If you’ve decided on hardback binding you’ll need to choose the kind of cover you want. Many people seeking to create heirloom books with limited distributions opt for leather covers – usually calf-skin – with raised bands and gold embossed print. You may choose instead to use a dust jacket to protect your book from the damage done over time by oils from the fingers of readers. Recently publishers have offered a third option with Imagewrap, a plasticized material as the cover itself to provide the protection traditionally offered by a dust jacket. You’ll also want to consider what information you want on the spine of the book. Usually the title and author are shown. The spine is important because it is the only thing visible from a bookshelf.
In designing your cover you will need to consider the photos or other images you want to use on the front or back covers, font type and size for any text, and color schemes. You’ll also want to consider whether to include a brief description of the book and a short author bio which can be placed on the back cover or inside flaps of a book jacket. An imagewrap cover has no inside flaps.
The best way to decide what kind of cover you want is to look at the covers of published books and see which ones you like. You can browse at your local bookstore or look on the internet. Two good sites are the Cover Design Archive and The Book Design Review. If you are working with a book designer ask him to look at books with covers you like so that you can discuss the specific features you want in you book cover.