This delightful scene represents just a few of the books and documents on my Kindle for iPad app. Several of the covers are hard to read even on the iPad’s large screen. Imagine if this was being viewed on the smaller Kindle Fire tablet or even on a tiny e-Ink reader without the benefit of color. Here’s a situation where you really CAN tell the book by its cover. Whether your publishing project is large or small, print or electronic, your cover design will attract potential readers to your book. And, it will also make it easy to find it on your/their e-bookshelves once it’s been downloaded to an e-reader.
As a standard rule, book covers should be designed using a 2:3 size ratio (for example 200 pixels wide by 300 pixels tall, 100 x 150 or 160 x 240). Many online bookstores and library desktops automatically resize the covers to fit their screen/site templates and if you’re using an unconventional size, the computer-generated resizing may crop out important parts of your cover design – like the title.
Font choices are important too. The Spain, Scrivener 2 and Yahoo titles above stand out with strong fonts and good contrast between the font color and its background. Sally Wright’s book titles would be more readable if a “thicker” font provided more contrast against the busy backgrounds. Savannah Breeze is easy to read because of the color contrast between the text and background, but Mary Kay Andrews’ name at the bottom suffers from competing colors.
Spain, South Riding and Tavernier Stones positioned the text to enhance the background images on the cover while other titling gets lost in the background. Busy backgrounds get muddled when they are reduced to thumbnail sizes. The titles are readable for the London Blitz Diary, but it’s difficult to recognize the subject of the cover graphic.
Need some inspiration? Browse through the family histories spotlighted over at Moultrie Creek Books. Determine which design elements made you take a second look at a particular book. Study how they did it, then put those elements to work on your cover. After all the time and effort you’ve put into your family’s story, make sure your cover will catch the eye – and the attention – of your family.