Making an eBook Cover with Canva

Can You Make a Good eBook Cover with Canva for Free?

Last Updated on by Michael Brockbank

Part of putting out a good book is to have a cover that attracts the reader. However, hiring a graphic designer could set you back quite a bit. Is it possible to create a good eBook cover using the free version of Canva?

I know we’re all taught that you can’t judge a book by its cover. But in today’s world, that’s exactly what happens a large portion of the time.

Perhaps the biggest thing to remember is that “beauty is in the eye of the beholder.” A cover that you might think is amazing might be one that is simply horrible to your potential audience.

With that being said, there is certainly a lot of potential for tools like Canva to help you create a good eBook cover.

Creating an eBook Cover in the Free Version of Canva

There is no doubt that Canva is one of the most versatile and easy-to-use image apps on the Internet. It has templates for a wide assortment of needs from social media posts to YouTube thumbnails.

So, what can you expect while using the free version of Canva?

A Lot of Functionality in the Free Version

Part of what makes Canva such a great tool is the functionality of the app. Even in the free version, you’re capable of creating some amazing images for a myriad of reasons.

Everything from backgrounds to typography can be easily modified to fit your needs. Not to mention that it’s incredibly easy to use Canva in general.

In fact, I’ve used Canva to create everything from book covers to YouTube thumbnails and Twitch panels.

Templates to Start You Off

eBook Cover Templates

Something that stands out to many is how you can use Canva for eBook covers based on available templates. These can give you ideas about what you can create while being completely editable.

I use the templates quite often, especially for YouTube videos. It’s easy to take one of these templates and simply change things around to fit your aesthetic needs.

Needless to say, you have a lot of options when it comes to setting up your book cover.

Save the eBook Cover as Several File Types and Sizes in Canva

While the templates are a set size, usually for Wattpad, you can customize the dimensions to fit distributors such as KDP and Barnes & Noble. You can also save the covers in a few different file types.

The free version of Canva lets you save eBook cover files as:

  • PNG
  • JPG
  • PDF
  • PDF high-quality prints

You can also save as MP4 and GIF formats should you choose to animate something. While this probably isn’t helpful when self-publishing to KDP or other online bookstores, it may be useful for social media marketing purposes.

That’s because you’re able to share your creations on various sites such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Tumblr.

Great Potential for a Beautiful eBook Cover

Thanks to the templates available in Canva and the ability to adjust nearly every element for the image, you can easily come up with an attractive layout for your book cover.

There have been times when I created a book cover as an example that I truly thought about keeping for a future book. In fact, I still might do that.

While you get far more options in the paid version, using Canva for free can still help you create something amazing.

More Difficult to Create a Unique Book Cover

Overall, unique images tend to perform better in most instances. This includes everything from blogging to making YouTube videos. Book covers are no different.

One of the biggest drawbacks to using stock image sites like Canva is the fact that everyone else is using them as well.

Now, there are a few tricks you can use to make your stock background look unique for an eBook. You just need to keep in mind that if you’re using the free version of Canva for an eBook cover, thousands of other people are looking at those images as well.

Perhaps the most efficient method for eBook cover design in Canva is to upload a unique photo or background and then add your text or other extras.

Takes a Bit of Effort to Sift Through “Free” Images

Free vs Premium Image Search

Unfortunately, Canva doesn’t have a filter to separate free from premium images. This means you can spend a great deal of time scrolling through hundreds of photos and backgrounds to find the best one for your cover.

However, this does give you the chance to see what premium visuals are available.

Still, if you’re creating your book cover from scratch, it could take you a great deal of time to find that perfect image.

Using Your Own Photo or Background

If you want to keep the book cover unique, you can always upload your own images to Canva. It’s as easy as uploading a file, adding the text, and making final adjustments.

This is perhaps the best way to go about creating a cover for your book, to be honest. This way, you can guarantee the cover is unique and easily identifiable from similar titles.

All you’ll need is a good idea of what you want the cover to look like. Well, and a unique photo or image.

How I Made the Cover for A Freelancer’s Tale


When I published A Freelancer’s Tale, we drove up to Lookout Mountain to get a good picture of the landscape. Using Sam’s Galaxy S22 smartphone, we took several pics and I used the best one for the main cover.

Then, I uploaded it into Canva to make adjustments to the text, color saturation, and a few others.

The end result is the image you see for the eBook on Amazon. Unfortunately, I had to use the Kindle Cover Editor for the printed version, so, it looks slightly different than the digital.

Long story.

Overall, though, I don’t think it came out all that bad. I’m pretty happy with both versions and feel the cover does the book justice.

This is an example of creating an eBook cover while using the free version of Canva. I could have done all of the work in Photoshop, as I pay Adobe for the service every month.

However, I wanted to see if it was possible to write, edit, and publish a book without spending a single dime. It was a bit of a pain, but I was able to get the book finished for free.

Is Canva Good for Creating an eBook Cover?

As Canva is an incredibly easy tool to use and full of functionality, it’s amazingly simple to create a decent cover for your eBook. In less than a day, you can learn how to use the tool and whip up something alluring for your readers.

The only real downside I see to using Canva is the stock imagery. As I said, unique photos and images tend to perform better on a variety of platforms. And you don’t want your cover looking like someone else’s.

Nonetheless, there are a number of ways you can alter a stock photo to give it a bit of a unique appearance. Especially if you use PNG files to add more elements to the cover without it looking tacky.

If not for the fact that I pay for Photoshop because of my full-time job, I would use Canva almost exclusively. Seriously, there’s a reason why I use it for the YouTube channel every week in some fashion.

What Kind of Book Cover Will You Create?

Sure, paying someone else to create the cover for you saves time. But it’ll also cost you quite a bit. If you have the slightest inkling of what you want your cover to look like, you might as well give Canva a shot.

It’s free to use, and you don’t even need to sign up with an account to use it. I have a free account so Canva saves some of my past creations. But it’s not necessary to test the waters.

How interested are you in creating your own cover, and what kind of tools do you consider using?

Michael Brockbank
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