Because most people do jactually udge a book by its cover, book cover art and design are critical marketing tools. Book cover art and design call for a unique combination of visual creativity, sensitivity to content, marketing savvy and technical expertise. Whether you are designing your own book cover or hiring a book cover artist or designer, there are some key technical terms you'll need to know to make sure you're on the same page with the publisher, printer or manufacturer.
The flat size is the size of a one-piece book cover (one that includes the front, back and spine), before it is folded or trimmed. Another size term you'll need to know is full-bleed, the size the book cover art will need to be if you want it to bleed, or go to the edges of the cover. Full-bleed artwork needs to be slightly larger than the trim size, or final finished size of the cover, to allow for slight variations in automatic trimming.
The spine of a book is its "backbone," the strip that covers the page binding. Because most books are shelved spine out, the design of the spine also serves a marketing function.
Hard cover books, or casebound books as they're known to publishers, often have a separate paper wrapper known as a dust jacket. The dust jacket folds around the book and is held in place with two flaps that tuck inside the front and back covers. The front flap usually carries a teaser or summary of the contents known as a "blurb;" the back flap may carry an author photo and biography, as well as quotes from favorable reviewers.
Artwork for a book cover design needs to be prepared and submitted in a format suitable for printing. The term camera-ready art initially referred to art pasted on boards and delivered physically to the printer. The term is still used, though most book cover printing today is done digitally.
Book cover art and design can include more than type and images. Cover coatings improve durability and added elements like foil stamping or embossing add visual interest.
Bookland EAN, ISBN-13
A key element of book cover design is the bar code information that appears on the back cover and allows the book to be catalogued, inventoried and sold. Book bar codes, known as Bookland EAN or ISBN-13 bar codes, differ from the codes found on other retail items, because they encode publishing data. Precise rules govern the generation and placement of these bar codes.