How Much Does A Book Cover Cost? Book Cover Design Costs Explained

by Mahmud Kabir - May 31, 2024 No Comments 4:42 pm

Creating an eye-catching book cover is an important step in publishing. It’s often the first thing a reader sees, so it needs to make a great impression. But how much does a book cover cost?

Book cover design costs vary depending on the option you choose. Hiring a professional design company can range from $200 to $1,000, or even up to $2,000 for high-end services. Freelancers typically charge between $20 and $100 for their work. If you decide to design the cover yourself, it could cost nothing if you already have the necessary software, or up to $200 for software purchase. Premade book covers generally range from $100 to $150.

In this post, we will break down the costs associated with different types of book cover design.

A Book Cover Design: Why Is It Important?

A book cover is crucial for catching a reader’s eye. Did you know that many people choose books based on their covers? In Canada, about a quarter of readers decide what to read by looking at the cover. This makes sense because the cover shows the book’s genre and story.

The colors, images, and text on a cover create a mood and stir feelings. For example, happy covers with bright pictures attract readers who want to feel good, while spooky covers with dark images attract those looking for a scare.

Here’s an interesting tip: if you sell over $150,000 worth of books each year, it’s smart to hire a professional cover designer. Authors who make less than $90,000 usually design their covers. This might explain why professionally designed covers often sell better.

Remember, your choice of a book cover depends on your skills, time, and budget. Whether you do it yourself or hire someone, a good cover can make a big difference in your book’s success.

How Much Does A Book Cover Cost?

The cost of a book cover design can vary significantly based on the approach you choose. Each option offers different benefits and trade-offs in terms of quality, customization, and price.

Book Cover Design by An Agency

One of the more expensive options is hiring a professional design company to create your book cover. The cost typically ranges from $200 to $1,000, but for high-end services, it can go up to $2,000 or more.


  • High Quality and Professionalism: Design companies have experienced designers who can produce high-quality, market-ready covers.
  • Custom Designs: They offer fully customized designs tailored to your book’s genre and target audience.
  • Additional Services: Companies often provide additional services such as branding, marketing materials, and formatting.


  • Cost: This option is the most expensive, which may not be suitable for authors with a limited budget.
  • Turnaround Time: Design companies might have longer turnaround times due to their workload and detailed processes.

Book Cover Design by a Freelancer

Hiring a freelance designer is a more affordable option, with costs typically ranging from $20 to $100.


  • Affordability: Freelancers usually charge less than design companies, making this option more accessible for self-publishing authors.
  • Flexibility: You can find freelancers with varying levels of experience and styles, allowing you to choose one that fits your budget and vision.
  • Personalized Service: Freelancers often provide a more personal touch and direct communication, which can result in a design that closely matches your expectations.


  • Varied Quality: The quality of work can vary greatly among freelancers. It’s important to review portfolios and read reviews before hiring.
  • Limited Resources: Freelancers may offer a limited range of services that a design company can provide, such as marketing support or extensive revisions.

DIY Book Cover Design Option

Depending on the tools and resources you use, designing your own book cover can cost anywhere from $0 to $200.


  • Cost-Effective: This is the least expensive option, especially if you use free or low-cost design tools.
  • Creative Control: You have complete control over the design process, ensuring that the cover perfectly matches your vision.
  • Skill Development: Creating your cover allows you to develop valuable design skills.


  • Time-Consuming: Learning design software and creating a professional-quality cover can be time-consuming.
  • Quality Risk: With professional design skills, the final product may meet industry standards, which can affect the book’s marketability.
  • Potential Hidden Costs: While some tools are free, you may need to purchase software, stock images, or fonts, which can add to the cost.

Premade Book Cover Design

Purchasing a premade book cover typically costs between $100 and $150.


  • Affordability: Premade covers are more affordable than custom designs from a company or freelancer.
  • Quick Turnaround: These covers are ready to use, allowing for a faster publication process.
  • Professional Quality: Many premade covers are designed by professionals and meet industry standards.


  • Limited Customization: Premade covers offer little to no customization, so your cover may not perfectly fit your book’s content and branding.
  • Less Unique: There’s a risk that other authors might use the same design, which can affect your book’s uniqueness and brand identity.

Factors That Influence The Book Cover Design Cost

Below are seven of the most important factors that will affect the cost of your cover design.

1. Designer’s Experience and Reputation

Experience and reputation are the two main cost drivers in this industry. A more well-known designer with a big portfolio of successful projects will charge more compared to someone who is just starting. For example, a designer with more years of experience might cost you about a few thousand dollars. On the other hand, a designer who is just getting started might cost you only a few hundred.

2. Complexity of the Design

The complexity of the design cover is important for the cost of the cover. If the design is simple, without too many elements, and the typography is simple, this cover’s cost will be cheap. Other and vice versa, it will depend on the number of elements and especially the design of drawings, artwork, and design in general, which requires a lot of time and talent. It will cost the merchants even more.

3. Custom Artwork vs. Stock Images

Buying a custom illustration/painting means it is more expensive than buying the stock image.

First of all, illustration/painting creates for you. This illustration/painting is customized carefully to your book’s content, and you can only use it only.

It is so much more expensive than stocks. This is because it takes a lot of time and energy from the artist to keep on illustrating for you and airbrushing to your needs.

Stock images are cheaper and mass-produced. Stock ones have already been produced, which means the book has already been circulated in the market. People sell them mass-produced.

4. Number of Revisions

The number of revisions is one factor that can influence cost based on the objective. The standard packages generally include a specific number of revisions from the designer. If you need more than just a few changes, you’ll be out of luck (and more cash). The clearer you are on your vision and communicate it from the beginning, the fewer revisions you’ll need.

5. Type of Book and Target Audience

However, much also depends on the genre of the book and the target audience. ‘It’s fair to say that fantasy or sci-fi will often require more detail, so the design will need more work and might have to be more striking visually,’ says Williams. That requires more specialist skills from the designer and more work from the illustrator, making it more expensive to produce. ‘If it’s a non-fiction book, for example, you might have to be a bit more restrained and straightforward – the design might be simpler, which makes it quicker to do.’

6. Design Elements and Special Effects

Special effects and custom design touches contribute additional cost. Specialized touches such as embossing, foil stamping, and spot UV are possible with cover design and can really elevate a book’s presentation. For authors or entrepreneurs with a direct stake in the book, this can be a powerful tool for extending the period for building the book’s business. The downside is that special effects add costs. These techniques involve additional process steps with specialized materials and add up in terms of increased cost.

7. Turnaround Time

Turnaround time for the design can also affect cost. If you need the cover to be designed tomorrow, the designer will charge you a rush fee for bumping your project to the top of the queue. To avoid these types of extra costs, you will need to plan and allow enough lead time for the design process.

What Makes A Good Book Cover That Fits The Genre?

For any book cover to be successful, it has to meld its aesthetic appeal alongside the conventions of genre to attract the attention of the reader and express the content of the story. Here’s what a good cover can be:

1. Understanding Aesthetics

A good book cover follows all the basic rules of design: lighting, contrast, shadows, line and form, texture, colors and warm or cool hue, palette, geometrical shapes, and perspective—all elements combine to create an attractive and ‘sellable’ cover. Shadows and light, for example, give the design a real depth and a cool or warm tone, depending on the color, and complement one another and the main subject.

2. Genre-Specific Design

Each genre has visual cues that readers expect. Understanding these cues is crucial:

Romance: Made up mostly of light pastel colors, pinks, purples, soft colors, and images of couples or romantic scenes. The typography is often princessy, flowing romances.

Thriller/Mystery: Dark colors, high contrast, shadow imagery, suspenseful, intriguing; intense, sharp, bold fonts frequently used.

Fantasy Can feature detailed, exotic, ornamental motifs or intricate magical designs with bold, bright colors. Images might include dragons, fairies, or enchanting or exotic landscapes. Decorative, artwork-inspired, or cartoonish typography is common. The science fiction genre features futuristic and technology-focused designs, such as metallic colors and neon tones. Space-themed nutrients, hi-tech gadgets, or dystopian landscapes are regular features of this type. The fonts used are modern and edgy.

Non-Fiction: Clean, minimal, focused on the typography, the imagery straightforward, often the image of the subject of the book, or symbolic.

3. Color Harmony and Contrast

The colors used should be coherent with the genre and give emotional signals, such as bright, cheerful ones for a book for children or a comedy. Dark, moody tones, on the other hand, are more fitting for a horror or suspense nook. Contrast helps important elements be very visible so that the title and—particularly—the author’s name are easily read.

4. Imagery and Symbols

A clever image on a book cover should also give a clue to what’s inside. A magnifying glass, a shady man, or a city at night would be visible on the cover of a detective novel, again an example of visual shorthand that enables even the most distracted potential reader to grasp immediately what the book is about.

5. Typography

With good typography, the cover will stay flat. The type needs to mate with the rest of the design and sometimes with the genre. Needle drops in horror novels tend to be jagged and distressed; historical novels, on the other hand, favor classical serif typestyles. Stay focused on the rest of the cover. The presentation of those words – the style, size, and place – has to balance with everything else so that the title stands out but doesn’t leap out. The title needs to be large enough to be legible at thumbnail size.

6. Balance and Composition

A good cover balances all the elements—text, images, and negative space—and their various shapes and sizes. Good composition means positioning the elements on a cover so that nothing seems overly or underly cluttered. Good composition also subtly moves the eye from one element to the next and emphasizes the most important features of the cover.

7. Consistency with Brand and Series

When authors write series, this helps build a brand; using the same typeface on each cover, for example, helps readers glance to recognize books written by the same author and belonging to a shared narrative.

How Will You Find Out A Good Book Cover Designer?

Finding a good book cover designer can be easy if you know where to look and what to consider. Here are some simple steps to help you find the right designer for your book:

Look at Other Book Covers: Start by looking at book covers in the genre that you like. Check the credits or acknowledgments page to see if the designer is mentioned. This can give you an idea of who has experience in designing covers that appeal to your target audience.

Browse Online Portfolios: Search online for book cover designers. Websites like Behance, Dribble, and Pinterest have many portfolios from designers. Look for styles that match what you envision for your cover. This helps you see the designer’s skills and creativity.

Check Freelance Platforms: Visit freelance websites like Upwork, Fiverr, and 99designs. These platforms allow you to view profiles, portfolios, and reviews from past clients. You can also post a job listing and receive proposals from interested designers.

Join Author Communities: Join online communities and forums for authors, such as Goodreads, Facebook groups, or Reddit. These platforms are great for asking for recommendations and reading about other authors’ experiences with designers.

Ask for Recommendations: If you know other authors, ask them for recommendations. Personal referrals are valuable because they give you firsthand feedback on the designer’s work and professionalism.

Review Their Previous Work: Once you find a designer you like, review their previous work. Make sure their style matches what you want for your book. Check if they have experience with your book’s genre.

Contact and Communicate: Reach out to the designer to discuss your project. Could you pay attention to how they communicate? A good designer should be responsive and open to your ideas. Ask about their process, timeline, and pricing to ensure it fits your needs.

Consider Your Budget: Decide how much you are willing to spend on your cover. Designers charge different rates based on their experience and skill level. Make sure you choose someone who fits your budget and delivers quality work.

Request a Contract: Before starting, ensure there is a clear agreement. A contract should outline the scope of work, payment terms, and timeline. This protects both you and the designer.

Practical Application and Advice

Though the temptation to try to create your cover, especially if you’re good-looking, can be strong, it’s a daunting task unless you’re experienced with a graphic design tool and have the eye to know what looks good. It also helps if you have an understanding of the principles of design – this comes mostly from experience.

Often, you’ll be working with a professional designer to keep within the parameters of your brief, so they bring that experience and the nuance that comes with it. If you have confidence in your approach, then fine, give it a go, but more often than not, when it comes to being polished and at a market-ready stage, looking professional and well-designed, it often pays to pay for a professional designer.

Looking For a Professional Book Cover Designer?

Looking for a professional book cover designer? Oyolloo is here to help! We create stunning book covers that attract readers and reflect your story’s essence. Our experienced designers work with you to bring your vision to life.

If you need a cover for fiction, non-fiction, or any genre, we’ve got you covered. We offer high-quality designs at affordable prices. Let us help make your book stand out on the shelves. Get in touch with Oyolloo today and give your book the cover it deserves.

About The Author

Dedicated creator and storyteller with a passion for crafting compelling narratives. A perpetual learner, finding inspiration in every experience. Enthusiast of technology, art, and the great outdoors. Striving to make a positive impact through creativity. Believer in kindness, the power of words, and the magic of a good book.

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