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Publishing a book cover on Amazon

by Andrew Hoare · updated August 2019

What is this article about?

In this article we will walk through the steps to prepare and publish your book cover on Amazon, including Kindle and Paperback. We cover the basics, from trim sizes to spine calculation and tips for publishing your book online.

Setting up an account

The first step is to setup an account. If you already have an Amazon account you can use that to sign into KDP. If not, you will need to create an account with Amazon KDP. Follow the prompts - you will need to enter the author's details, payment, and tax information.

Create a new title

Amazon will ask you to "Create a New Title" (see image below). You have two options (1) Kindle eBook or (2) Paperback.

Amazon book cover template

Which to choose?

The quickest and easiest is to publish your book cover on Amazon Kindle (their online store). If you have more time you should publish on both Kindle and paperback (recommended). Why limit yourself to only one format? Both options are free to setup on Amazon, however each book cover requires a different design and template. For Kindle you only need a front cover. For paperbacks you will need a front cover, back cover and spine. The spine width will need to be the correct dimensions to support the number of pages.

Do I need two book covers?

Yes. If you are only publishing on Amazon KDP you will only need one book cover. The easiest and most cost effective is to design a Kindle eBook cover. For printed paperbacks you will need a wrap around book cover. There are two seperate files that need to be uploaded on Amazon. First you need to decide on the trim size. You can choose a standard book size from 5" x 8", square and many more trim size options. Amazon have a paperback cover template that helps you and illustrators design the book with precise measurements for the cover, spine and back cover.

Amazon book cover template

Spine Width

For printed paperbacks you will need to know the exact measurements for the front, spine and back cover. Calculating the spine is a little more complicated. Even a millimeter out and Amazon will not allow you to upload the book cover. You will need the trim size, page count and paper colour before you can download the template. Following the template is the best way to ensure the required dimensions are met.


Judging a book by it's cover

The book cover design is the most important part of your book. It has to be engaging and eye catching to draw in potential customers. This is your chance to show potential customers what your book is all about. The book cover will need to appeal to the target audience. Having a professionally designed book cover can make all the difference.