I have held off from signing up with Amazon’s CreateSpace print-on-demand division because I did not know whether I could use my ebook covers in a paper book. It seems I am not the only one who wondered.

I read in one of the legal-speak license agreements on a stock photo site (Yes, I actually did try to wade through them) that the difference was whether the item was “tangible.” Tangible means to touch, right? Since you can’t touch an ebook, it’s okay, but since a paper book can be touched, the license is no good?

No exactly, I found out. What causes the confusion is that the stock photo licenses are for things with no “intrinsic” value. What is “intrinsic value”? That means that the image is what gives value to the item sold.

One of the ebook cover sites where I bought a couple of my covers is filled with helpful information and she actually answered this very question. My favorite answer came from Bigstock. To quote: “When an image is used on a book cover, the cover can be removed and there is still a book under it to sell. With a shirt design, the image is typically the main reason the shirt will be appealing, so the Extended License is required.”

In other words, the cover picture does not give ‘intrinsic value’ to the book, the words inside do. The appearance may draw the eye, but if the book is lousy, no beautiful cover can compensate for bad prose, poor plotting, or stilted dialogue.

So, should I decide to jump into the paper side of Amazon, I’m good to go!

(original blog date 11/13/2013)

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