As of 4-5-2017 and for about a year now I have noticed a very disturbing (and very bad) trend with stock image resource sites. Adobe is buying all of them. And this means prices are going up. And this means our selection and usage rights will start to get fewer. So I encourage people to please comment here with sites they know of that may not be listed here yet, especially if they’re not owned by Adobe. Let’s keep this list fresh and useful!
Sites are divided by the type of rights you obtain when you “purchase” (more like rent in most cases) the artwork you intend to use. I make no promises on how up to date these rights are as some places can change them, some have legalese that makes no sense, and even some might be out of business for all I know. If you’re a lawyer, I invite you to interpret their webpages for me. If you’re a fellow ebook cover creator, I ask you to please politely refrain from telling me what POD means or correcting me on every single entry I have in the list unless it’s defunct.
I need to make this clear in an attempt to keep people from getting themselves into trouble: it is up to *you* to ascertain whether or not the artwork you are choosing is legal for what you’re using it for. It’s up to you to make sure you’ve purchased the correct usage rights. Don’t be a dummy. Back yourself up and look around.
Be warned: some places that claim to support the public domain will charge you for a commercial sized image. Support public domain by trying to find the right sized image in a free source first. Donate to public domain places so they don’t have to steal from the public by charging you to use what belongs to you in the first place. Thank you.
- Blue Vertigo Pantyhose – more of an online list of resources than anything.
- British Library Open Domain Images
- Textures.com – background textures and other useful things for graphic design
- Free Stock Photos Biz
- From Old Books – small images are public, commercial sizes are expensive
- Grandma’s Graphics
- Old Book Illustrations
- Open Clipart
- Photos Public Domain
- Pixabay – associated with Shutterstock, most images require attribution for use
- Public Domain Pictures
- Reusable Art
- Vectorstock Free
- Viintage.com – Huge selection. Their search function sucks. Provides an article explaining why claiming copyright on public domain images is fraud. Take a read. You’ll be glad you did.
- Realistic Shots
- The Public Domain Review
- New York Public Library
- Free Images
Standard License usage okay
- Big Stock Photo (web size limit of 1200 x 800 pixels but good for print up to 250,000 copies, legalese page here)
- *Fotolia (sizes and usages located here)
- IStockPhoto – limits electronic used to 1200 pixels (Smashwords requires 1400)
- Jupiter Images
- More of our Premade Covers are Here
- Our Premade Covers are Also Here
- Romance Novel Covers
- Veer – can be pricey
Requires Extended License or I’m leery of them for other reasons
- Deposit Photos
- GettyImages – crazy expensive, limited time usage, might as well rent the White House
- Royalty Free Images
- Shutterstock – demands ownership of derivative works