Specification Requirements for a CreateSpace Book Cover

Spec Character Shows Specifications Details Particulars Or DesigKindle Direct Publishing is the self-publishing platform that makes it possible for authors to create paperbacks and distribute them through Amazon. Its main advantage is that it permits print on demand, which means authors can have both paperback and eBook formats ready for sale through Amazon and expanded distribution channels.

There are paperback formatting requirements for book covers if you want to self-publish through KDP. Adhering to the guidelines for cover creation will make it possible to keep its content including images intact and in appropriate positions.

Placement of Text and Images

The paperback format will undergo a bit of processing, folding, trimming etc before a final copy is produced. That’s why KDP requires that you place your text and images within a stipulated safe zone. According to KDP guidelines for cover creation, all live elements (text, graphics, etc) should be at least 0.125 inches inside the trim lines.

The Spine

Again, KDP requires paperback creation to take into consideration spine width. The self-publishing platform requires that you leave a variance of 0.0625 inches along the fold lines. This requirement applies for both edges of the spine. That is, if the spine is x units wide, and taking into consideration a variance of 2 x 0.0625 for either side of the fold lines, any text on the spine should have a width of not more than (x-(2 x 0.0625)).

In addition, KDP requires that you put no text on a spine for a book that’s less than 101 pages. Quite obviously, such a book would have a spine so tiny to carry any legible text. As a recommendation, books with less than 130 pages should also have no text on their spines.


The Barcode will carry critical information about your book and thus must be provided for in your cover creation. That’s why your cover designer should ensure that no live or important elements are placed in the space designated for the barcode. Usually, KDP has cover templates your paperback formatter can rely on when creating your book’s cover. The template indicates where on the cover they will print the barcode.

Image Requirements

The use of both CMYK and RGB color standards on cover images. However, ask your cover designer to set the images in one layer and ensure a minimum resolution of 300 dpi for perfect appearance on print.

Don’t prepare separate images for your cover. KDP needs the front cover, back cover and spine all as one PDF file. As such, your book formatter should ensure proper conversion into PDF while keeping all the formatting intact. Specifically, embed all the fonts during conversion to PDF. Also ensure that the PDF file is 40 MB or lower. Yet, don’t compromise on image quality to reduce images down to the required size.

Meeting the above Kindle Direct Publishing guidelines might be challenging, but it will ensure your cover is presented professionally. Thus, don’t take any single paperback formatting requirement lightly as it will weigh on how your book is perceived by potential buyers.

Let The Fast Fingers book designers help create a nice book cover for your title at reasonable rates.

Specification Requirements for a KDP Book Cover Submission