Kindle book cover size

A Kindle book has two cover images that serve different purposes and cause a lot of confusion:

  • The cover image that displays on your Kindle or Kindle reading app
  • The cover image in the amazon.com product catalog

Numerous questions posted on the Amazon Digital Text Platform (DTP) Support Forums are about the dimensions and file size of cover images, things you need to know before you can even begin to create a cover image. Most authors have some idea of what they want on the cover, but get stuck in the fog of conflicting information about specifications. My goal for this post is to sort out the specs so you can focus on creating a cover that looks professional and attractive.

The Kindle inside cover image

Some experience with using image editing software, such as Photoshop, Paint Shop Pro, SnagIt, or The Gimp, is assumed. This post focuses on image specs, not the whole process of designing a book cover.

The inside cover image looks best when it covers the entire Kindle screen. Color images are just fine. In fact, Amazon encourages the use of color because future Kindle devices will support it. Kindle reading apps for the PC, MAC, iPad, and smart phones display color now.

To achieve the best result and prevent "crunching" of your image file by DTP software, make the inside cover image a JPEG that is 600 pixels wide by 800 pixels high. While you may use a GIF or PNG image for the cover, it will be converted to a JPEG, so why not submit a JPEG, over which you have complete control?

Create and edit images in a non-lossy format! Even if the final image product will be a JPEG, create and edit images in the native format of your graphics editor until you save a copy for production. Never edit and repeatedly save a JPEG as a JPEG because the quality degrades a little with each save. In Photoshop, the procedure for saving a PSD or TIFF file as a JPEG becomes second nature with practice: Select File/Save for Web & Devices; specify Quality by using the slider or typing a number; select Optimized (NOT Progressive); select Convert to sRGB.

Experiment with the quality setting in your graphics program until you get the file size under 127KB, the upper limit allowed by Amazon’s latest Kindle Publishing Guidelines. The quality may vary from 40 to 80, depending on the amount of detail in the image. A setting between 60 and 70 works for all but the busiest images and will look crisp on the Kindle.

The canard to make your Kindle images 300ppi (or 300dpi) is repeated in the Amazon formatting guidelines and regurgitated on the DTP Forum quite frequently. (I’m going to use “ppi” because I think in pixels per inch instead of dots per inch, which are more relevant for print media). The cover image needs to be 600×800 pixels, period. The dimensions and file-size are important. Resolution is not. Other images that you create for inside the book need to fit within the viewing area and be under the file-size limits. If you submit 300dpi images with your Kindle book files, they are likely to be big files with big dimensions, and they will definitely be resized and compressed to fit the Kindle or app viewing area. As compression increases, quality decreases and images become pixelated; it’s better to use illustrations that won’t require serious compression or resizing.

Why is it important to comply with file size guidelines?

If you use Kindlegen to build your final eBook as a .mobi package, an image at or over 127KB will be compressed further by Kindlegen or Amazon’s DTP. Compression lowers quality.

If you use MobiPocketCreator to build your final eBook as a .prc package, images over 63KB will be smushed. MPC has not yet caught up with the new guidelines. Nevertheless, many simple book covers will look great at 63KB or less. An elegant cover can be achieved with a solid color background, nice typography, and a central design element. Fewer colors and line drawings keep file size down.

Example of a cover image under 60KB

This cover, at 59.7KB, for Huckleberry Finn from Allan Classics, uses only a few colors, simple design elements, and a line drawing.

If you publish a series or want a similar look for all your books, create an image in a graphics program that supports layers. That way, you can reuse the basic image and easily change the title and author, add an optional illustration, your logo, and some standard text.

Click thumbnail to view the full-sized image.

HOT TIP! Let MobiPocketCreator do the heavy lifting and use Kindlegen for your final “build.” If your book has many large illustrations, save time and effort by creating your project in MPC. Add your files, metadata, and guide, and save the project. When you do this, MPC creates a valid OPF file for you. Then run Kindlegen against the MPC-generated OPF file for the final build. KG usually accepts the MPC-generated OPF file without whining. If the file name contains spaces, enclose it in quotation marks (example: "my great novel.opf"). Alternatively, copy the OPF to a new file without spaces in the filename.

If you simply zip your HTML files and images for uploading to Amazon DTP, do keep the inside cover under 127K. There have been rumors that DTP does not yet honor the larger image size, but it’s reasonable to expect compliance by Amazon for it’s own software, sooner rather than later. Doing so is in their best interests.

The Amazon catalog product cover

The cover that appears on amazon.com can be uploaded as a JPEG or TIFF file, up to 1280 pixels high. It must be at least 500 pixels wide.

Why create such a huge image when the catalog thumbnail is teeny?

Zoom and pan!

You have, no doubt, seen fancy covers in the Kindle store that you can click to zoom and pan. If you submit your 600×800 pixel inside cover image as the product cover, you lose zoom and pan and deprive potential readers of the heady experience of viewing your cover image in all its glory. If the cover has great detail, the product image may be the best way to see it.

There is some wiggle-room in the ratio of width to height. However, it’s convenient and eye-pleasing to create a cover image of 900 by 1200 pixels for use in the Amazon catalog. This size is easily set to 600×800 pixels at 72ppi or 96ppi for the inside cover. There is also another simple, bulletproof way to use one image for both the Kindle and product cover without scaling, cropping, or selecting a rectangle with a set ratio.

Bulletproof cover size

If you want to keep the same width to height ratio for the product image and the Kindle cover, make the original image 938px wide by 1250px high, at 150ppi, a good size for the product image. When you change the resolution to a web-friendly 96ppi, it will resize automagically to 600px by 800px, which is perfect for the inside Kindle cover.

If you’re thinking, “Whoa, what a big image!” hang on a second. Understand that the product cover will always be processed by DTP after uploading. It will become the source for a JPEG thumbnail and a larger image, with even more detailed zoom and pan effects. For this reason, I prefer to upload a 150ppi TIFF image instead of a JPEG, which, as we have noted, degrades a bit every time it is manipulated and saved.

If you prefer, you can upload your product image as a JPEG, at 72ppi or 96ppi. While 72ppi is still often recommended for web work, standard monitors have displayed content at 96ppi for many years. If I went with JPEG, I would use 96ppi.

Example of a detailed cover image

I’m using the cover of my “learning lab” Kindle publication, Irish Fairy Tales, since it has several common features: a detailed color image, a display font, and a solid background. Both images below are JPEGS, 600 pixels wide by 800 pixels high. The first one has a file size of 126.1KB and a quality level of 68. The second, 63.13KB and a quality level of 33. If you click the thumbnails to view the full images, the quality difference should be apparent, especially in the details. Artifacts will be noticeable around the text in the 63KB image.


The product cover image was submitted as a 900×1200 .tif file at 150ppi and a file size of 1.12MB. When saving a TIFF format copy for uploading, save as a flattened image, without preserving multiple layers. They are not necessary and a flattened image will be a smaller file. LZW compression is standard.

Why is the "zoom and pan" feature important?

Cover image zoom and pan in the Amazon catalog lets potential readers see minute details of the cover image. It’s more interesting and fun than looking at a smaller, mushier image. It shows that you care about the quality of their experience. If illustrations are an important feature of your book, a high-quality cover hints at the professionalism of the images they will find inside.

Examples of covers with zoom and pan

Irish Fairy Tales, by James Stephens, illustrated by Arthur Rackham. This is a favorite book I formatted and optimized for the Kindle as a learning experience. The cover and other illustrations are enhanced scans from my personal copy of the London, 1920 edition. An illustrated book is very challenging and I chose the Frontispiece for the cover because I wanted it to be a good representative of the care that went into optimizing its gorgeous Arthur Rackham illustrations for the Kindle.

Huckleberry Finn, from Allan Classics, displays a much larger version of the original Photoshop file in the Kindle catalog than for the inside book cover. Even if you create your book files with MobiPocketCreator or have a Kindle cover image under 63KB, it’s a good idea to make the original image 900 by 1200 pixels (or 938 by 1250 pixels) to take advantage of zoom and pan. The line drawing is on a layer tucked between the logo and the background. Text, as always, is on separate layers that can easily be changed. Photoshop’s vector text layers scale perfectly and stay sharp.

Surviving Xcarion, by R. G. Chandler has a cover derived from an extremely detailed pencil drawing. The author provided a TIFF file of the drawing and requested a specific font for the text. The drawing itself has a beautiful soft look that is low contrast and literally disappeared when viewed at the size and resolution required by the Kindle. The final Kindle cover has an increased dynamic range and higher contrast. The best view is with zoom and pan. Add a background under text instead of overlaying it directly on a busy drawing if you have a choice.

Turning This Thing Around, by Keith Maginn. This cover is much less detailed, with a smaller file size, and a solid black background for drama. It looks very sharp on the Kindle device and when zoomed. The cover was based on the author’s request for the drama symbols to echo title meaning. Typography and simple shapes can make a strong statement, and should be considered, along with other options, particularly when photos of the book’s subject or author are not available. I would not use an outline font again, though, because it breaks down in thumbnails.


Kindle display specifications

Kindle New Generation display

6″ diagonal paper display, with latest generation E Ink Pearl technology, 600 x 800 pixel resolution at 167 ppi, 16-level gray scale. 50% better contrast than previous models. Optimized with Amazon’s proprietary waveform and font technology to make pages turn faster and fonts sharper.

Kindle DX display

9.7″ diagonal paper display with latest generation E Ink Pearl technology, 1200 x 824 pixel resolution at 150 ppi, 16-level gray scale, new 10:1 contrast ratio.

Comments

  1. B. Bigler says

    I have read some of your Kindle articles. The best I’ve come across yet. Do you have a ‘How-To’ book on creating Kindle books? I’d probably buy it.

    I am a long-time graphic designer new to ebooks. I have a client with a 1200-page hardbound book that I produced. We want to make the book into an ebook. The book is art heavy— about 2000 black & white images! I can get them under the 167kb file size, but I’m wondering if an ebook will handle that many images.

    Also, I’m a Mac user. The Mobi is only PC-based. Are there any Mac programs I could use to produce this ebook?

    thanks,
    B. Bigler

  2. says

    Thanks for the kind words! I haven’t written my own book on creating Kindle books. I can recommend Joshua Tallent’s book, Kindle Formatting: The Complete Guide. Although it was published prior to the release of Kindle New Generation, nearly all of the information remains useful. Michael R. Hicks’ guide, Publish your Book on the Amazon Kindle, is also good, especially for end users converting from Word and/or using MPC.

    Mac users can’t take advantage of MobiPocketCreator, but there are some alternatives, such as Stanza. See wiki.mobileread.com/wiki/E-book_conversion for a list.

    The more up-to-date command-line version of MobiPocketCreator is Kindlegen, and there are versions for the Mac and Linux, as well as Windows at Amazon’s Kindle Publishing page. If you use Adobe InDesign, there is a Kindle conversion plugin for it available from the same page.

    There is a maximum file size of 70MB for Kindle books that I’ve seen mentioned on the DTP/KDP forum, but I don’t know if it’s correct. Once you get above 30MB, the publishing step is going to be like slogging through molasses. I don’t think there’s a limit to the number of images, per se. You might ask the KDP support folks about it. There’s a contact form link at the bottom of the KDP signin page.

    Black and white line drawings and greyscale images tend to be smaller than color, but that’s a whole lot of images to process. The book will probably look better on Kindle for PC than on a Kindle device, which is a light grey itself. You are a brave soul.

  3. JD Pasco says

    Thanks for this. I have no problem with my cover inside the Kindle since Scrivener handles the formatting quite well, and so, I can trial and error and view it on my computer.

    The problems lies with Amazon’s cataloguing, it really degrades the image. I’ll re-submit my cover to 900×1200 150 ppi as you mentioned.

    The cover becomes more degraded especially on a very small thumbnail, like the results of Amazon search.

    One question though, I notice that texts (typography) are the worst ones that are badly compressed and degraded–is there any technique to remedy that?

  4. says

    The cover will end up as a compressed JPEG, no matter what, so starting with an uncompressed image will help. Grunge fonts may not look as clear as geometric fonts. Amazon allows TIFF or JPEG uploads, so create a .tif image if possible.

    To keep file size down to reasonable levels, save as a copy in TIFF format, without layers and use LZW compression. If you are starting with an image of smaller dimensions (approx 600×800), at 72 or 96 dpi/ppi, use Photoshop’s Image Size option to increase dpi/ppi to 150 instead of scaling up. It will automatically increase in width and height.

    If you’re making a cover from scratch, start with a new file at 900×1200, 150ppi. To save a 600×800 inside cover image, just use Image Size to set ppi to 96 and it will automagically resize. Undo after saving for Web.

    Amazon doesn’t require the catalog/product cover to be any specific size or ratio, but the height cannot exceed 1280px and the width must be at least 500px.

    I looked at your cover on amazon.com, and I think it looks pretty good already, although it could be a teensy bit sharper.

  5. Michael says

    Hello,

    CJ sent me to you. For the last 2 weeks, I’ve been struggling to get a clear image of my book covers up on the Amazon web site. I’m a former graphic designer myself, so I know a little bit about this, and I suspect it’s a compression issue.

    Now, I read your article above and the comments below it, and using those I tried to upload two different formats of the cover image and it still comes out looking blurry and bad. To get an idea what the difference between the two looks like, you can see my book on Amazon with the title “String of Pearls Vol. 1″ — it’ll show the Kindle edition image, which is of course blurry, and then underneath the Zoom text on the right, I’ve done a customer upload of the image, so if you click the right-most image, a new page and image appears in which the cover *does* come out sharp and clear on the site. I’ve gone back and forth with Amazon tech about this and they seem to know very little about it, so it’s become beyond frustrating.

    The last two formats I uploaded were the following, which I created using Photoshop:

    A TIFF file saved using LZW compression, @ 150ppi, 1280 px on the long side; Pixel Order: Interleaved; Byte Order: IBM PC

    A JPG file saved using the “Save for Web & Devices” option, set at High / Optimized / Quality 60 / 1250 px along the longest side.

    Again, both turned out bad & blurry. I plan to upload another 20 to 30 books, but I can’t do that until I get this issue resolved. If you’d like me to send you the actual file to take a look at it, let me know.

    I thank you in advance for any advice you can offer, because right now this has me absolutely stumped, and it’s driving me crazy.

    Michael

  6. says

    Your image has a lot of detail, plus outlined text and text with a textured background. It looks great compared to many others. The Amazon catalog image will always suffer from the processing it goes through to become so tiny.

    Honestly, I don’t know if there’s anything you can do to make the catalog image sharp. It has ended up at 177x266px, 72dpi. What you could try is an image 708×1064, which is 400% the size of the cover part of the image shown in the catalog, so that the reduction ends up at 25% of the original. As you know, when scaling down, increments of 25% give the best results.

    It’s frustrating when you know you could do better, but if you look critically at other covers in the catalog, only the simplest ones look reasonably sharp.

  7. Michael says

    Thanks for the advice. Yeah, I guess I don’t mind the small image on the web page looking so blurry, but when I click on the Zoom button to enlarge it, it just looks awful (yours, on the other hand, look wonderful and clear and sharp, so I don’t understand what could be causing this). And after spending so much time on these book covers, it’s just a terrible shame to see them come out this way. Especially when for readers it’s their first impression of the books… I’ll try your suggestion of the 708 x 1064 (I’m assuming that should still be at 72 dpi and saved as a TIFF with LZW compression, yes?).

    I’ll let you know if it works.

    Thanks again,
    Michael

  8. says

    Yeah, there’s some pain involved. The “larger product image” is blurry, and so is mine. When you zoom, the image is initially blurry and then it sharpens up. Takes a second or two. When I zoom your cover, it’s quite clear, and really gorgeous at a full zoom-in.

    It’s okay to send them a flattened 150ppi or 96ppi TIFF with LZW compression. I think the complexity of the image has a big effect on the outcome, particularly with text effects. They’re going to compress the thumbnail and larger product images quite a bit, as well as downscale. Mushiness is inevitable.

  9. Michael says

    Hi Araby,

    Thanks for all your advice regarding the covers. I’ve tried everything we’ve discussed, but it’s still rather blurry on the site, and definitely blurry in the zoom (before you zoom in further and wait for it to refocus – but that way you can never see the full cover, only sections). I’ll keep experimenting and let you know if anything does happen to work. Next, I’ll probably try it without the LZW compression and see if that has any effect. It’s a pity the uploaded “author” images can’t be seen and adjusted in real time (without the 2-day approval) like the “customer” uploaded images for the same books. Very strange that Amazon has this policy. Seems rather backward.

    But I truly appreciate your help.

    Take care,
    Michael

  10. Kim says

    Hi

    I found your article very helpful. However I seem to have missed the one thing: the name of the progam I need to use to create a cover with one to two photographs and text.
    I would like to create a cover like the one you created for Huckleberry Finn. I want to publish a series and have a similar look for all of the books, with a change of one photograph and the title.

    Apologies in advance if I missed this information.

    Kind regards
    Kim

    • says

      Hi, Kim,
      You need a graphics editing program that supports layers, such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, or Paint Shop Pro. There’s a free online program called Sumo Paint, which is fun to try, but not so great for working with text, although it may have changed since I last used it.

      With layers, your background color, photos, graphic elements, and text can be kept separate. It’s easy to position items above or under one another by dragging layers up or down in the stack. Different effects, such as shadows or gradients can be applied to one layer without affecting another. A new cover in your series is easy to create with new layers for title, author, and image, and simply hiding unused layers. If you are a student or educator, you can buy Photoshop at a deep discount. Have to prove you qualify, but it’s worth it. There is a fairly steep learning curve with Photoshop or Elements, but once you learn the basics, it’s easy to appreciate how liberating and powerful they are.

  11. Kim says

    Hi

    I was wondering if you design covers for other people and if so, how much it would cost?
    I would like one that would appeal to children and have one image of the main character (I don’t have one but know how I want her to look) and one photgraph (which I do have).

    Thanks

    Kim

  12. Marcia says

    I have used your guides to make my first ebook cover. I haven’t uploaded them to kindle yet.
    Your article is was a big help, very insightful but confusing, too.
    At the beginning you said to work with the image until it was 147kb the highest allowed to Kindle. But near the end you said you submitted a 900×1200 .tif file at 150ppi and a file size of 1.12MB. ? I can submit that size? Will kindle compress it? Do I want kindle to compress it.

    Also, tho I specified my rectangle as 938 x 1250, my finished image, no matter how I scale it, linked or unlinked keeps changing to 930 x 1246. Not sure such a small difference matters but it is vexing. Or at least this is what it says on the image properties info tab.

    And last when I changed the resolution from 150 x 150 to 96 it didn’t magically resize the image. The physical size stayed the same, so I changed it to 96 and then scaled it to that size. It looks proportionally wider than my original image, so I hope this is okay. I appreciate any comments.

    I am also a little lost on mobi versus kindlegren and how that all works. Thank you so much for your helpful article!

    • says

      Sorry about the problems you are having! I’ll try to summarize in a way that will be clearer. Covers are confusing because you can use two different image files for a Kindle book: one image for the inside the book cover, and one for Amazon.com’s Kindle catalog. Also, I use Photoshop, so another image editor might work differently.

      For best results with the book’s inside cover image:

      • When saved for web and devices, image file size should be under 127KB, as stated, to avoid reprocessing and further compression by Amazon’s KDP or Kindlegen.
      • The saved image should be 600px wide by 800px in height. To make it easier on yourself, you can certainly create and work with an image that’s 600×800 pixels and use it for both the inside cover and the product cover image.
        A cover that includes photos or gradients should be saved in JPEG format; a cover that’s mostly text, in PNG or GIF format.
      • Amazon does not require that you use Kindlegen (or another program such as Calibre) to build a .mobi file to upload. Amazon’s KDP accepts Word (.doc not .docx), HTML, or text as well as .mobi or .prc files. See https://kdp.amazon.com/self-publishing/help?topicId=A2V645S25NG1WN for accepted formats. Some authors like to upload a Word file (with clean default formatting) that includes the cover image, or a zipped folder with an HTML file (exported from Word as “Filtered HTML”) plus the cover image (named cover.jpg or cover.gif to avoid confusion)

      When I make a cover from scratch, I like to start with a Photoshop image at 150ppi, 938px by 1250px. Sometimes, I use 900px by 1200px or 600px by 800px, depending on what images I’m using. No matter what I start with, I save a 600 x 800px image for the inside cover.

      For the smallest file size, I use Photoshop’s “Save for web and devices” option, which strips image metadata, including resolution data. No matter what image resolution you start with, “Save for Web and devices” will preserve the dimensions you specify and discard the resolution information (unless you check the box to save metadata). On any device with a monitor/screen, a 600px by 800px image will always be 600px by 800px.

      The easiest method for smallest file size is to Save for web and devices as 600x800px, check the box for sRGB, and don’t select the save metadata option.

      IF I start with 938 x 1250 at 150ppi, I save an unlayered TIFF copy for the Amazon product cover because this image will be processed to make JPEG thumbnails, the larger cover image view, and the pan and zoom image, if one is produced for the catalog. These days, you see “Look inside the book” more than the “Pan and Zoom” option anyway. I also save a copy after using Photoshop’s image resize tool to set the resolution to 96ppi, which makes the dimensions 600px by 800px automatically. These are the dimensions I need for the Kindle inside cover. Photoshop’s “Save for web and devices” will save the image with the pixel dimensions you specify no matter what resolution you feed it. So, be less concerned about resolution and more about the dimensions and everything will be fine.

      The Amazon product cover image is not as restricted as the inside cover in that file size can be bigger and dimensions can be larger. It doesn’t have to have the same ratio of width and height as the inside cover, although there’s no reason to make it otherwise. That said, it’s absolutely optional to upload a different image for the product catalog.

      There are a couple of reasons why I do it the way I described. First, I noticed that Pan and Zoom was enabled when I uploaded a bigger product image as a higher resolution TIFF and the product images looked a little sharper. Second, I like to work with a larger image in Photoshop, with the same proportions as inside cover image. A 938 by 1250 image at 150 is a 600 by 800 image when I resize it by changing the resolution from 150 to 96. A 900 x1200 image is also easy to resize but you have to specify both the width and the resolution to do that. A 600×800 px image will always be 600×800, so it’s the simplest way to work. You can submit a .tif unlayered copy of the same image for the product cover if you wish. Doing so gives Amazon a very high quality image to work with, so results should be good.

      Do what works for you. I do appreciate your feedback. Maybe I need to do another post with the simplest options instead of what I like to use!

  13. Marcia says

    I figured a few things out.
    My size was off because from cropping, I guess, my CANVAS size in gimp had gotten scaled down so I went in there and fixed that then scaled the pic to fit the canvas and got my 938 x 1250.

    Figured out everything else, the resolution and dpi/ppi resizing.

    Now the only problem I’m having is when I change the resolution of the pic in gimp to 96 it does not automatically change it to 600 x 800. However I just scaled it manually and saved it. When I save to jpeg I get it under the recommended kb and also in word I found out I can compress the size there.

    • says

      So glad you posted information on using Gimp. There are always several ways to do everything! For non-Photoshop users, a 900 x 1200 image also scales easily to 600 x 800. Most of my images are fairly easy to get under 127KB. Recently, I worked with a drawing with a very complex background that was a toughie.

  14. says

    To help ease some confusion, it should be noted that ppi and dpi are irrelevant when saving your image. Those refer to the pixel or “dot” density of an OUTPUT device. Your bitmap image is simply a grid of pixels that is of a certain absolute number of pixels wide and tall.

    Whatever graphics tool you use, you only need to pay attention to the width and height in pixels of the final JPG image you save. Any dpi setting can effectively be ignored.

    I have a blog post titled Is Your Website the Right Width? Part 1 – Pixels & Resolutions that helps explain this better.

    • says

      I just excavated your comment from my spam filter… Must have been the link. Yes, as I mentioned in my comment above, a pixel is a pixel, and the dimensions of the inside cover should always be 600×800 pixels. As I noted, resolution data is actually DISCARDED when saved for web or devices in Photoshop. Amazon mixes things up a bit by saying, in one place, to make the inside cover image 600×800, and in another, to use 300dpi/ppi, where they talk about images in general. I’ve been meaning to make this clearer in the post as well, but got pulled off into other projects, so mea culpa.

      Some time ago, I ran across an article that explained print and screen resolution in great detail, but it was too technical for general readers. Your explanation, with a diagram that demonstrates how an image appears larger or smaller depending on the resolution of the monitor/output device may help folks get their head around this fact.

      I still prefer to work with a bigger TIFF image for the product catalog because it’s processed by Amazon to make various size thumbnails and for pan and zoom images, when used. I had also observed that when I provided Amazon with the same 600×800 image for the product catalog, they didn’t bother processing for zoom and pan. Now it doesn’t matter much because most books end up with an Inside the Book preview that displays the inside cover image anyway.

  15. Mike says

    Thanks for a very interesting post.

    Despite having put up 14 books on kindle, I must admit that I’m still a little confused about the ‘ideal’ cover dimension. There seems to be some conflicting advice on the net, so I’d appreciate clarification of the following:

    1)I understand that there are 2 aspects to images for a kindle book; namely the image that goes inside the book itself and the one that appears in the Amazon catalog.

    2) When uploading a book to dtp.amazon.com it states,”Image dimensions of at least 500 pixels horizontally and 800 pixels vertically, with an ideal height/width ratio of 1.6. A maximum of 2000 pixels on the longest side is preferred.”

    Thus, using the above, an image of height/width of 800 x 500 is a ratio of 1.6:1

    Your article indicates creating an image of height/width of 800 x 600 which gives a ratio of 1.33:1 (as are the others you mention i.e. 1200 x 900 and 1250 x 938)

    Therefore, why choose 1.33:1 rather than 1.6:1 ?

    3) Also, if 800 x 600 is the way to go, can I use a cover image of this dimension without altering the ratio and image appearance for physical books published using Amazon’s CreateSpace?

    Ultimately, what I asking is that each time I am required to create a kindle cover from scratch, can I just set up a template of height/width of 800 x 600 knowing that as long at the final image is under 127KB, it will ‘covers all bases’ regarding Amazon’s requirements?

    I really appreciate any advice you provide.
    Thank you
    Mike

  16. says

    Amazon’s Help file on Requirements for the size of your [product catalog] cover art is squishy and unnecessarily confusing.

    First, there is no required ratio of width to height. The word ideal doesn’t equal required. Most book covers are portrait-oriented rectangles, but you will find square covers and landscape rectangles of various width-to-height ratios if you browse the catalog.

    Second, the image may not be smaller than 500×800 pixels, but it may be larger. You may use the same 600x800px image for both your inside cover and the product catalog. I think most people do this and there’s nothing wrong with it.

    However, if you use the smallish 600×800 pixel image for the product catalog, it’s been my experience that pan-and-zoom will not be made available. Given the huge number of books for which Amazon offers "Look inside the book" pan-and-zoom may no longer be very important.

    Third, you don’t have to save your cover image at 72ppi as long as the dimensions are within guidelines. A 600×800, 900×1200, or 938×1250 pixel image is at least 500px on the short side and no more than 2000px on the long side. I find it convenient to work at 150ppi; you may not. It doesn’t really matter.

    Finally, the print on-demand service, CreateSpace, requires a cover image of 300dpi (although higher is accepted). If you make your own cover in Photoshop or Illustrator using the downloadable template for appropriate paper and spine size, make it 300dpi before inserting it into the cover template. Depending on the cover dimensions, you may need to crop it slightly.

  17. Mike says

    Thank you for illuminating the dark recesses of my mind…for the first time, I actually feel I have an overview of the situation:-)

    webbishbooks.com is now well and truly bookmarked!

    Kind regards
    Mike

  18. Van says

    Great tips! Thanks!

    Followed your directions for a TIFF of the cover for the product catalog and have a quick question – is the image that appears under ‘Upload Your Book Cover’ in my KDP account the way it will look on the sales page??

    If so, I’m doing something wrong because I uploaded a 938 X 1250 TIFF at 96ppi (600kb, using LZW compression) and it looks very fuzzy. I’m hoping the image that shows in that section is just a very low-res version?

    Thanks!

    PS Even doubled the size to 1876 X 2500 and it looks the same. Using LZW compression.

    • says

      KDP’s preview of the cover is notoriously bad. Everybody’s cover looks like a coughed up hairball that has been run over by a truck. The cover shown in the Amazon Kindle catalog will be fine. Trust me, really.

  19. Van says

    Thanks so much for the rapid reply! Very kind of you. Saves me a LOT of aggravation trying to figure out what I was doing wrong ;-))