How to Create a Cover PDF for your Book

Calculate the spine width of your book

The spine width is based on the number of pages in your book:

For black and white-interior books:

White paper: multiply page count by 0.002252
Cream paper: multiply page count by 0.0025

Example of spine width calculation for a 60-page black and white book printed on white paper: 60 x 0.002252 = 0.135"

For color-interior books:

Multiply page count by 0.002347

Example of spine width calculation for a 60-page color book: 60 x 0.002347 = 0.141"

Set up your document

Your cover must be a single PDF that includes the back cover, spine, and front cover as one image.

You can submit your cover on any size page as long as the printable area is:

  • Measured exactly to your book's trim size, spine width, and .125" bleed
  • Centered horizontally and vertically

Minimum Cover Width: Bleed + Back Cover Trim Size + Spine Width + Front Cover Trim Size + Bleed

Example calculation at 6" x 9" cover with 60 B&W pages on white paper: 0.125" + 6" + 0.135" + 6" + .125" = 12.385"

Minimum Cover Height: Bleed + Book Height Trim Size + Bleed

Example calculation: 6" x 9": 0.125" + 9" + .125" = 9.25"

Get a head start with one of our cover templates:

Our templates make it easier for you to quickly create print-ready files in Adobe Photoshop®, Adobe InDesign®, or any software that will allow you to open a .png or PDF file and save a PDF file. These templates contain the proper dimensions, layout, and bleed for the trim size and page count you select.

Download Cover Templates

Design your cover

Safe Zone

Text and images must be at least .125" inside the trim lines to ensure that no live elements are cut during the bookmaking process.

Title and Author Name

Your book's title and the author's name must appear on the cover exactly as it was entered during the title setup process.

Images

Images may be CMYK or RGB color. All images should be sized at 100%, flattened to one layer and placed in your document at a minimum resolution of 300 DPI.

The spine of your book

Every book will vary slightly when bound. Allow for 0.0625" variance on either side of the fold lines for your cover. For example, if your spine width is 1", your text should be no wider than 0.875". Because of this variance, avoid hard edges or lines that end on the fold line.

For books with 130 pages or less, we strongly recommend a blank spine. Blank spines are required for books with less than 101 pages.

Barcode

When your files go through the review process, our system will place your ISBN barcode in a 2" by 1.2" white box in the lower right-hand corner of your book's back cover. Our standard trim size templates will show you exact barcode placement.

Images or text in the barcode location will be covered when the book is printed. Make sure no important elements appear where the barcode will be placed.

If you choose to provide and place your own barcode, be sure it is a high-resolution image.

Prepare for Printing

  1. The printable area of your document must be the right size, including bleed.
  2. Make sure the printable area is centered within your document.
  3. Make sure all live elements are inside the safe zone.
  4. Export your file as a print-ready PDF. Be sure fonts are embedded.
  5. The maximum accepted file size for your book cover is 40 MB.
  6. Download the CreateSpace Submission Specification in one document.

Key Print Terms

Spine: The part of the cover that wraps around the bound edge of the book.

Trim: Where the page will be cut.

Bleed: To print at or off the very edge of a page by design. Commonly used to accommodate images and illustrations.

Live Elements: The content within the viewable area (or safe zone) which is always seen. No essential elements are cut during the bookmaking process.

Need help with your book?

Our knowledgeable publishing consultants can customize our services to meet your needs and budget.

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