picture is worth a thousand words." That saying may be
ages old, but its message is just as vital today as when it
was first uttered. Simply put, a single image can often communicate
what might take you one thousand words (more or less) to say
You have already spent the time putting together an ebook or
software package that you want to market on the internet. You
have chosen the right words for your title and any other text
you might use on the book cover. Now you have to carefully design
your cover to best represent your book or software. You have
to find the right graphic(s) that will support the title and
enhance the perceived value of your ebook. Where do you find
Well, you have come to the right place. Read on and you will
find a list of resources that will get you well on your way
to finding whatever you need. We will be focusing here on two
common forms of graphics: stock photos and clip art.
A few notes before we get to our list. We have broken up our
list into the two main categories: photos and then clip art.
In the photo category, we have further broken the lists down
into free image sites and fee-based image sites. While we have
added a thought or two about each site to give you a little
better idea what you will find there, it is up to you to explore
each one. It can be a lot of fun, but the bottom line is that
you alone know what kind of image you are looking for. Keep
in mind that some of the sites have more than one type of image.
Some have, for example, both photos and clip art. So, even though
we may list a site in the photos section (or clip art), look
around to see if they provide other types as well. Also, some
of the sites may require that you sign up for a free membership.
Finally, it is very important that you carefully read
sites may only allow use of their images for personal use, while
others also allow commercial/corporate use (which is what you
will want for your ebook that you are selling). Still other
sites let each contributor of the images determine what kinds
of usage will be allowed. When paying a fee for an image, the
fee usually grants you permission to use the image freely in
1. Stock Xchng - http://www.sxc.hu - A great site! They have a
of images and a good search engine. Their
images range widely in both size and quality. Here, the contributor
of the image determines the usage allowed. This site is well
worth checking out.
2. Morgue File - http://www.morguefile.com - They have quite a few photos here. They are broken down into
categories, but there is no search engine. The photos are generally
of good quality (large size and fairly high resolution), but
the range of subject matter is rather limited. Worth at least
checking the list of categories to see if they might have something
in the range you are looking for.
3. VisiPix - http://www.visipix.com/index.htm - They have a moderate size collection of photos. While they
are not divided into categories, they do have a search engine.
4. FreeImages - http://www.freeimages/photos - A relatively small collection of photos, in a fairly small
range of categories. No Search engine, just a list of categories
and some with one or two sub-categories.
5. The Free Site - http://thefreesite.com/Free_Graphics/Free_photos/index.html - This site does not have any images of its own. Rather, it
provides you with a list of sites (and a brief description) which have free graphics
- from photos to clip art to web graphics, etc.
6. Pixel Perfect Digital - http://www.pixelperfectdigital.com/index.php - They have over 4,000 images but only about 2,000 are photos.
The site is a little hard to navigate, but if you cannot find
what you want elsewhere, then it just may be worth your time
to see what this site offers.
7. Pics 4 Learning - http://www.pics4learning.com - A very small collection (maybe 200) of photos, separated into
8. Open Photo - http://openphoto.net - A pretty good collection of photos, broken down into a good
selection of categories and sub-categories.
9. Image After - http://www.imageafter.com/terms.php - This site boasts over 19,000 images, from photos to textures,
etc. We have not tried their search engine, but they do have
10. Free Foto.com - http://www.freefoto.com/index.jsp - A pretty narrow range of categories, but a good collection
of photos nonetheless. They do have a search engine.
11. Gimp Savvy - Photo Archive - http://gimp-savvy.com/PHOTO-ARCHIVE - These are photos provided by NASA and the NOAA, among others.
These are mainly photos taken from outer space, or weather related.
12. Arty art - http://www.arty.dk/photo.html - A very tiny collection of photos, but what the heck, you never
know - you may just find the perfect image here.
13. iStock Photo - http://www.istockphoto.com - A great site with a large collection and a good search engine.
They require you sign up for a free membership. They have online
and e-mail support available. Here’s the best part, for a fee-based
site, they are really inexpensive. The photos all run from $1
to $3. That’s it; no more and no less.
14. Photos.Com - http://www.photos.com/en/index - This is a subscription site. It is well-known and has a good
collection of quality images. You purchase a subscription for
one month or 3, 6 or 12 months. During the term of your subscription,
you can download an unlimited number of images. Has a good search engine, and support is available.
15. Hemera Images - http://hemera.com/index.jsp - This site offers a variety of ways to secure images - on CD/DVD,
individual download, or by subscription. They also have a wide
variety of image types - from photos to clip art, to illustrations,
to their famous photo-objects, etc. Well worth checking out
if you have the budget. These images can get rather pricey,
but you are guaranteed they will be high-quality images.
16. FoodPix - http://www.picturearts.com/collections/foodpix.aspx - Guess what they specialize in? That’s right, photos of food.
These are stock photos and you pay for each one.
17. PictureQuest - http://www.picturequest.com - This site, and the next 3 after this one, are all high-end
stock photo houses. This site actually serves as a clearing
house for several stock agencies, which can save you some searching.
The photos you get here will run you top dollar consistently
(minimum several hundred dollars). High quality
+ high price.
18. Creatas - http://www.creatas.com/Default.aspx? - Stock photo agency. High quality + high
price. One nice thing is that, like all high-end agencies,
they have a staff of people who will do a photo search for you,
19. Veer - http://www.veer.com - High-end stock agency.
20. Corbis - http://pro.corbis.com/sectionfront/RoyaltyFree.aspx - This is the grandfather of all the stock photo agencies. Vast
collection and high prices.
First of all, what is clip art? There are many differing opinions
out there. Some call it "ready-made art" because sometimes
clip art can include photos or pictures, or complete illustrations.
But, for the sake of this article, we are defining clip art
to mean: All ready-made pieces of digital art, such as illustrations,
borders, and line drawings that are used as graphic elements
in a document. They can be either raster images (jpeg, gif,
tiff, bmp) or vector images (eps, wmf,
ai). They can be black and white, or color.
Regardless of what you call it, clip art should be used sparingly
in quality ebook covers or software boxes. The fact is, clip art can range in quality from rough drawings, to refined
images. But, clip art is never mistaken for high quality paintings
or photos. It is not intended to be the only or the primary
image in a larger work (like an ebook cover). Perhaps the best
rule of thumb is: If you are not sure if you should use a piece
of clip art in your document (cover, box art) don’t use it.
If you are not careful, the wrong choice of clip art can have
the opposite affect. It can imply a lack of quality, not greater
The above statements notwithstanding, clip art can, if used
properly, be an effective element in a quality cover. For this
reason, we are going to list just a few sources for clip art.
There are literally hundreds of places where you can find clip
art of all types and quality throughout the internet. Just be
sure that you are allowed to use any clip art you find, and
that it is of high quality.
Remember, many of the sites listed above in the Stock Photo
section, also have clip art and other illustrations. Also, you
can purchase large collections of clip art on CD sets in computer
stores, or on the internet.
1. Clipart.Com - http://www.clipart.com - This may well be the
biggest and/or oldest site on the internet where you can acquire
clip art. Like its sister site, Photos.Com, it is a subscription
site. You can subscribe for a reasonable fee, for one week,
3 months, 6 months or a year. During the term of your subscription,
you can download all of the clip art you want; no limits. Their
images are mostly good quality and their collection is huge.
They have a pretty good search engine which helps. You can also
generally choose which of two or more file formats you want
to download for each image.
2. Clip Art - http://www.clip-art.ru/indexx.html - The site is in Russian, but the index of categories is in
English. These are vector images (wmf).
3. Retrographix - http://www.retrographix.com - Like the name says, this site has
"retro" style images.
4. Free Clip Art Pictures - http://www.freeclipartpictures.com/index3.html - Most of the clip art here are images extracted from photos.
5. Free Clip Art - http://www.free-clipart.ws/index.html - This site is an index of other sites that offer free clip
art. It gives a brief description for each of its listings as
to what kinds of clip art you will find at each.
6. Military Clip Art Library - http://sill-www.army.mil/Graphics/clipart_library.htm - Just like the name says.
7. Arthur’s Clip Art - http://www.arthursclipart.com - These appear to be mostly Gif images.
Without a doubt, there are many more sites out there where
you can get photos and other images you can use. The above are
only the ones we are aware of and have used ourselves. Just
be sure to check the terms for using any image, from any site.
Make sure it is okay to use in a commercial situation, and check
to see if you have to pay for that use, or if there are other
requirements like giving the author/photographer credit for
the image in your printed work where you have used the picture.
luck in your search for the right images. Finding the right
picture will make all your efforts worthwhile. It will improve
your chances of selling your ebook or software. If you find
yourself a little lost trying to find the right images and layout
of your cover, then perhaps you should consider hiring an experienced
graphic designer to produce the cover for you.
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