Matte vs Glossy CreateSpace Covers

What kind of CreateSpace cover does your paperback need? There are pros and cons to each. Matte is often preferred for novels, gloss often preferred for non-fiction. This video and photos below speak volumes.

Matte vs Glossy The Little UniverseThe matte cover is on the left. The text is a bit easier to read and overall aesthetics may be better. But the glossy cover has richer tones, most noticeable in darker colors.

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Matte vs Glossy The Little Universe 2In the 2nd photo, the sheen is more obvious as seen at an angle with light in the background. Small scratches and fingerprints come out from the thicker layer of gloss in the laminate. However, the cover curl is already worse with the matte book, which is a concern because it’s 2 months newer than the book on the right.

Matte vs Glossy The Little Universe 3Again, you can see from the back cover (on left) how different the richness of the colors comes across. It’s surprising how much more prominent the darker areas show. This may be a deciding factor if your cover has rich or dark colors compared to one that has mostly lighter colors.

Matte vs Glossy The Little Universe 4At an angle, the scratches and fingerprints are less desirable. But the durability over time and the ability to wipe it clean with a wet cloth might make up for that.

In the end, it boils down to personal preference. For now, CreateSpace recommends matte for novels and glossy for non-fiction, so that’s my plan. Hopefully soon, they’ll let the buyer select the choice instead of leaving that with the author.

Do you have a clear preference? Let me know in the comments.

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23 Responses to “Matte vs Glossy CreateSpace Covers”

  1. Charli Webb Says:

    Hi Jason,

    Thanks for this post. The photos really help! I just ordered a bunch of paperbacks to take to a book conference in Savannah. I wish I’d known about the curling problem before I ordered them with matte covers. The last time I went to a book con in the south, I had two sets of bookmarks. One set had a glossy finish on both sides, the other only on the front. The front only set curled within hours of arrival. I failed to make the obvious connection between the two products. Ah well, live and learn.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      Yes, that is often how we do it: live and learn. Since I’ve been asking some friends and family who are avid readers, the responses have been mixed. Perhaps it’s best to have both versions at a place like a book conference, even if it’s merely a conversation starter 🙂

  2. Tracie Puckett Says:

    Great post, Jason! I’ve been curious about the differences between these two options lately (especially with a release happening in a few short months). I’ll probably try both just to get a feel for each one. I’ll have to remember to check in again after I have a copy of each to let you know if I have a clear preference.

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      That sounds like a smart plan, Tracie. I currently have a few copies of each version and will be speaking in San Rafael this weekend at a publishing conference. I’ll let you know how the sales go and if the readers seem to lean one way or anther.

  3. R.M. Prioleau (@RMPrioleau) Says:

    I love your covers, Jason! The matte cover looks amazing. I am so glad CreateSpace has offered matte covers! I’m going to use matte for my next book.

  4. alanaewoods Says:

    I haven’t seen any CreateSpace editions to make a comparison but my preference has always been for gloss. There are some matte covers I’ve really liked and I think you’ve clarified why for me in your article–the deeper colours look better glossed. Thanks for the information.

  5. Sharon Lippincott Says:

    Thanks for this comparison. Your photos make everything clear. I had not noticed the curling — perhaps because my house is very dry this time of year. But you didn’t mention a couple of other things I noticed. I ordered a proof copy of my new book, Adventures of a Chilehead, in matte. The matte was a little spotty in places with small glossy areas (like paint that didn’t quite cover), and it feels slightly gummy to me. It collects finger goo faster than a touch screen, leaving dark, blotchy places. Fingerprints are a problem on gloss too, but you can wipe the off on gloss. Matte absorbs them. There’s no question I’m sticking with gloss!

  6. Becca Chopra Says:

    My books were published when CreateSpace did not offer matte covers yet. I would definitely go with this as their glossy covers are not true gloss like you get from traditional publishers. It’s more like plastic wrap on the cover that can actually peel off in time. If they’ve upgraded this quality, I’m not aware of it. But thanks for letting me know about the matte option – I’ll use that for my upcoming book The Chakra Diet.
    Becca Chopra, author of The Chakra Diaries and Chakra Secrets (published by CreateSpace)

  7. Marj Says:

    That was very interesting and I wish I’d seen it before switching my bigger books to a matte finish. It was because the gloss covers have a tendency to curl sometimes, and with a big book and some handling, the gloss starts to come off at the corners. But it’s a concern for me that the darks with the new matte finish are not as dark. I like my colours rich, and the contrast as I choose, not lessened.
    Thank you for this,

  8. Lisa Grace Says:

    Just shared on Google+ Thanks for sharing. I like glossy, but I’m part squirrel.

  9. The Writer Says:

    Personally I don’t think the glossy cover suits fiction. It just doesn’t look as professional. I have just changed my book, Empress Fallen, to a matte cover, do you know how long it takes for the change to come into effect? If I order it now will it come with a matte cover?
    Thanks 🙂

    • Jason Matthews Says:

      I’m also choosing Matte covers for my fiction but sticking with Glossy for the non-fiction. As per timing–it should be immediate as soon as your publisher (CreateSpace?) says it is Available to Order Copies in your dashboard. When you click on the project’s title and then under the Distribute tab where it says Cover Finish, you should see Matte already selected if the change has been made.

  10. Jennifer Lee Schwartz Says:

    I was just about to choose matte for my new book but I’m doing glossy after seeing these pictures! Thanks so much.

  11. This is what a Create Space paperback looks like | Says:

    […] This is only one variation of the finishes you can have – glossy cover (you can choose matte) with cream pages (you can choose white). I don’t have another version to compare, but I’ve found another blog which compares glossy and matte covers. […]

  12. JaJaJa Books (@JaJaJaBooks) Says:

    I am just about to publish and I am in such a quandary. It is a children’s book so I know glossy is the obvious option for sticky hands, but the book is called ‘Ranvir Cannot Hear’, is set in India with this beautiful hazy front cover illustration and lends itself to the matte ahhhhhh!! Thank you though, this info is invaluable. Genevieve

  13. marymichaelschmidt Says:

    This is so true and my covers are glossy for sure, always. Your images are nice to review.

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