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Where to Find Free Images to Use for Book Covers and Book Promotion

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Posted 25th April 2014 at 02:44 PM by colorado1850

Where to find free images to use for book covers and book promotion

Where do people get those amazing images they use on Google + and blogs and book covers?

Have you ever wondered that? And how much do they cost?

You already know the value a good image gives to your book covers, to your articles, and to your social media posts. People are naturally attracted to pictures.

But do you have to be wealthy or an excellent photographer to use great photos in your work?

The answer is no.

But first, it helps to understand the ways that people get paid for their images and how they are licensed.

Understanding royalties

If you’ve ever spent at least one minute looking around for a photo to use for your book, you’ve encountered the word “royalty”.

Royalties for images work similar to royalties for books. It’s the way image owner gets paid.

Many of the major “stock photo” websites make a big deal about the fact that their images are “royalty free”. All that means is that, for a one-time payment, you can buy the right to use the image in your work.

There are limits (although they are buried in fine print) to how far your rights with the “royalty free” image reach. For example, the image of an apple that I use on one of my book covers can be used on something like 400,000 books sold. After that, I am supposed to come back to upgrade my license for the image. I digress.

But you also have the option to find images that have been licensed for use without paying royalties or fees. You may have to dig further to find the perfect image for your project, but if you’re tight on funds, it is the way to go.

Understanding licensing

Some images are specially licensed under certain sections of the Creative Commons license or they are put in the public domain. And these are the ones you want to look for. These are the images that are free for you to use within the rights granted by the image owner.

But before you go downloading, be sure to understand the types of Creative Commons license. You can read more about the various Creative Commons licenses here:

About The Licenses - Creative Commons

Some CC license types allow you to modify the image (crop the size, change from color to black and white, etc.) while another CC license does not. Most of the time, you have to “attribute” the image to the owner. This is as easy as adding a link under the picture or at the end of your work that tells readers who took the image and links to them.

Now that you understand the licensing a bit better, let’s talk about where to look for free images you can use!

My favorite places to find photos I can use

My favorite place to get images is from Stock Exchange (which is now owned by iStockphoto).

Visit Stock Exchange here: The Leading Source Of Free Stock Photos - freeimages

They have images of all kinds. From photographs to graphics you can use to create fancy buttons or callouts on your website. You can often find an image here to use for book covers as well. And keep in mind, if you find an image you like, get it and then send it to your book cover designer. At the very least, if they can’t use it they will know what you’re looking for.

When I need a really beautiful image for blog posts, I go to Flickr and do an advanced search by images that have a Creative Commons license (not all of the images on Flickr are CC).

Visit Flickr here:

Whether on Flickr or Stock Exchange, be sure to open up the license information for the image and read it. Some photos require a link back to the image owner. Some do not. Some images can be modified, some cannot. And sometimes, the image owner wants to be notified that you are using the image.

It’s a small price to pay for getting the image you want!


You don’t have to spend a penny to find great images to use for your book cover or in your book promotion.

All you have to do is understand the various Creative Commons license types and where to look for images with this license.

Now you can spice up your work with images without spending a fortune!

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