Book designer Joel Friedlander shows what works and what doesn’t in the Kindle Store:
You see these covers in two formats, like the rest of Amazon’s displays. A page of search results will show very small thumbnails—60 x 90 pixels—that are extremely challenging to carry off as any kind of good design.
When you go to the product detail page, you’ll get a larger—300 pixels high—image which makes it a lot easier to see the covers. In some cases, I have both versions for you to look at.
This title exhibits the most common failing of ebook covers I saw in the Kindle store: complete fidelity to the print book covers. You’ll see more below, but no matter how lovely this cover is in print, it fails even at legibility in the small preview size.
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It seems like the thriller writers have the easiest time making the transition to ebooks. Here, the design is so graphic, simplified and typographically distinct that the book works at every size.
Here’s a book that’s delightfully delicate and effective in print, but never should have just been dumped onto an ebook cover, at least if you care whether people can read it.
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Here’s an example of a great print book cover that fails as an ebook preview. In the small size the distinctive typography just about disappears into illegibility, and the most valuable real estate on the cover—the top half—is just a black rectangle. In the larger image, enough detail is restored so you can see the cover well. Works in one size, not in the other.
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Perhaps as more books move to “straight to digital” we’ll start seeing covers specifically designed for this environment. The books that seem to translate best are ones with simple shapes, typography and colors, although the ability to design these covers is not so simple.
Link to the rest at The Book Designer