Picking E-Book Covers 

There can be quite a difference among the photo companies who sell photos. I recently learned that at least one popular company, only allows their photos to be used for blogs. It does not allow their photos to be used in all e-books–many can are only for editorial use. (Read the fine print.) I was shocked to learn, I could owe tnem as mucha as could as much as 100. per photo if I wanted to use the photo for an e-book and a print book. I stopped using them. Then in 2013, I saw they had changed the rules. Now I buy from them again. (The fee of $100.00 is understandable if I sold 500,000 books, but to pay it ahead of time, on an e- book I offer for free, that may or may not sell in the future, seems unreasonable.)

Free Photos?

Most of the photo stock company advertise their photo’s are free. But they are not. What they usually mean is you will not have to pay on-going royalties. Be sure to read the fine print, and the various contracts within each photo company. My companies I can call on the phone. They are usually helpful.

Another company I checked with, allows you to use any photo you purchase from them, up to 500,000 copies. Books you give away, are not counted in the 500,000 number. However, once you reach 500,000, their photos are twice the price of the company mentioned above. I also learned from them, by rights (you don’t have to) but in my opinion, you should give photography credit in your acknowledgements. There is a proper way to do this, so check with the company from whom you purchase your photos. Or, write to me.

E-book covers are so much fun!  I love them and suspect you do also, or will shortly.

First off, be sure to pay for any photos you use.  Don’t assume they are free and you can take them from the internet. These photo’s belong to a photographer who deserves to be paid–the same as you do–for the stories you write. So, if you plan to design your own covers using photos you find on the internet, do the right thing, and make sure you pay for the right to use them.

The photo companies ads will often say: “Free” but that doesn’t mean you get them for free. It only means you do not have to enter a long-term royalty agreement.

Caution: There is a code embedded into the corner each photo that will lead companies to your doorstep. You can’t see it. Sometimes you can click on it. Other photos will have various marks you and everyone else can see. (Think of it as you would hanging your laundry on a clothes line with the name “Holiday Inn” stamped all over your towels.) Some photographers (trying to protect the product of their hard work) have been known to corrupt author’s computer files.

So if any of you out there are unknowingly taking photos and not paying for them–reform. : )

Note: With some photos, until you put the photo in your computers trash basket, your system will continue to do strange things. If it blows up, then it’s evident you have confiscated far too many photos. (Just kidding.)


The photos on-line from reputable companies are affordable. Small ones (for a blog) in the 851 x 564 pixel range. For covers, Amazon now recommends:

• TIFF (.tif/.tiff) or JPEG (.jpeg/.jpg) format
• At least 1000 pixels on the longest side, with an ideal height/width ratio of 1.6. 
2500 pixels on the longest side is preferred

Some photos are very expensive, but most of them this size will be about $3.00. to $12.00 each.

You can also use Public Domain Photo and ones published via Wikipedia. But realize there are risks involved in doing this––however when you deal with a company––one I know of, has built in liability insurance.The extra cost per photo is worth it to me. One company I know of provides this––there may be others. And if you are going to the expense of printing paper book, it is doubly important to use caution. There are also rules on how you use the photographs. Read them carefully.




Something To Consider:

If you take your own photographs with a newer camera, chances are your photos are embedded with personal information that bring you unwanted attention. As I understand it, (from a professional internet person who works for a nationally known author of #1 computer books) “Snaps” is a program that will remove identifying information from your photographs.



Pre-made/Custom Book Covers


Note: This company was brought to my attention by a satisfied customer. (I consider him a reliable source.) Covers created by this designer will cost you about $25.00. Turn around time is excellent. You can usually have your cover within a few days.

Copyright 2012 Gigi Galt