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Cover

“You can’t tell a book by its cover”. Well, whereas that may indeed be true, the cover is the first thing anyone sees, whether they are looking for print or e-book. So the cover is indeed a very important part of your book, and needs to be set up correctly.

Without getting into cover design, let us take a look at the construction of a book cover. There are three areas that are of importance to the designer: Front Cover, Back Cover and Spine.

When designing a cover (or any printed piece for that matter), an understanding of how the cover is manufactured – printed, trimmed (cut), and folded – is important. Once printed on a press sheet, the cover is cut and folded. These are mechanical processes. One must consequently take into account that there is a margin for error. Because of this one must keep all important artwork, including the book title, logos, essential images, and description a distance away from where it is intended that the paper is to be cut or trimmed. This area is called the “Live” area, and is white on the illustration below. The background artwork must consequently also extend beyond the trim – it must “bleed” off the page.

Specific to books (and most consumer packaging), there is also a rectangular area on the back cover reserved for the barcode that must remain devoid of “live”, or important artwork.

  Download and use the provided template file

CreateSpace and other self-publishing resources provide easy to use template files with guides specific to the specifications of your book. They also provide an online cover creator, which incorporates this template. If you hire an artist to design your cover, or do it yourself using an application such as Adobe Photoshop, then you would be strongly advised to download and use the provided template in your document.


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