Nearly 40% of all books in the UK are now sold online. This means that the cover that is seen on Amazon is rapidly becoming more important than the cover that is seen on the book. Will the constraints of ebook covers begin to dictate the design of all book covers? Maybe. However, as the constraints of physical covers become less important I think we will see ebook covers become more creative and relevant to their medium.
There is a great post about where ebooks might go at Passwordincorrect. The examples of Seth Godin’s Poke the Box is used to illustrate e-covers that no longer bother to carry information that is adequately conveyed by the webpage. This means the author name, title and other text. Do the Work uses the same trick. This technique is discussed further at The Magaziner.
Meanwhile PasswordIncorrect use a different trick for their free ebook. The cover is designed to look like an app on a phone, tablet or similar device.
Before you get too excited about the brave new future of cover design, Mike Cane has some criticisms of this cover here. It seems like, before e-covers can really come into their own, we will need to sort out all the pesky formatting errors that still plague ebooks.