E-Book covers are images containing a graphical representation of an book, folder, binder, report, etc. They are usually designed so as to represent the object as if were an actual 3D solid object, and often incorporated shadow or reflection effects so as to enhance this impression.
As the name "E-Book cover" suggests, these graphics are frequently used by people who write or market E-Books, but you will also encounter these or similar types of graphic images used for other virtual or intangible products including ezines, membership sites , downloadable reports, or even software. It is however rare to see them used to represent products delivered in tangible (physical) form as printed books – because in that case a photograph of the actual object is normally used instead.
You can use an E-Book cover for a variety of different purposes. Probably the most common use is probably on a web site, either just as an attractive illustration, or as a method of navigation (for example to allow visitors to select between different different E-Books by clicking on the corresponding graphic). Some people also find them useful when creating advertising materials, or within the product itself (eg shown on the introduction page of an E-Book).
One thing that you do want to watch out for is not accidently misleading people with the graphic. What I mean by this, is that if you are delivering a download, you would not want to give the impression (as a result of displaying an E-Book cover), that you're delivering a tangible physical product. In many cases (eg the cover displayed within an E-Book) there will be no possibility of such confusion occurring, but if using them on your web site you may find it worthwhile to include a clear statement in your page footers or order pages stating something along the lines of "E-Book covers do not represent the actual products which are delivered via the Internet as electronic downloads".
There are several ways to create E-Book cover graphics:
– The first option is to draw them from scratch yourself. This can be incredibly consuming, and unless you are extremely skilled at graphics, the covers probably will not look at all realistic.
– The second option is there are scripts that you can buy to use inside of Adobe Photoshop. These are generally designed to turn your 2D design of a front cover into a 3D design, and can produce good results. However the scripts can be quite expensive, and if you do not already have Photoshop you'll need to buy that too, and that's even more expensive.
– The final option is to get some E-Book cover software. This is software that is specifically designed for creating images and includes everything you need for this purpose. Good quality E-Book cover software is massively cheaper than Photoshop plus scripts, and you may also find it easier to use and more flexible in terms of the range of cover types it can produce.