E-Book covers are images containing a perspective-based (i.e. looks as if 3D) representation of a book, folder, binder, report or other document. They are very popular with authors, publishers and marketers of E-Books and you will often seem used on web sites, in advertising materials, and in some cases even in the product itself (for example, many E-Book authors like to put a copy of their E-Book cover on the introductory page of their E-Book).
E-Book cover graphics are most frequently prepared as PNG or JPEG files, as this generally allows the highest quality images to be displayed – as both formats allow 24 bit color (allowing over 16 million shades of colorto appear in a single image). A really good E-Book cover design can look truly beautiful, and the best ones could almost (but not quite)be mistaken for a photograph.
There are at least four different ways that these graphics can be prepared. These are:
1. You can try and draw the image by hand in an ordinary painting or graphics program (e.g. the Paint accessory that comes with Windows, Corel Paint Shop Pro, Adobe Photoshop, etc. However, unless you are incredibly skilled, producing good quality covers this way may prove difficult if not impossible. Additionally, even if you are a wonderful artist, this approach can be incredibly time consuming.
2. There are web sites offering backgrounds or templates of E-Book covers. These are generally images of blank covers to which you are expected to add your own text or graphics using a painting or graphics program. The trouble with this approach, is that it can be very difficult to add text or graphics in a way that matches the perspective of the background (the same skew, the same orientation and the same shrinking with distance) – and if you don’t match the perspective of the background it will completely ruin the effect. To avoid this problem, some backgrounds/templates have the covers in a “flat” orientation so you can just add your own text on horizontally – unfortunately these kind of backgrounds/templates often don’t really 3D at all.
3. You can get scripts to use with Adobe Photoshop. Basically you design a flat 2D front cover, and then use these scripts. The scripts transform your front cover image and place it as part of a 3D design. These scripts can work very well, but the biggest downside is that you do need a copy of Adobe Photoshop – which at the time of writing costs several hundred dollars. The other issue with these scripts, is that some of them can be quite inflexible – they will only produce E-Book covers in specific preset orientations and sizes.
4. E-Book cover software is standalone software for creating these types of images – you don’t need Photoshop or other graphics packages. A good quality package is massively cheaper than Adobe Photoshop (even before you add the cost of cover scripts), and many people also find this type of software easier and quicker to use than the other alternatives. The best E-Book cover software will offer you great flexibility in the types of covers that you create, their orientations and sizes, and will even allow you to import existing graphics or clip art as part of your design.