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The concept of having some kind of visual cue for a short work is an interesting concept, but there's really no established convention for that kind of thing. Perhaps some authors do this, but most don't. Nor is it consistent with most markets' guidelines on what a cover should look like. And if this was a convention, you'd run into the problem of different authors considering different lengths "long" or "short".

To me it seems like the cover should be square only if the print format is itself intended to be square. Prime examples would be comic collections and kids' books. Squares abound there.
 

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To me, square book covers go on either kids' books or audio books. If it's on some other kind of ebook, I'd probably assume that the author didn't know what they were doing.
 

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Absolutely nothing will prevent (a slim percent of) people from posting 1-stars because they feel violated, especially if they download the file for free.
 

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I was going to post a thread about whether anyone has ever try using something other than the trad book cover for their ebook cover. What we are selling is a digital file why does it have to reflect the 5x8 typical trade paperback cover? Why not a square, a triangle, a circle, or a icon of a T-Rex. There are publishers and authors who put out publications that are sold in boxes, scrolls, discs and now us in binary code. So why a traditional shape? As long as the image is artful, sells the concept, and is professional, will it matter so much as to negatively affect sales?
 

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bmcox said:
I was going to post a thread about whether anyone has ever try using something other than the trad book cover for their ebook cover. What we are selling is a digital file why does it have to reflect the 5x8 typical trade paperback cover? Why not a square, a triangle, a circle, or a icon of a T-Rex. There are publishers and authors who put out publications that are sold in boxes, scrolls, discs and now us in binary code. So why a traditional shape? As long as the image is artful, sells the concept, and is professional, will it matter so much as to negatively affect sales?
I'm guessing it has something to do with the fact that the screens of Kindles, iThings, and Android devices have screens in basically the same ratio as paper books have.
 

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bmcox said:
I was going to post a thread about whether anyone has ever try using something other than the trad book cover for their ebook cover. What we are selling is a digital file why does it have to reflect the 5x8 typical trade paperback cover? Why not a square, a triangle, a circle, or a icon of a T-Rex. There are publishers and authors who put out publications that are sold in boxes, scrolls, discs and now us in binary code. So why a traditional shape? As long as the image is artful, sells the concept, and is professional, will it matter so much as to negatively affect sales?
I was thinking about this myself the other day. I still can't come up with an answer, only that looking at a cover that isn't the standard shape to what I'm used to (square for audiobook/kids, rectangle for standard novel) deters me. It's a real pet peeve. I think it's just that feeling of recognition, since books for hundreds of years have been the same shape. It's instantly recognizable, so when I'm thrown off because it's a different shape (even if it is just a bit wider) my brain's normal process of "oh is this a good story?" is interrupted, sort of short circuited, by the fact I'm looking at a different sized book cover. It's just discomfort of the unknown, really.
 

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I realized that I wasn't being consistent in size when designing covers for my short stories. When I went back to correct it (to make them all the same size for consistency) I found that Amazon said "For best quality, your image would be 1563 pixels on the shortest side and 2500 pixels on the longest side, " so I just went with that.
 

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I'm pretty sure that the reason you see so many square covers on short stories is that the people who are uploading them aren't really sure what they're doing yet. This is obviously not a diss on short story writers (most of my own stories are shorts), but if you're a newbie tossing up something on Kindle to see how it all works, you're most likely to start with a short. Really rank newbies used to upload a lot of weirdly shaped covers, or even just pictures without words, as their covers. I think Amazon is clearer about cover guidelines now, so I would guess there will be fewer square covers as time goes by.

In any event, I don't think most authors are deliberately using square covers to denote short stories.

What we are selling is a digital file why does it have to reflect the 5x8 typical trade paperback cover?
The size Amazon asks for fits neatly on my iPhone and my Kindle, and fills all the available space on the screen. A square would have letter boxing around it.
 
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