4 Tips for Designing an Impactful eBook Cover

By IssuuMay 19, 2022Content Marketing, Tips

A person lying in a hammock reading an eBook. Image credit: Perfecto Capucine

Importance of eBook Covers

There are so many reasons to create an eBook. You can write a compelling story, share your expertise, deep dive into business topics to educate customers, or communicate your company’s brand to expand your reach. While there are many proven benefits of publishing an eBook, a poorly-designed cover can stop potential readers in their tracks. Despite the old proverb, many people do - in fact - judge books by their covers, so it’s important to make every part of your eBook contribute to its visibility and effectiveness. The cover has to be intriguing enough to generate clicks and conversions; it is, after all, the “face” of your content within.

Here are four tips to help you design one that works as both a cover and a marketing tool.

Design Tips for eBook Covers

1. Strive for Clarity

For the cover to have an impact, it has to convey the eBook’s message and purpose clearly. This means you need to rank your cover elements in order of importance to your audience. All eBook cover designs must have a title, and many will have a subtitle or testimonial. You might also want to include an illustration or photo that fits the topic. Rank these elements in their order of importance to your audience. 

Your reputation as a subject matter expert might also be more important to your publication than the eBook’s title. If so, consider a portrait of yourself on the cover with your byline, and then make your title the second focus. If the content topic itself is more critical, make a testimonial the main focus on your cover after the title. Your eBook cover design will communicate with clarity when you rank items by what is essential to your reader. Learn more about designing covers as well as digital book interiors here.

2. Design for the Genre

If your eBook is a murder mystery, use fonts and colors to connect with the genre. If your eBook is about something more formal, however, like investing or real estate, avoid anything that would remove credibility (especially fluorescent colors or aggressive fonts). Study the covers of successful eBooks in your genre. Think about what they have in common and the type of attention they attract. Explore the current standards for fonts and colors used by leaders in your field. Also, look at the amount of white space built into the design. Make notes and incorporate what you’ve learned into your cover.

3. Connect the Book’s Content With the Audience

Content can stimulate visual ideas and the choice of colors, fonts, and illustrations requires nuance. Let the content of the eBook and your intended audience be your guide. For example, if you’ve written about fashion trends over the past 50 years, you have many design choices to choose from as your content draws from several decades. To select the best one, dive into the material. You can even poll your intended audience through social media or email to get an idea about which era within those 50 years they most enjoy and then base your design around their responses. You can also use an eBook template to help get started. Remember to connect your content to your audience, and your cover will surely sing.

4. Think Small

Remember that eBook cover designs can often be displayed as a small thumbnail in categorized lists and might have to work harder to attract attention. Unlike the customer perusing in a physical bookstore, the online reader is not a casual browser. They will make a quick decision about whether or not to click on your thumbnail cover to read your publication. Your cover must attract attention and pique curiosity. Otherwise, your audience will move on. Your design must be easily understood at a small size, which is another reason prioritizing elements for clarity is an excellent place to start. Always preview your cover layout in different sizes to see how easy it is for the reader to see the design and, ideally, the title.

eBook Cover Examples

Ready to get inspired? Here are some examples of digital flipbooks published on Issuu with covers that reflect the four tips we just shared:

Designing Your Cover and Sharing It Digitally

Once you’ve designed the perfect cover, Issuu makes it easy to transform, publish, and share your eBook with the world. From memoirs to technical manuals, our eBook creator makes it easy to compile all of your long-form content into a shareable, searchable eBook that readers will love.