Someone new to eBook publishing posed the question in a Digital Publishing group on Linked In recently, how is important is a cover for eBooks? The answer is … very. It’s easy to imagine that they are not as important since the books are not lining shelves in a study or lounge room like print books; they’re not tempting the reader on a coffee table or catching your attention as you walk past a bookshop window. Instead they are the key visual in an online purchasing decision.
Let’s take Amazon sales as an example. The buyer looks on Amazon under a category, or searches for a topic, or gets to Amazon having found out about a book from another website. Once there, what do they see? A whole lot of text except for cover images. Left side brain people, the logical side of the brain, might focus more on the text including the book titles and descriptions. Right side brain people will be attracted, or unattracted, to cover images. Aside from gold stars indicating positive reviews, covers are the only alluring visual you get to use to entice a buyer.
So what makes a good cover?
The quality and composition must be professional. Clear crisp lines. No blurred edges that give any hint of an amateur offering.
Keywords should be able to be read when the cover is in thumbnail form.
It should be designed to specifically look good at thumbnail size and and the slightly larger size seen on the Amazon description page.
If the author has another book, or bragging rights to something, add it to the cover.
Using photos is very popular in book cover design at the moment, but you can stand out with a unique graphical image also.
Keep covers to works by the same author somehow similar, in color, layout, font, artwork style, etc.
Make sure it still looks like a book cover and not a project cover or a design better suited to a web page. It needs to be clearly identifiable as a book cover.
Entice the browsing customer to click on the thumbnail of the cover image to be able to read the smaller text on the cover.