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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Or do I need to contact the cover designer of the ebook and pay them to make an audiobook version?

I'm not trying to weasel out of anything, I'm genuinely unsure of the legality of it, if only the ebook cover designer can make the audiobook version using their ebook design.
 

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IANAL but as far as I know you're only allowed to use it for things explicitly spelled out in your agreement, but as it falls under the umbrella of "self publishing this title" I would think the designer would have to be a real stickler to hold you to that. A bigger issue is probably the different aspect ratio, as without the source files you might have some trouble filling out the sides. Personally I'd just ask. Back when I did cover design I threw in the audiobook variant for little to nothing and I bet most are the same.
 

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The answer to this depends on a few things. One, do you have the PSD or only the JPG. If you have the PSD, it's *probably* safe to assume the cover designer won't mind what you do with it, because most cover designers won't give up the PSD in the first place. Although, if you have a contract, check that to make sure of what you agreed to. If you have only the JPG, then the answer is probably going to be no, because audiobook covers that are made from squashed ebook covers look like crap.

Gessert Books said:
IANAL but as far as I know you're only allowed to use it for things explicitly spelled out in your agreement, but as it falls under the umbrella of "self publishing this title" I would think the designer would have to be a real stickler to hold you to that.
Actually, as a cover designer, I would hold the client to having me make the cover. Not because I really feel a need to make the audiobook, or want to cause them issues, but because my work is my resume and my reputation, and I don't want people to see my work messed up by someone else and assume that I did it that way.
 

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Most cover designers will do an audio version for $25-50. It's better to have the right format and to keep your relationship with your designer. That being said, as said above, if you have the psd file, then they might not care. I've got one designer I work with who always provides it, though I still have him format for audio.
 

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Not a lawyer. Not legal advice.

What you're asking for is the right to create something called a "derivative work." Preparing derivative works is an exclusive right of the copyright owner. If you acquired title or the copyright in the work when the cover was commissioned, you have the right to do as you please with it. If you did not acquire the copyright, you need permission from the original artist to create a derivative work.

By operation of federal law, a copyright or an exclusive right in a work may only be transferred by written instrument, so you need a contract:

https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/17/204
 

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According to the FAQ of a popular cover designer, the author owns the sole rights to the design they produce for them. Sounds to me this includes copyright or am I wrong? This was in answer to a question whether the author owns the sole right to the picture used in the design (which is usually a stock photo).
 

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juliatheswede said:
According to the FAQ of a popular cover designer, the author owns the sole rights to the design they produce for them. Sounds to me this includes copyright or am I wrong? This was in answer to a question whether the author owns the sole right to the picture used in the design (which is usually a stock photo).
If the cover uses stock, the author can own exclusive use to the cover created, but not to the stock image used to create the cover. But that doesn't mean they own the copyright to the cover, it just means that the designer isn't going to sell that cover to anyone else.

As Shane said, copyright transfer must be conveyed in a contract.

Also, even if that FAQ was meant to convey copyright transfer, that's only one designer. That one designer doesn't speak for the rest of us.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Thanks for all the answers you guys! I'm going to reach out to my cover designer. Their site doesn't include anything on audiobook pricing or audiobooks in general, but I'm sure they have a pricing model for it and have done it.
 

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Mossy said:
Thanks for all the answers you guys! I'm going to reach out to my cover designer. Their site doesn't include anything on audiobook pricing or audiobooks in general, but I'm sure they have a pricing model for it and have done it.
If they haven't, audiobook covers are always square, and 2400x2400px is a good size.
 
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