For many of us, the rise in popularity (and availability) of e-books has been a very positive development. Now you can store an entire library of books in paperback-sized packaging, which is especially convenient for vacation and other travel. You no longer have to decide which books to take with you. Just grab your Nook or Kindle and take them all!
One thing that was personally disappointing about e-books, however, is that many of them don’t have a cover. If you go to a bookstore and buy Enchantment by Orson Scott Card, you will see this cover.
On the other hand, if you buy the Enchantment eBook, you will receive it instead.
Not much comparison. And for those of us who are used to looking at covers, a bit of a disappointment. And, unlike many music album covers that can be found easily at places like the Album Art Exchange, there is no publicly available book cover archive. You can find websites dedicated to a specific author or a specific artist, but nothing that comes close to reaching “all” books. While some of the publishers’ websites have high resolution images, many do not.
Luckily, just as you can download high-quality album covers from the Google Play Music Store (formerly the Android Market Store), you can use the Google Play Bookstore to get high-resolution artwork perfect for inserting into your ebook. And while you won’t find all the book covers, you will find a large number of them. This is how it works.
Download HD book cover art
We’ll use Enchantment as an example, but you can of course use any book you like.
First go to the Google Play bookstore.
Then find the book you want to find the cover for; as mentioned, we will be using Orson Scott Card’s Enchantment as we know there are high resolution images present, but feel free to search for any book you want. You should now be shown a results page.
Go ahead and click on the correct result, which will take you to that product page.
Now right-click on the small thumbnail of the cover and select the Image Preview option. In Chrome, right-click the image and choose Open Image in New Tab.
You should now see a thumbnail image (in newer versions of Firefox, it will appear on a black background, as you can see below).
While this is clearly too small to be useful, the URL of this does give us an easy way to access high-res artwork if available. Go to the URL bar and highlight the URL, then go to the very end of the URL. You should see something like https://books.google.com/books/content/images/frontcover/-rUACwAAQBAJ?fife=w200-h300 as shown above.
To get a high resolution image, we just need to change the width and height to something else. In this case, w = 800 and h = 900 will give us a much better image. Unfortunately, it is impossible to know how high you can climb. Just keep trying larger values ??until you get the size you want.
Once you’ve done that, hit Enter to load the new URL. If there is a high resolution artwork, you should see it.
Now you just need to download the art and then use your favorite program (like Sigil or Caliber) to insert it into your favorite e-book. Enjoy!