Book Cover Design – the Fundamentals Part 2

Posted by Brittany Lavin
Published On Sep 27, 2014

By: Christopher A. Master, Lead Cover Designer

describe the imageHow big is a postage stamp?

The answer:  .875” x 1”.

Most of us who have published a book have been conditioned to believe that success equates to having your book featured prominently on bookstore displays.  I fell into this thought process when publishing myself.  This is true for select high-profile authors with names like King, Rowling or Sedaris.  The truth of the matter is that in recent years, a larger portion of book sales has been coming from online book retailers than from brick and mortar locations.

Fundamental 2:  Think Digitally

Many, if not all, online retailers will list your book for sale with just a thumbnail snapshot of the book cover (a larger version is only viewable by clicking through to the product page) alongside other similar titles. On Amazon, for example, this thumbnail size is just .75” x 1.25”.

Why should an author worry about the size of a thumbnail image of their cover?

Consider these covers featuring two vastly different girls:  Girl with a Pearl Earring and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. Both covers look great when taken at full size, yet the thumbnails tell a different story. In the case of Pearl, both the title and the pearl earring are virtually lost at the reduced size. In contrast, the bold text of the Dragon title maintains easy legibility even as the art becomes decidedly less clear.

The Gil with the Dragon Tattoo You can conduct your own similar comparison. Pick a handful of books that you like or that you have on your own bookshelf and look at their corresponding thumbnails on Amazon. Is the text legible? How does the artwork look at the reduced size? Now, if you hadn’t known anything about this book prior to seeing the thumbnail, would you have still purchased it?  Girl with the Pearl Earring

Be sure to keep these sizing issues in mind when devising your own cover concept. As I mentioned earlier, many of your sales will actually be coming from beyond the bookstore. Potential customers will be viewing your book’s information (and many others) on a computer, tablet, and even their cell phone.   Sales can be helped or hindered by something as small as a postage stamp.

Does your book cover design need a facelift?  Click here to view some of our cover design samples.  Our professional team of designers would love to work with you to create a new, more modern and digitally friendly look.


Click here for Part 1.


chris bioChristopher Master works as the Lead Cover Designer at Infinity Publishing. With 10+ years of cover design experience, he has amassed a design portfolio of well over 1000 book covers. 

He has been married to his intelligent and very patient wife for nearly a decade. In 2010, they welcomed their first child, Sylvie, who is a now toddling machine. A few years back, Christopher published a collection of humorous true childhood stories entitled Tiny Cracker Zoo.  Between work, family and freelance design, he strives to find the time to pursue writing a second book, this one focusing, perhaps, on the misadventures of  new fatherhood.

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Topics: infinitiy publishing, infinity, authors, self publishing companies, cover design, self publishing book companies self publishing pub

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