So attracting customers with the use of ‘impact graphics’ and clever titles and fonts or even ‘brand’ building using a consistent style for a series of books has become a key part of book marketing. It has all been about drawing a customer to your book. Think about it, you walk into a book store to browse for a book. You may well start at a genre you like but then you cast your eyes over the covers or spines of the books until you see an image, font or title that ‘stands out’ to you. You only have a few seconds to ‘attention grab’.

Now that high street book stores are closing and book sales are increasing over the Internet, do we still need the ‘high impact’ book cover? My initial thoughts on this have been ‘no’. The internet does not bring the same browsing experience you can get in a bookstore, all you see is a small image (thumbnail) of the cover when you perform a search and scroll through the results.

However, the fact that you still scroll through a selection of books to make a choice, makes it essential again to ‘stand out’. The difference now is the cover needs to be designed around a ‘thumbnail’ size which provides a fresh set of challenges. You also have a much shorter time to catch a customer’s eye with a computer display scroll; perhaps less than a second.

Here are a few broad guidelines to be thinking about when designing the cover to work for online bookstores: –

  • ·         Size 100W X 130H (pixels)
  • ·         File size less that 10Kbytes
  • ·         No small fonts or large amounts of text – you will not be able to read this
  • ·         Graphic  colours that work on computer monitors

And finally, if you are selling your book as a paper book, then the cover needs to be scalable to actual size with a high resolution graphic suitable for printing.

So rather than cover design becoming simpler it now looks as though the challenges are greater than ever for designers to come up with ‘high impact’ covers that are scalable, readable at thumbnail size, load quickly and look good at print quality.

It would be good to get the views and thoughts of any designers on this.

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