Are you an artist who enjoys creating fanciful, detailed drawings? If so, a collection of your drawings might lead to significant coloring book sales. Here’s what it takes to enter this popular market and get your share of coloring book sales.
Coloring Book Sales Are Steady
You probably know people who enjoy coloring books, and you’ve certainly seen them in bookstores and the magazine racks of grocery stores. The genre has developed a loyal, steady customer base. These readers are eager to get their colored pencils and felt tips into the next new set of pictures that capture their imagination.
How and why did they become popular? There have always been coloring books aimed at adults, but they were mostly carried by small, independent publishers or smaller imprints of larger companies. They were considered a “niche” or specialty market.
Around 2010, publishers began reporting an increase in coloring book sales. In 2015, Johanna Basford published her best selling coloring book, Enchanted Forest, and the genre began getting attention from larger publishers and the press. Adults who admitted to enjoying coloring were featured in news articles and TV programs.
According to a report in Book Riot, coloring book sales reached their peak in 2015, when more than 12 million coloring books were sold. In the U.K., half the books sold online that year were adult coloring books. Coloring books were also one of the top-selling gift items of the year.
That was the high point of coloring book sales. Since then, sales have never hit that same high mark, but they have remained steady.
Coloring Book Sales: Who Buys Adult Coloring Books?
If you’re interested in creating a coloring book, you are entering a market with a solid, loyal customer base.
Who are all these people creating coloring book sales? Here’s what we know about the typical buyer:
- 71% of coloring book sales are to women.
- Most buyers are in the 18-29 age group.
- Millennials are more likely to buy coloring books than buyers in any group.
- Most coloring book sales on Amazon are from small publishing houses and self-published authors.
Why Are Coloring Books Popular?
There are several reasons people enjoy coloring as adults.
First, it is fun. Coloring is an easy activity that doesn’t require much mental or physical engagement. Using crayons or colored pencils is fun and creative. It’s an affordable hobby that anyone can take up without training, practice, or spending a lot of money.
Second, it’s a break from digital screens and social media. Many users say they appreciate a simple, relaxing activity that works as a “digital detox.” Like book readers who prefer printed books, they prefer a hobby they can hold in their hands.
Third, it’s a form of stress relief. Many people say they use coloring books to get in touch with their artistic side and remove themselves from the daily stress of life.
In an article for Psychology Today, art therapist Shainna Ali noted that the books can be therapeutic because of their “benefits to improving mood, enhancing mindfulness, and reducing mental health stress.”
What Is the Best Selling Coloring Book?
Which coloring book sales are the highest? If you’re entering this market, you should have a sense of what buyers are looking for. Here are some top coloring book sales in the category to give you some ideas and inspiration.
- Bloom Adult Coloring Book by Prism Press: This 2021 book features elegant botanical flower garden prints with rich detail. Flower patterns are hugely popular, and that’s why this creates huge coloring book sales.
- Coloring Maine by Jeremy T. Grant: Already at number 1 in Amazon’s best seller list, this 2023 release has photos of real people and places in Maine. Each page has a blank page next to it for your own thoughts, doodles, and notes.
- 101 Mandalas by Lauren Kay: Mandalas are another popular theme in coloring books. Readers say the intricate patterns help them stay calm and focused. This book’s publisher says it is designed to help you enter a meditative state through coloring.
- Small Victories: A Coloring Book of Little Wins and Miniature Masterpieces by Johanna Basford. This 2023 book by a best selling coloring book author is designed to be carried in a purse or pocketbook. It features small pictures and tiny-sized vignettes you can color when you only have a few minutes to spare.
- 50 Mythical Miniatures by Kameliya Angelikova: This 2023 release offers 50 cute, quirky, mythical creatures that are fun for anyone to color. All hand-drawn by the author, they are also simple designs that can be colored quickly.
- Garden of Fairytale Animals: A Curious Collection of Creatures to Color by Kanoko Egusa: As the title promises, this is a collection of beautifully hand-drawn images of foxes, kittens, deer, fairies, and other storybook critters.
- Gnome Sweet Gnome by Teresa Goodridge: Anyone who likes gnomes will find these bright, cheerful pictures irresistible. The drawings depict gnomes in various settings and clear, simple designs.
As you can see, the most popular common books feature beautiful images and fun, whimsical, stress-relieving themes.
What varies is how detailed the drawings are. Some buyers like lots of tiny details they can focus on, but some are looking for easy-to-color images that don’t require that much effort.
When you choose a topic for your coloring book, be sure you’re appealing to the readers’ sense of fun and their desire to lose themselves in their coloring book. Create a magical world that will keep them focused and entertained while they color.
How to Create a Coloring Book: 6 Steps to Success
Are you ready to produce a best selling coloring book like the ones we’ve listed? Follow these steps.
1. Choose a topic or theme
What is the overall theme, subject, or setting you want to focus on? Your coloring book should have a specific theme that you can describe in one sentence. All the drawings should relate to that theme or idea. If you have many different ideas, remember, you can always create a second coloring book.
2. Make the drawings
Here’s where you get to express your creativity and artistry. To create a coloring book that sells, you should have at least 50 drawings.
3. Give your book a catchy title
Every best selling coloring book has a clever title that spells out exactly what the reader can expect. Think about your theme, and think about your ideal reader. What do you want them to know about your book? Is it fun, mysterious, calming, or inspirational? Let them know what’s inside the pages with your title.
4. Design an eye-catching cover
Your book’s cover is one of your most important marketing tools. It’s one of the best ways to pump up your coloring book sales.
People who buy coloring books have an artistic bent, so it’s important to reach them with an arresting image. Choose one of your drawings, and display it in full color on the cover. This will inspire readers to create their own equally beautiful colored works of art.
5. Choose your paper
Good quality paper is essential for a coloring book. Readers don’t just buy these books to look at. They color in them with felt tips, colored pencils, and even paints. The paper must be thick enough to stand up to this coloring and to frequent handling. It should also have a smooth, non-glossy surface.
6. Get your book professionally printed
Coloring books aren’t meant for digital reading. They’re designed to be printed, held, and used. Professional printing is the best way to create a high-quality book that your readers will enjoy working on.
Can You Make Money from Coloring Book Sales?
Even if your book isn’t a best selling coloring book, you can certainly make money in this genre. Find a theme or topic, create beautiful artwork for it, and produce a high-quality book. Your coloring book fans are ready and waiting for the next big seller.
We hope you’ve enjoyed this guide to creating coloring books. If you need help selecting paper or getting the best results in a printed book, talk to the experts at Dazzle Printing.