There is a lot of confusion about what size to make ebook covers and what type of files are needed by different publishing platforms. Each publisher’s website has the information you need, but it’s often hard to find and there are subtle differences between each of the different publisher. This article is designed to help authors better understand what is needed for each of the major publishing platforms.
JPEG, PNG or TIFF?
I prefer to use either a JPEG or PNG at 300 dpi for the ebook publisher files I send my clients.
With a 300 dpi file, your ebook cover file has all the details and will support higher resolution monitors as they become the norm. The various publishing platforms will each scale the artwork down and change the resolution if needed for the different ebook readers and websites where your ebook cover appears.
JPEG (JPG) is the most commonly used format for ebooks. I create uncompressed (100 quality) JPEG files for ebook covers, as this provides the sharpest image with a file size of about 1 to 1.5 megabytes.
PNG files will work just as well as JPEG and the file size is similar as well.
TIFF (TIF) files are accepted by several publishing platforms. If you prefer a TIFF file, I will use 72 dpi in order to keep the file size below 2 megabytes to avoid uploading problems.
Sample JPEG file
To view a sample JPEG file and see the high detail, click here. The file is 1600 by 2400 pixels at 300 dpi and is 1.4 megabytes.
File uploading restrictions
Just about all the publishing platforms restrict cover file uploading to under 2 megabytes. Since you are uploading your file to the publisher’s server, the file size is checked as you upload and files that are too large will not be uploaded.
The digital artwork file size for ebook covers I create are well below 2 megabytes when I generate a JPEG or PNG file, so file uploading to various publishing platforms is usually not an issue.
Ebook Publishing platforms and file sizes
Please note that publishers will change their ebook cover specifications from time to time. Information is accurate as of Fall 2016. Please let me know if you learn of any new changes by emailing me.
Print book sizes
Please see What Size Should I Make My Print Book Cover? for details about printed book cover sizes, width to height ratios, file types and other information about ebook publishing.