Amazon is Now Beta Testing an Automated Cover Generator for Kindle eBooks

kindle cover generatorThe cover image for an ebook is important to its success, but it’s also a rather difficult skill to master. Not everyone has the artistic skills to design a good cover, but in the not too distant future that will no longer be a problem.

There’s been no announcement from Amazon, but I have just learned that they are working on a new tool that will help self-pub authors make book covers cheaply, cleanly, and well.

A reader sent me this screen shot earlier today:

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He took the screenshot while using KDP, and as you can see from the title bar Amazon is offering a “Kindle Cover Creator”. The service is still in beta, and I have not seen it myself.  But I have been told that the covers shown above were automatically generated by Amazon.

I’m told they can be edited by the author and that the text can be moved and the background image can be edited. Amazon also offers a gallery of royalty-free stock photos that can be used as the background of a cover image. Users can also upload their own images.

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These are some pretty decent covers. They’re not quite as good as the work of an experienced cover designer, but on the other hand they are better than the covers of some books published by legacy publishers (example).

They’re also free, which is a plus.

I’ve been wanting to see someone offer a simple tool like this for some time now. While I don’t think the average author has the artistic skill to create a book cover from scratch, I do think that they will manage to make a decent cover with this tool.

I have used similar tools to design my business cards, after a couple ugly designs I finally started making decent cards. They’re not flashy but they are professional looking and do the job.

Amazon isn’t the first to offer an automated cover generator, but they are the first of the major self-pub services to do so. They’ve beaten Smashwords, B&N, and Kobo to the punch.

Update: Readers have informed me that Lulu and Createspace (an Amazon sub) have had similar cover creators for some time now, so my claim up above is incorrect. At least a couple of the smaller self-pub services also offer a cover generator.

BG8DMT-CIAENFUWIf you distribute an ebook via KDP then you might want to check to see if you have this option.

The screenshot at right shows a part of a KDP menu. Amazon isn’t offering this option to everyone, but if you can see the second button then you should be able to experiment with this new tool.

Edit: If you don’t see the option then you can learn more about the tool here.

Has anyone tried it? I would like to read your opinion.

Thanks, Tristan!

47 thoughts on “Amazon is Now Beta Testing an Automated Cover Generator for Kindle eBooks

  1. I played with it the other night. It’s a bit clunky and resource piggy. I have a snappy machine, and a nice broadband connection, so it’s good it’s still in beta. I lacked the time or patience to play around too much, but there are lots of image choices and color themes and an okay selection of fonts. Paraphrasing Eames here, but I think anyone who can think and see should be able to make something decent-looking (if not rather generic).

  2. Question: Will the author be able to use the same KDP-generated cover for versions of the book sold through Smashwords, B&N, etc.?

    1. Really now, what do you think?
      The vegas oddsmakers aren’t even taking bets on it. ;)
      (No, no, a thousand times no.)

      Actually, this is an area really ripe for a startup; license stock photos, generic fonts, add some nice coding and charge a few bucks to cover the photo and font licenses and a decent markup…
      Maybe charge a small premium to have a pro critique or tweak the design…

      1. BTW, I really like three of the ten covers. Two more look generic but decent.
        If the automated tool is consistently that good they’ll have a compelling story for indies.

        Now they need a blurb generator. :)

          1. Apple, Microsoft, ATT, Nuance, and Ivona are the outfits I’m fairly sure could pull it off.
            And Amazon, since they own Ivona.
            You’d probably have to fill in a questionaire, pick one of a couple dozen approaches and watch the blurbs fly. You’d have to tweak it yourself but considering how attrocious a lot of blurbs are, a computer could hardly do worse and is likely to do better.

    2. I think I just found the definitive answer in terms and conditions: “Subject to the authorizations you grant to us under this Agreement, as between us and you, you retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interest in and to your Digital Books. We retain all ownership rights in and to the copyrights and all other rights and interests in and to the Program, the Amazon Properties, and any materials we use or provide to you for use relating to your Digital Book (such as a generic cover image used for your Digital Book if you do not provide one).” Obviously, this is not a surprise, but I’d say they should probably make this crystal-clear when the service goes live.

      1. Am I reading this right? Does it mean we can’t use a cover created with Amazon’s program with their photos/backgrounds/fonts anywhere but on Amazon? If so, this is not something I’d want to do. I’d rather create my own covers (I’m a trained artist) or pay to have them done by a cover designer. At least I know they’re mine that way, and I can place them anywhere I wish.

  3. What a great tool. I’m just getting into this whole kindle ebook thing and I’ve been using this person on Fiverr who has been great kindle ebook covers but I’m looking forward to checking out this tool once it’s out of beta. Thanks for the information.

  4. The problem will soon arise when KDP-first authors decide they want to publish a print version of their book through CreateSpace. Unless the KDP Cover Creator will link into the CreateSpace Cover Creator (ie. provide the stock images in high resolution and ensure the templated designs allow for Createspace’s bleed and margin requirements), it may be difficult for authors to keep their existing design for their print edition. I’ve worked with dozens of authors to adapt their ebook covers for print because the original designer didn’t allow for print-on-demand submission requirements.

    The reverse has already been accounted for: CreateSpace’s Cover Creator automatically crops, resizes and supplies the cover image to KDP through an author’s CreateSpace account. I wonder if this has been considered in the beta test.

        1. It’s been available for as long as I’ve been designing covers (almost 3 years). Trying it out is one of the things that made me decide to turn my focus to book covers! I don’t like the “sameness” that it produced no matter what you tried to do to make something different.

  5. Wow! This is awesome…Shutterstock and Getty have recently ridiculously overpriced their stock photos…this tool will be a great asset for self-pubbed writers.

  6. “Not everyone has the artistic skills to design a good cover…”

    What?!? Everyone thinks they are a GREAT cover designer, they just can’t afford InDesign, or to hire a designer. Get ready for generic, bland covers that look like Power Point slides. Few people have a grasp on image resolution let alone or “the rule of thirds”. The answer to the question, “Can I get a cover for my book designed for free?” Yes! It will only look like you got it designed for free.

    Can’t wait to see it. C’mon, send a few hundred buck and at least hire some student designer.

  7. I have been using a very easy tool called Instant Kindle Cover Generator. I provide photo or graphic and text details then, presto! file for download.
    Very simple covers, and they do the job. (serach my name, Tom Castrigno, on kindle store to see them)
    Not free, but very affordable IMO. Demo video -> http://youtu.be/ePdgjosK5cM

  8. Both Lulu and Createspace have some form of “Cover Wizard,” but I created my own images in Photoshop.

    At some point, someone who wants to do self-publishing needs to learn the tools. An Adobe Creative Suite (includes InDesign and Photoshop) is not cheap, but it’s a good investment, and if you’re writing for a living it’s deductible.

    Of course, you still need some art talent, but a lot of that can be learned, too.

  9. Amazon didn’t beat Booktango to the punch — We launched our free cover designer over a year ago. It’s not a resource piggy and leaves the author in complete control of the cover’s look and feel. We also added a social sharing function so that authors can get feedback on cover design from their social circles. The cover and content are available across all platforms if the author chooses to distribute to them.

    Here’s a video on how Booktango’s designer helps eBook authors create their own covers: http://www.booktango.com/Help/Wizard/#THE_CoverDesigner

    Would love to have your feedback on Booktango’s user experience, too.

    1. You may have beat them to it but that’s not all that important. BookTango belongs to Author Solutions, so no matter how clever you are you will still be the publishing industry equivalent of Bernie Madoff (or rather his staff).

  10. And in the not too distant future—”The story for an ebook is important to its success, but it’s also a rather difficult skill to master. Not everyone has the literary skills to write a good book, but in the not too distant future that will no longer be a problem.

    There’s been no announcement from Amazon, but I have just learned that they are working on a new tool that will help designers write books cheaply, cleanly and well.”

  11. Considering that getting a decent cover ready has takenlonger than writing a novel, I’ll take a look. Admittedly I’m fussy, and my original art help died, but _good_ is hard. I know bad when I see it, just couldn’t avoid it.

  12. I was checking on my stats in my Kindle and I noticed this cover creator in beta. I have tweaked it and I think it is okay for now. The only thing I am thinking of is if this is transferable to Createspace…still looking into it

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