Amazon's cover guidelines

Here are the most important of Amazon’s rules for covers as stated in the Kindle Publishing Guidelines PDF:

The preferred format for the marketing cover is an image of 2560 pixels on the longest side and 1600 pixels on the shortest side with 350 dpi to ensure image clarity on Kindle HDX devices. The image file size should be 5MB or smaller.

If the marketing cover image size is smaller than the 2560 x 1600 recommendation, a reminder message is displayed at time of upload. Covers with less than 500 pixels on the smaller side are not displayed on the website.

The content of the cover image must not:

• Infringe another publisher’s or artist’s copyright on the same cover.
• Mention pricing or other temporary promotional offers.

And then this requirement is not mentioned in the PDF but is mentioned on the Cover Guidelines page:

  • File format: JPG or TIFF

[Side note: I say this in the Word to Kindle module, but it’s worth reiterating that your cover image does not need to be included anywhere in the book file you upload to Amazon through KDP. You upload the cover separately.]

Having said all of that, some of the guidelines stated for cover image size are recommendations, not rules. The cover can be skinner than the recommended dimensions, or fatter, or a square. As an aside, I do not like square ebook covers. I’ve seen a fair number of them on Amazon, but I think they just look strange. Books aren’t squares; they’re rectangles! When I see a square cover, I feel like I’m looking at something that isn’t a real book. It looks more like an album cover than anything else. That’s just my opinion, however, so take it for what it’s worth.


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Header photo: Jo Naylor