Amazon Updates KDP eBook Cover Recommendations

This change IS a pretty big deal for indie writers.

Amazon announced today in their KDP newsletter that they have updated their recommendations for cover sizes for Kindle ebooks.

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).

While the smaller size is pretty typical of what many indies are already using for cover images, jumping to the recommended level will often mean paying higher prices for art. Jumping an image from 1000×625 to 2500×1562 isn’t just a matter of expanding it in your image editor – that way leads to pixelated, ugly looking images. Instead, you need to go back to the source art and use larger source art. Both royalty free art sites and artists for unique art will generally charge more for larger images, and in some cases artists might not have larger source art available for an image.

It’s not the end of the world, but it’s something indie writers need to pay attention to moving forward. Screen quality is only going to continue improving on ereaders, which means images with higher pixel counts are going to become desirable. Plan accordingly, and build your cover images with higher resolution than you intend to use.

A last note on this: these images are the display images Amazon uses to sell books on their site, NOT the cover image included in the book. In most cases, it is advantageous to include in the book file an image on the lower end of the spectrum, since readers will rarely actually see it there, and higher quality images result in a larger files size for the ebook. Since indie writers getting the 70% royalty from Amazon are billed a  small amount for file downloads, the bigger the file, the less you earn per sale. Those pennies can add up in the long run, so best practice is to include in the book file a smaller file size of image than the one you’re using for display.

7 thoughts on “Amazon Updates KDP eBook Cover Recommendations

  1. J. A. Self

    Thanks for the article. I didn’t read the KDP newsletter closely enough and thought it was referring to the cover. You saved me a lot of grief as I’m pushing out a story over the next week or so.

    Reply
    1. Kevin Post author

      Glad it helps. Just be ready to make more changes in the future. For example, if Amazon kicks out a new tablet with a “retina” style display like the iPhone, iPad, and many Android phones have, you could see an 8.9″ tablet with around 2500 pixels on the long side. So it IS possible that better definition art might be called for even in the book file in the future.

      But for now I’m feeling very much like that’s a low priority.

      Reply
  2. Errol

    I do not recommend authors/publishers use 1000×625 or 2500×1562 for their book’s cover size. These sizes result in white-coloured gap spaces (that look like borders) appearing on the left and right side of your book’s cover when viewed on Kindle 1, Kindle 2, Kindle 3, Kindle 4 (non-touch), Kindle Touch, and Kindle DX.

    Your book’s cover should display at fullscreen with no white-colored gap spaces at the left and right side. I recommend you use Width: 1200 x Height: 1600 or Width: 1800 x Height: 2400 for your book’s cover.

    Reply
  3. acweaver

    Thanks for the article, but I’m confused… are you recommending using a sized-down version of the book cover inside the book, and a full sized version on the book’s page on Amazon?

    Also, I read somewhere that you should use square covers for the book’s page on Amazon so the thumbnail stands out (since the thumbnails are displayed in square containers).

    Reply
    1. Kevin Post author

      That is absolutely an option. It really depends on your image though. For a simpler image – which, as a JPG, will be smaller since it will compress better – you might have no need. But the images you use inside your book count toward the total file size, which eats away at your profits. If you have a VERY large file size cover image, using a lower quality or smaller image for the cover IN the book file itself can help reduce the book file size.

      If you don’t think you need to though, I’d just keep the same image for both.

      Reply

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