Can You Use Pixabay Images in Your Book?

Can You Use Pixabay Images in Your Book?

Images tell more of a story than words and play a crucial role in drawing the reader’s attention and keeping it. Choosing the right images to tell your story in a book could impact the book’s success. However, you can take the pictures yourself or download them from online photo galleries like Pixabay. Many aspiring authors have wondered whether it’s legal to use Pixabay images in their books and to what capacity.

Pixabay images can be used in a book because they are free for personal and commercial use without attributing the owner. You can use them for your digital or print books without worrying about copyright infringement. Although you’re not required to credit the owner, doing so is much appreciated.

That’s not all, as you still need to know whether you can use Pixabay images for KDP, if you can use copyrighted images in a book and if it’s okay to use any images for a book cover, which you will learn if you read on.

Can I Use Pixabay Images in My Book?

A good book should have a great cover conveying what is written inside. Readers should predict the story in the book by looking at the cover, and that’s where good photos come to play. You can take the photos yourself, design them using image manipulation software like Photoshop, or get them from an online photo gallery like Pixabay.

Books are sensitive, and it’s very easy to get sued for plagiarism by copying other people’s work or copyright infringement by using someone else’s images. Pixabay offers free photos with a license to use them as you see fit, which has led many people to ask whether such photographs can be used in books.

According to Pixabay, you’re allowed to use the images on their platform for personal and commercial use without worrying about any copyright infringement, and this includes books. However, Pixabay cautions not to sell any merchandise containing unedited images from the platform, either in print or digital form. This means you have to alter the image by adding words or merging other images to make them a bit unique.

Can I use Pixabay Images for KDP?

Amazon KDP allows using images from Pixabay, but there’re some restrictions and conditions. For starters, Amazon would require a license when you’re using an image of a person for the cover photo. However, you don’t need to provide the license if you’re using a background image as a cover photo.

Thousands of people have published books with Pixabay images on Amazon only after acquiring the necessary license or express permission. That’s why it’s always best to get written consent from the owner in case Amazon pulls down your book requesting proof you’re allowed to use the photos. Take these steps before using Pixabay Images for KDP:

  1. Search the book catalogue to ensure no one else uses the same image
  2. Alter and edit the image to make it unique
  3. Explain to the owner how you intend to use the images
  4. Require a written consent to use the images

Can I Use Copyrighted Images in a Book?

It’s discouraged to use any copyrighted materials and pass them as your work, as doing so is considered copyright infringement, and this includes using them in books. However, you can still use these images under the ‘Fair Use’ Act, but only after getting express permission from the owner.

Copyrighted images are considered intellectual properties, and the owner has a right under the law to sue and seek compensation for using their work without their permission. You must modify the content even if you’re using it under the ‘Fair Use’ Act.

Doing so will help you avoid lawsuits for copying the content from the owner and gaining financial benefits from it. Even so, you should contact the owner regarding your intended use and explain to them how you wish to alter their work to fit your project.

Can I Use Images From Any Source for a Book Cover?

Book covers are sensitive and are used to draw the potential reader’s attention. Using the right photos for your book cover could help generate interest and boost sales. However, you should have the authorization to use these images on your book cover, as this is where many legal issues arise.

Make sure you have the details of your license, regardless if you’re using royalty-free images or paid ones. Make sure to alter the images to make them unique even when you have bought them.

Consider using the book cover templates from because they will not only give you great pre-made layouts, but also give you access to tons of commercially usable images.


Pixabay images are free to use as you please without crediting the owner. You can use them in your books and as cover images, but you’ll need to alter them with more details. Pixabay images can also be used in KDP, but you have to show the proper license, especially if you’re using them as cover photos. You can use copyrighted images only after being granted rights by the owner.