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ebook standard sizes for covers

What size should you make your ebook cover? There are many devices with different size screens.

One size fits all

Many people recommend a generic 600x800 size. But that’s for older e-ink screens. Three experts online each have a different recommendation for a catch-all size. Kindle Expert recommends 1876x2500 (7/12/2012). Cinda Fernando likes 1600x2400 (9/27/2012). Ebook Indie Covers can’t make up their mind recommending either 1440x1920 or 1400x2100. (9/2012)

The “experts” recommend five sizes: 600x800, 1876x2500, 1600x2400, 1440x1920, and 1400x2100. Um ok? Which size do you pick? The choice is easy. Ask yourself this question: Do you want your cover squished? No, you don’t. So you should make different sizes for each platform. A one-size-fits-all approach will not work for your ebook cover.

Vendor specs

Let’s take a look at the specs from each of the vendors. All the official specs from the Apple, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble are very confusing.

Amazon: “Minimum of 1000 pixels on the longest side; Ideal height/width ratio of 1.6; For better quality, we recommend that images be 2500 pixels on the longest side.

Barnes & Noble: “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.”

Apple: “Cover art (also known as a marketing image or jacket) should be at least 1400 pixels along the smaller axis and must be a JPEG or PNG file in RGB Color mode. For an average trade paperback, this could be 400x1400 minimum size, as the books are generally taller than they are wide. For best results, deliver the largest pixel dimensions possible. When possible, match cover art to the cover contained in the book file. The 2 million pixel maximum does not apply to the cover image. Screenshots should be a clear picture, made on an iPad, and be a 1024x768, 1024x748, 768x1024, or 768x1004 pixel JPEG or PNG file (for an iPad 1 or 2, double for the new iPad) with the appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .jpeg, and .png) in RGB Color mode. Optionally, you can remove the 20-pixel status bar.

Um. ok. Amazon dances around with different ratios and one-dimension sizes. Barnes & Noble gives you nothing. Apple gives you five different dimensions. What should you use?

Here’s the simple answer. Use these dimensions when designing your ebook covers:

Kindle iPad Nook ebook cover standard sizes

Design sizes:
2500 x 4001: Kindle
2500 x 4267: Nook
2500 x 3333: iPad
2500 x 3750: 6x9 tradeback print
2500 x 3258: 8.25x10.75 large hardcover print

Keep your width the same at 2500 pixels and vary the height according to the device. I would design with the iPad size first. Then you can build your design knowing that it needs to also be an additional 668 pixels higher.

Use the following specs when uploading/embedding your cover

Once you embed or upload your cover, make sure to shrink it down to the following dimensions:

Kindle iPad Nook ebook cover standard sizes

Upload/embed sizes:

1200 x 1920: Kindle embedded cover (jpg)
1562 x 2500: Kindle catalog cover (jpg)

600 x 1024: Nook embedded cover (under 2MB jpg)
600 x 1024: Nook catalog cover (under 2MB jpg)

1536 x 2048: iPad embedded cover (jpg or png)
1536 x 2048: iPad catalog cover (jpg or png)

1800 x 2700: standard print cover at 6 x 9 inches, 300dpi
2475 x 3225: large hardcover at 8.25 x 10.75 inches, 300dpi (via lulu)

Notice that the design sizes are bigger than the embed sizes. The beauty of this is that the embed sizes and the design sizes are the same aspect ratio. Start with the larger design size for each device, and then when you shrink the image down, it will fit the exact size for the embed size.

Research on the cover sizes of each device

How did I arrive at these dimensions? I used three pieces of criteria to decide the size.
1) The screen sizes of the devices
2) The specs from the vendors
3) What the experts online say

Let’s take a look at each device.

Amazon Kindle cover size research

1) Screen sizes of the Kindle
eink grayscale screens
824 x 1200 (1.456 aspect ratio) Kindle DX
600 x 800 (1.333 aspect ratio) Kindle, Kindle Keyboard 3G, Touch 3G, Touch
768 x 1024 (1.333 aspect ratio) Kindle Paperwhite, Paperwhite 3G

color screens
1200 x 1920 (1.600 aspect ratio) Kindle Fire HD 8.9"
800 x 1280 (1.600 aspect ratio) Kindle Fire HD 7"
600 x 1024 (1.707 aspect ratio) Kindle Fire

2) Specs from Amazon
Amazon: “Minimum of 1000 pixels on the longest side; Ideal height/width ratio of 1.6; For better quality, we recommend that images be 2500 pixels on the longest side.

Thoughts: The 1.6 ratio is spot on with the Kindle Fire HD. But the e-ink Kindles have ratios of 1.33 and 1.456. I’m guessing that the e-ink Kindles will letterbox the left and right sides of your cover.

3) What the experts say about cover dimensions for the Kindle

Kindle embedded cover:

Natasha Forndren (7/1/2012) recommends:
600 x 800 embedded cover

Unruly Guides (5/10/2012) recommends:
600 x 800 embedded cover. This blog author prefers 600×900 which is the size of print books.

Embedded cover decision:
Both of these experts recommend 600×800 for the Kindle embedded cover, but that’s a 1.333 ratio. Why would amazon want 600x800 for the embedded when they specifically say they want a 1.6 ratio? Stick to the size Amazon asks for: 2500 on the longest dimension with a 1.6 ratio, which means 1562x2500.

Kindle catalog cover:

Natasha Forndren (7/1/2012) recommends:
1562 x 2500 catalog cover

Kevin O’McLaughlin (4/17/2012) recommends:
1562 x 2500 catalog cover: “The new guidelines are a minimum of 1000 pixels on the long side – although they “recommend 2,500 pixels on the longest side to ensure better quality, and an ideal height/width ratio of 1.6.” So to break this down, if you go with the minimum, your new image size should be 625 pixels wide by 1000 pixels tall. If you jump to the recommended level, to retain a 1.6 aspect ratio, you want an image size of 1562 pixels wide by 2500 pixels tall (roughly).”

Kindle catalog cover decision:
1562 x 2500. The experts look correct here for the Nook catalog cover.

Barnes and Noble Nook cover size research

1) Screen sizes of the Nook
600 x 800 (1.333 aspect ratio) Barnes & Noble Nook
600 x 1024 (1.707 aspect ratio) Barnes & Noble Nook Color

2) Specs from Barnes & Noble
Barnes & Noble: “Cover images supplied for marketing purposes typically range between 500x600 to 600x730 pixels.” (pulled 10/12/2012)
Barnes & Noble: “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.” (pulled 10/12/2012)

3) What the experts say about cover dimensions for the Kindle

Nook embedded cover:

Natasha Fondren (7/1/2012) recommends:
600 x 730 Nook Regular Embedded Cover; JPG, PNG, or GIF; As they say, “The choice of format is optional and should be based on a compromise of image quality and file size.”; Under 300 kb.
600 x 1024 Nook Color; JPG, PNG, or GIF; Under 300 kb.

3 Degrees Agency (11/10/2011) likes:
600 x 1024 embedded cover

Absolute Write (4/4/2011) likes
600 x 1024 embedded cover

Ms. Smith on the Barnes and Noble bulletin boards (8/12/2010) recommends:
600 x 900 embedded cover

Nook embedded cover decision: Whoa. Three sizes. Ummm. Barnes and Noble has the worst specs when it comes to covers. All they give is a length range with no ratio. How are we supposed to figure out a size? People online suggest 600x730 for the regular Nook and 600x1024 for the Nook Color. Whoa! Talk about size difference! One is nearly 300 pixels longer! Since it seems there would be more Nook Colors, let’s go with that dimension. I’d go with 600x1024, because that’s the size of the Nook Color.

Nook catalog cover

Nobody talks about the catalog cover for Barnes and Noble.

Nook catalog cover decision:
Use the same dimensions from the embedded, 600 x 1024.

Apple iPad cover size research

1) Screen sizes of the iPad and iPhone
768 x 1024 (1.333 aspect ratio) iPad Original, iPad 2
1536 x 2048 (1.333 aspect ratio) iPad 3rd Gen
320 × 480 (1.500 aspect ratio) iPhone 3G, iPhone 3GS
640 × 960 (1.500 aspect ratio) iPhone 4, iPhone 4S
640 × 1136 (1.775 aspect ratio) iPhone 5

2) Specs from Apple
Apple: Cover art (also known as a marketing image or jacket) should be at least 1400 pixels along the smaller axis and must be a JPEG or PNG file in RGB Color mode. For an average trade paperback, this could be 400x1400 minimum size, as the books are generally taller than they are wide. For best results, deliver the largest pixel dimensions possible. When possible, match cover art to the cover contained in the book file. The 2 million pixel maximum does not apply to the cover image. Screenshots should be a clear picture, made on an iPad, and be a 1024x768, 1024x748, 768x1024, or 768x1004 pixel JPEG or PNG file (for an iPad 1 or 2, double for the new iPad) with the appropriate file extensions (.jpg, .jpeg, and .png) in RGB Color mode. Optionally, you can remove the 20-pixel status bar.

3) What the experts say about cover dimensions for the iPad

Natasha Fondren (7/1/2012) recommends:
600 x 860 embedded cover; JPG, PNG, GIF; Under 200kb

A Thirsty Blog (6/15/2012) recommends:
1400 pixels in width with a ratio of 1.5

Absolute Write (4/4/2011) recommends:
1024 x 768

Apple cover decision:
Even though Apple gives us four dimensions, the largest one is 1024×768. And then in parenthesis they tell us to double it for the new iPad with retina display. That gives us 2048 x 1536.

Summary

Here’s the final EXACT sizes you should use:
1562 x 2500: Kindle
600 x 1024: Nook
1536 x 2048: iPad
1800 x 2700: standard print cover at 6 x 9 inches, 300dpi
2475 x 3225: large hardcover at 8.25 x 10.75 inches, 300dpi

To accomodate all these different sizes, where do you start? Which layout should you work with first? Designers will want to keep one of the dimensions consistent. And then have the other dimension, height, change. That makes it MUCH simpler to design.

Create your document at 1562px x 2666px. That’s the size of the tallest screen, the Nook. Then keep in mind your design needs to work at 1562px x 2500px for the Kindle. And it also needs to get shorter for the iPad at 1562px x 2083px. This gives you a simple way to create your layout.

Working layout sizes:
2500 x 4001: Kindle
2500 x 4267: Nook
2500 x 3333: iPad
2500 x 3750: 6x9 tradeback print
2500 x 3258: 8.25x10.75 large hardcover print

Once you create the jpgs for each of these layouts, you will need to shrink them down to their exact size.

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13 Comments on "ebook standard sizes for covers"

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50interviews
Guest
Matt – Excellent information – more thorough that I’ve ever come across anywhere else (or probably will). Will report back if I get any other results that would impact your suggestions. One item I would add that authors should take into consideration – that if they decide to take their ebook to print (many ultimately want at least a handful of copies to send out for reviews), then they’ll need a high res (300 DPI) version of their cover (300 DPI is overkill for an eBook). The advice I give my clients is that they get the original source file… Read more »
mattmaldre
Guest

That’s a great point, 50interviews. A 6×9-inch paperback at 300 dpi would yield a file 1800×2700. Perhaps I should change my standard width to 1800 pixels wide. And then throw in the print version as 4th format in my diagrams/lists.

mattmaldre
Guest

I set the width standard to 2500 pixels. Just a tad larger than the largest hardback lulu.com offers. All the templates and sizes on this post are changed. A big thanks to 50interviews for the suggestion to integrate print sizes into the mix.

mattmaldre
Guest

One of the things I don’t like workgin at 2500x4267px is that in InDesign, you have to work with the document set to 5-10%. And the font sizes end up being about 140 pt to 400 pt. Just a bit awkward.

wilforbis
Guest

Awesome post! I had this exact question and you answered with great detail. To your knowledge, Matt, are these vender “requirements” still true a year after you’ve written this post? I’ve looked around and they seem to hold up but it’s getting harder and harder to tell what is the official documentation for these sorts of things.

P.S. Browsed through your blog a bit and it’s all very interesting. Glad I discovered it.

Matt Maldre
Guest

Wilforbis, thanks! Yeah, I believe these are still to be accurate specs. We continue to produce ebooks at work, and I haven’t heard of any issues with our covers built to these specs.

I’m glad you enjoyed my blog. I hope to see you on here again. I just skimmed through your “Hands-Free Computing” article. Wow, also very in-depth.

wilforbis
Guest

Thanks – that article probably needs an update. If I were to boil my advice down in that realm it would be: use Dragon combined with the Vocola software. That’s where you really see the efficiency gains.

Cheers!

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Zack
Guest

This was incredibly helpful. I wish I had found it earlier. Thank you!

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[…] Pat McNees : What is the difference between a preface, a foreword, and an introduction? Matt Maldre : Ebook standard sizes for covers […]

Diana
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thanks for sharing! 🙂

Katrina Haney
Guest

Wow!! This is the best information I have been able to find on this topic. You broke it all down fantastically. Thank You!!

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