Jake recently designed a series of academic textbooks for Westview Press and it got us thinking… what would it take to convert the printed books into an eBook format? This post touches on the basics of creating eBooks, specifically modifying cover designs to the required specifications.
Electronic books were originally designed to display text with minimal images. For that reason, children’s books, cookbooks, comics, etc. do not translate well and often have trouble displaying correctly across platforms. A good rule of thumb is that eBooks work best for text-heavy novels and long, narrative articles (think best seller lists and The New Yorker). That being said, readers are constantly evolving and expected to soon support graphic-heavy books. In fact, Apple’s iOS devices already support fixed-layouts, so it is safe to assume other readers will soon do the same. Either way, eBooks still require a strong cover design to attract interest in the book.
Any electronic book is considered an eBook, but over 90% of all eBooks are read on Amazon’s Kindle, Apple’s iOS devices (iPad, iPhone and iPod) and the Barnes & Noble Nook using these formats:
There are multiple ways to create your eBook. Some of the most popular methods are:
Since eBooks are used on various platforms and purchased online, they require a few different cover formats:
In addition to the various cover formats outlined above, each reader has slightly different size requirements. You can reference the chart below when creating your covers:
|Format||Size in px||Resolution||File Size|
|Kindle CC||JPG, TIFF||min 500px max 1280px||72 dpi||n/s|
|Kindle EC||JPG||600 x 800||167ppi – 300dpi||127kb|
|B&N/Nook CC||JPG, GIF, PNG||600 x 730||n/s||n/s|
|B&N/Nook EC||JPG, GIF, PNG||600 x 1024||170 ppi||300kb|
|iPad EC||JPG, GIF, PNG||600 x 860||132 ppi||200kb|
If you are unable to produce multiple covers, your best bet is to create a 600×800 JPG. This isn’t the optimal cover size for each reader, but it should cover all your bases. In addition to the sizes noted above, remember to convert all graphics to RGB. Any files submitted as CMYK will be rejected.
In most cases you can simply resize your printed cover to fit the required specs, but occasionally a redesign is needed since not all covers translate well on screen or at smaller sizes. For example, a cover that uses gold leaf or embossing will not display well on screen. When redesigning your cover, it is best to stick with simple, but bold graphics and strong type treatments. Jake’s design for Supreme Decisions: Great Constitutional Cases and Their Impact is a perfect example of strong graphics and type that convert well to the Amazon Kindle and other e-reading devices: