Wednesday, August 28, 2013

No cover when uploading to Google Play Books

If you upload a book to Google Play Books in EPUB format and one of these things happens:

  • The cover isn't showing up
  • The cover looks like the above image
  • The book doesn't open/gives you a 404 error
Here are some things to try:

  1. First of all, wait! Google has to extract the cover from the file, and for some reason it can take a long time for it to show up. I would recommend waiting at least an hour, if not longer. Yes, this might seem like way too long, but I've seen it take that long.

  2. If you're absolutely sure it isn't working, you can try to fix the cover using Calibre:
    1. Download Calibre, install it, and use it to open the EPUB file
    2. If the cover doesn't show up in Calibre:
      1. Right-click → Edit metadataEdit metadata individually
      2. Click Download cover
      3. Select a cover and click OK
      4. If no cover is found, find a cover online, and then from the metadata window in Calibre, click Browse to browse to the cover and add it.
      5. Click OK
    3. If the cover does show up in Calibre, the EPUB file may be corrupt. To fix it:
      1. Right-click → Convert booksConvert individually
      2. Output format → EPUB
      3. OK
    4. Save the file
      1. Right-click → Save to disk → Save to disk
      2. Select a location to save the EPUB to
    5. Remove the file you previously uploaded to Google Play Books
    6. Upload the modified EPUB to Google Play Books. It will be located in a subfolder in the location you specified in the previous step. You just want the EPUB file; you can ignore the other files.

  3. If the cover still isn't showing up, you can try to manually repair it.
    1. Download Sigil, install it, and use it to open the EPUB file
    2. Fix the cover according to the guidelines in the following blog post:
      Best practices in ePub cover images by Keith Fahlgren
    3. Once you're done, upload the modified EPUB to Google Play Books

  4. If the book won't upload at all, the cover may not be the problem
    1. Validate the EPUB using the validator here:
    2. Modify the EPUB using Sigil or another EPUB editor, and keep validating it until there are no more errors
    3. Try uploading it to Google Play Books again


  1. Another good tool here I want to recommend when adding cover to epub.

  2. I also have this problem. Front cover shows up fine on my first account, but on my second account all of the book have 404 error and book cover does not show up. I uploaded the same books to Account#1 and account#2. it is weird that books are uploaded fine on account#1 but not on account#2. Please advise!

    1. Hmm, if it doesn't go away on its own after a little bit, then I'm not sure what the problem would be. How long did you wait? If it is happening with all of the books on account 2, I would suspect there's a problem with the account. You could try creating another account, or deleting the account and trying again. Unfortunately it sounds like a different issue so I'm not sure I can be of much help!

    2. Yeah, I tried. :( I even have account#3 and #4 haha. And you know what's weird? When I tried to login using a different computer all of the books shows up on all of the accounts. I'm not sure if it is a problem with my laptop. But anyways thanks for your response. :)

    3. That's even weirder that you'd only have the problem with one computer. Have you tried a different web browser, like Chrome or Firefox? If the problem only happens in one browser, try clearing the cache and cookies:

  3. this is a great help - thanks

  4. very helpfull, thanks a lot.

  5. I don't want to read my ebooks in calibre. I want google books to work right.

    1. I only suggested using Calibre to fix any problems with ebooks so that they will work in Google Play Books, not using Calibre to read your ebooks. Cheers!

  6. if I'm using an android phone, what version of calibre would I download? can I even download it at all? it seems to be for computers only.

    1. Yes, Calibre is only for computers unfortunately.

  7. Thank you so much! It always bothers me to see crooked titles and this helped me fix that

  8. Thank you very much! Worked perfectly!