Does your book cover design matter for ebooks?

Does book cover design matter for an ebook?


Human beings are visual animals. Images at first glance always are more powerful than words. That’s why most businesses use logos. When their name is presented, they typically stylize their lettering so that we associate the shape and color with their products (hence the Golden Arches, McDonald’s stylized M).

Most potential readers of your ebook will first encounter it via an image – the book’s cover – rather than the wording. It may be the thumbnail of your book cover on’s “Customers Who Viewed This Item Also Viewed” or on Goodreads’ “Currently reading.” It may be a thumbnail of your book cover on Nook’s “Top Matches” or of some blog’s listing of a dozen books about a topic. If that thumbnail doesn’t cause them to take a closer look at the accompanying text descriptions of your book, you or farther away from making a sale.

Given this, a cover designed from an online thumbnail needs to be designed differently than a cover for a paperback book one can pull off a bookstore shelf. The ebook cover probably should consist of a single, dominant image rather than an elaborate, detailed illustration. The title (or author’s name if well-recognized) needs to be in larger lettering so it can be read on a thumbnail. Small lettering, such as a promotional blurb, probably should be dispensed with. I say “probably” only because there definitely are exceptions of successful ebooks that didn’t follow these rules. In general, though, think “logo” rather than “bookstore-sold book cover.”


My name is Rob Bignell. I’m an affordable, professional editor who runs Inventing Reality Editing Service, which meets the manuscript needs of writers both new and published. I also offer a variety of self-publishing services. During the past decade, I’ve helped more than 300 novelists and nonfiction authors obtain their publishing dreams at reasonable prices. I’m also the author of the 7 Minutes a Day… writing guidebooks, four nonfiction hiking guidebook series, and the literary novel Windmill. Several of my short stories in the literary and science fiction genres also have been published.