Do you know anyone who self-published a book? I can’t remember a time when there weren’t more self-published books on Amazon than traditionally published books. If you have plans to publish a book of your own, especially your first, then you might be looking for ways to create the cover and interior design yourself.
While you are a book lover, you may not be used to creating or packaging your own ebooks. If this is the case, your best option is simply to use book design software. Book design software allows you to make your manuscript in the proper formats and produce print-ready files that can be easily uploaded to the most popular retail sites. Here are some of the top free book design software:
Another book design software for creating flip books is FlipHTML5 which has many book templates to choose from. The application contains online editing tools which enable users to add videos, text, links, audio, hot spots, and different elements. It also facilitates an online hosting service that allows you to host and share your books for free.
- Multimedia elements can be added.
- Free hosting service
- Supports multiple devices and platforms.
Moving forward, we have Shutterstock Editor which assists the users to assemble the book and its cover design. There are many templates to choose from and are quite easy to use. This application is hosted by Shutterstock which is a popular Stock Photos library. Although it does not contain a lot of exclusive features, it is ideal to design covers for your EBook.
- Simple to use
- Online access
- Adaptive workflow
Lulu is book design software that suits mostly independent authors as it allows them to put their book out for sale with very little investment. The text style and layout can be altered as per the user’s discretion. It allows users to publish the eBook or print it for distributional purposes.
- Easy to use and simple interface.
- A lot of customization factors to choose from.
- Many predefined themes exist within the app.
Coming towards the end of the list, we have a free book design software which is Adobe Spark. This software has many templates that can be customized as per the user’s discretion. It also possesses an incredible collection of fonts as well as images, colors, layouts, and many tools to adjust your book design.
- Amazing typography designs
- Offers tutorials for beginners.
- Multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Online web apps.
The final one on the list of best book design software is Scribus which is an open-source code application for Linux users. The application was developed a decade ago and helps users to assemble magazines, books, posters, etc. This application delivers professional results like that of paid software. It also has certain features that support working with scripts and setting other customizations if needed.
- Advanced color management
- Print documents or create PDFs
- Consumes less storage space.
Adobe InDesign (Paid)
The undisputed titan of publishing design, InDesign is one of Adobe’s flagship products alongside other Creative Suite products, Photoshop and Illustrator.
Professional designers love InDesign for its versatility—you can produce a huge range of media for print, web, and mobile apps—as well as its advanced interface and tools.
InDesign allows you to create both cover designs and the inside pages of a book, while offering precise control over page-sizing, typography, and exporting artwork for print and EPUB.
Integration with other Adobe apps, including Creative Suite plus added extras like Adobe Stock, Adobe Color, and Typekit, allow designers to access a broad range of material to use in their artwork.
Ultra-professional interface and tools, with the seal of approval from most professional cover designers. Plus it offers integrated support from other Adobe applications.
The subscription model is expensive for independents and small businesses, at $20.99 per month for the single InDesign app.
This is best for immediate-to-seasoned designers who want to create pro-standard covers for print books and eBooks.
Check out these InDesign book cover tutorials:
Affinity Publisher (Paid)
InDesign has had the lion’s share in the publishing software market for some time, but a string of recent rivals that compete on both functionality and value have threatened to diversify the market.
Affinity Publisher is the best competitive alternative to InDesign, and mimics much of the functionality, interface, and tools of its older rival.
Released in June 2019, AP is a young upstart in the publishing market. But, with more pro designers choosing it over InDesign, it looks set to be a healthy competitor if not a future market leader.
Featuring many of the same essentials as InDesign, including master pages, facing page spreads, advanced typography, and full professional print output, creating a professional book cover in Publisher is arguably more intuitive than in InDesign. The slightly simpler interface will delight users who find InDesign a little intimidating.
A genuinely excellent alternative to InDesign, and cheaper too, yours for a one-time fee of $24.99.
Creatives more familiar with InDesign might find Publisher’s interface a little clunkier, but for the budding cover designer, it’s a decent place to start in the paid-for market.
Best for Immediate designers tackling eBook and print cover design projects.
This is the original WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) publishing program. Quark XPress has a loyal following among print designers who appreciate its solid dependability and no subscription-required fee. If a designer started out before Adobe InDesign was first released in the late 1990s, they may well prefer QuarkXpress.
QuarkXPress occupies a smaller niche in the book design market, but it’s still a solid software choice for designing both interior layouts and covers. With recent updates, this program offers much more functionality for designing eBooks, eMagazines, and content for the web.
QuarkXPress 2019 now offers functionality for exporting to both digital EPUB and print formats, so it’s a pro-standard alternative to Adobe’s subscription model. As a direct ancestor of InDesign, QuarkXPress users who have prior experience with InDesign will have a seamless transition.
QuarkXPress can feel a little on the pricey side. Entry-level fees start at $395 for a lifetime license to the software, along with technical support and quarterly feature releases for a year. It’s an investment for sure.
Good for experienced cover designers who want to find a better value but still a pro-standard alternative to InDesign.
Blurb BookWright (FREE)
Blurb BookWright’s easy-to-use features allow anyone to publish custom photo books, magazines, and novels in either print or ebook format. This program includes ISBN numbers for free, as a nice bonus.
BookWright enables authors to design and publish print and ebooks from the same file, at the same time, all in one place. It’s actually the only free software tool that allows this, giving users both value and design flexibility.
Blurb also provides plugins for Adobe InDesign, Adobe Lightroom, and apps for iPhone and iPad, allowing you to access and edit blank book cover templates across a range of programs and devices.
Blurb BookWright and Blurb’s Adobe plugins are not only free and intuitive to use but also link fluidly across to Amazon distribution. Within the space of a few hours, you can create print books or eBooks and start selling them on Amazon.
Blurb has thought of everything that a budding self-published author would ever want or need. Bookwright is an excellent app for first-time cover designers, while the InDesign plugin allows more experienced cover designers to integrate their designs seamlessly with the book production and sale process.
Best for: authors who want to easily create professional book covers for EPUB and print, and start selling the results on Amazon straight away.
Having reached halfway through the list of best book design software, we have Blurb BookWright which can create EBooks for free. It contains a text formatting tool and allows users to edit templates as well. Users can create a printed as well as an electronic version from one file. It is one of the best applications for beginners and supports plug-ins as well.
- Provides Unique ISBNs for every book
- The alignment process is simple
- Advanced color management
While there are plenty of reasons why you may choose this option, it is important that you do some research and understand exactly what you can get with each different program before making a decision.