Tip for: 11.07.16

Even if we like to think otherwise, covers are an important way to quickly judge the genre and topic of any book. You can make your collection more visual by filling in the cover art for your titles. But how do you get the cover art? There are several ways.

  1. Alexandria automatically searches for cover art for your titles with ISBNs, so you will find much of this work done for you. It will miss things, however, so you need a backup plan.
  2. The SneakPeek add-on fetches covers, summaries, and more. Contact Sales (sales@goalexandria.com) for more information.
  3. You can find covers on Google, Amazon, LibraryThing, etc.*
  4. Tap into your budding photographer and take the pictures yourself!


For #4, all you need is your phone or a digital camera. Then transfer the photo to your computer, and drag and drop it into Item Management. If you take the photo on an iPad, you can open Items from there and add the picture straightaway!

Actions MenuiPad Menu

If you are taking the photo on your mobile device, here are some simple tips to get a good picture of that cover art.

  1. Lay the book on a flat surface, like a desk, or up against a white wall.
  2. Try to pick a place with natural lighting. Flash (and sunlight) will reflect off the book cover. Try to reduce shadows on the cover as much as possible.
  3. Use a microfiber cloth to gently wipe off the lens. (You can also use the cloth to clean fingerprints off the book cover.)
  4. Line up the side and top (or bottom) edges of the book with the edges of the picture area. Don’t zoom! Digital zoom will only lower the quality of the picture—and you can crop out that extra stuff later.
  5. On a smartphone/tablet, tap the book cover on the screen to focus the lens.
  6. Once you take your picture, you can crop it on your phone (in your Photos app, Edit the photo) or on your computer (using Preview or Microsoft Paint).


Drop the picture in Item Management, and tada! your book has cover art.


[*]“Do I have to get permission? Is it ok for me to use cover art in my library?” This is not legal advice but… most people and experts say Yes, it’s ok. For one, you are not claiming that you created the art. Two, covers help sell books, so generally publishers (and authors) want you to use the cover art. 
Read more opinions here https://librarianwhodoesntsayshhh.com/2014/05/26/book-cover-images-copyright/ 
Here http://blog.librarylaw.com/librarylaw/2008/08/book-jackets--.html 
And here https://www.quora.com/How-can-Amazon-show-images-of-book-and-music-album-covers-on-its-site-without-violating-copyright-law 
Still have questions? Don't forget you can ask the Alex-Net community of Alexandria librarians!

Want more tips? 

Sign up for the emails!

Write a comment…