Book Cover Design Mistakes #1: Odd Size

Welcome to Book Cover Design Mistakes, a new series of posts on Shelfbuzz which help identify common mistakes of amateur book designers. Let’s start off with an easy one. Odd sizes and dimensions of the book cover.

Here’s Exhibit A:

free kindle books

This book is too wide. Let’s check out a professionally-designed fantasy book for comparison:

free kindle books

Notice how the George R.R. Martin book has proportions that seem like a physical paperback book. The image dimensions are 329 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall. This is roughly a 1:1.5 ratio of width to height. Compare that to the first book “Rose De La Terre” which is nearly square (488 pixels wide by 500 pixels tall) and looks more like a CD than a book. These  odd sizes can signal “amateur design” to potential readers.

Note: the one exception to the “paperback” proportion rule of good design can be found in Apple’s Enhanced iBooks, which use the proportion of hardcover textbooks (as per the iBook Author design templates). This more of a 1:1.3 ratio of width to height.