A Place For Coloring Books

A new trend in publishing is making BIG news this holiday season!


Adults everywhere are tapping into their younger selves and enjoying a sense of relaxation by purchasing adult coloring books. Coloring allows anyone to be creative. Consumers don’t have to be amazing artists to color; the designs are already there, waiting to be filled with vibrant colors, which add to the appeal of the books.

The Article, Colouring books: Publishers everywhere ditching chapter and verse in favour of black outlines, written by Simone Usborne in The Independent (Novemeber 1st), states “Colouring books are leading a big trend for interactive books … For publishers they have become an unexpectedly lucrative sales hit, and part of a broader “Peter Pan” market for nostalgia.”

Most of the popular coloring books available today seem to follow a theme. For example, Johanna Basford’s Lost Ocean is filled with creatures of the deep. Or the ever-popular Mandala designs. More designs are being created everyday, resulting in more coloring book publications. Book clubs and local libraries are also taking advantage of these new books by including coloring nights to their monthly calendar’s to attract those who find enjoyment in the activity.

The amount of time it takes to sit down and color one of these pages is just long enough for buyers to get out of their own heads, and escape reality for awhile. These books are taking people back to a time when the most important thing in the world was to make sure you stayed in-between the lines.

“Millie Marotta’s Animal Kingdom, published by Batsford, has sold more than 320,000 copies in the UK alone since January…”, the article continues. “Publishers are racing to add colouring titles to big franchises.”

To Read More Follow This Link

**The Independent is a British Newspaper** > colouring [UK spelling] vs. coloring [US spelling]

The New Yorker also posted an article relating to this topic back in July: Why Adults Are Buying Coloring Books (for Themselves), written by Adrienne Raphel.

The article discusses the success of Basford’s coloring book series, and how they have created a booming market, along with the importance of social media and its major role in the trend’s popularity. “….colorists post their elaborate creations on Facebook and Pinterest garnering fans and offering pro tips on things like Prismacolor versus gel pens, or how to make that tricky owl in the corner pop.”

To read more on this article (which also includes information on adult summer camps & a link about National Coloring Book Day) – click here
By: Stevie Davall


The Amazon Books Experience

Amazon opened it’s first brick and mortar bookstore in Seattle on Nov. 3, 2015. Located in University Village, an outdoor shopping center across the street from the University of Washington, the location has been described by reviewers as both “unimpressive” and “bizarre.” Amazon has built it’s brand on being the “go to” location for anything and everything consumers could ever want— an unending, virtual megastore, but the first physical location of an Amazon store seems to be anything but. Rob Salkowitz of Forbes referred to the small bookstore as “more Waldenbooks than Barnes & Noble.” The first reviews are reporting that the store, which claims it has hired professional, qualified booksellers to “curate” it’s shelves, is lacking in selection and offers a strange variety of what appears to be excess stock.


Even stranger still is the way customers are made to shop in the store. There are no prices listed for any of the books or merchandise; the customer must scan a bar code using the Amazon app on their smartphone (if they don’t have the Amazon app or a smartphone, a bookseller will scan it for you). All the shelf tags contain the star ratings and snippets of reviews that you would see when shopping online, but absolutely no pricing information. When asked why the process of browsing for books is made so difficult for the customer, Amazon explains that its prices may fluctuate and they want to ensure that they are offering the same price to every customer, the one that is listed on Amazon.com.


In his review of the bookstore Salkowitz asks a question that I’m sure most Amazon Books shoppers were left asking themselves: If you’re going to open a physical location of an already massive online bookstore, why open such a crappy one? His answer hits the nail on the head… Amazon Books doesn’t care about selling books. Instead of titling this post “The Amazon Books Experience” perhaps “The Amazon Books Experiment” would have been more appropriate.

By requiring shoppers to price scan using their Amazon app anytime they’re interested in a book, the customer is unwittingly sending Amazon their shopping habit information, preferences, and history, along with all their personal information. All this data is being tracked by Amazon’s massive cloud data service. So maybe Salkowitz is right, maybe this tiny brick and mortar bookstore born from it’s megaparent, Amazon.com, isn’t really a bookstore after all, but the physical location of Amazon’s experiment in blending physical and digital commerce. Very sneaky, Amazon, very sneaky. Let’s hope this isn’t the future of all of our retail shopping experiences— where our movements, histories, and data are tracked at every turn. Let’s hope that Amazon retires back to the web where it belongs soon, and that another monopoly on the way we shop hasn’t just been born.

Check out Salkowitz’s article here:


***Heather Hickox earned a Bachelor’s in English at Middle Tennessee State University and is currently pursuing a Master’s of Professional Studies in Publishing at the George Washington University. Her writing has been published in several editions of Collage: A Journal of Creative Expression and VSA TN’s 40 Days Around the World. Heather is a Writing Facilitator for The Carnegie Writers, Inc. in Nashville, TN.

This Week’s Bestsellers

It’s a big week for old favorites, especially among children’s authors. Twilight/Life and Death pairs the 10th anniversary edition of Stephenie Meyer’s vampiric blockbuster with a gender-flipped version, in which ingenue Bella becomes Beau and sparkly immortal Edward is now Edyth. With 66K print units sold, it’s #2 in children’s frontlist fiction, and #3 overall.

At #3 in children’s fiction and #5 overall, with 44K print units sold, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling features new color illustrations by Kate Greenaway Medalist Jim Kay, whom Rowling selected to do new art for all seven novels in the series.

And at #5 with 12K print units sold, Carry On by Rainbow Rowell grew out of the fan-fiction sections of 2013’s Fangirl, which imagine a Harry Potter–esque character falling for his Draco-like roommate, who is a vampire.

On the adult side, A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms by George R.R. Martin, #2 in hardcover fiction and #7 overall, sold 33K print units this week. The volume packages three previously published novellas set a century before the events of A Game of Thrones.

On the Right Track

Patti Smith reflects on her life and her art in the new M Train, the follow-up to her 2010 memoir Just Kids, which won that year’s National Book Award for nonfiction. Kids debuted with 6,685 print units sold and to date has topped 440K units in hardcover and paperback. M Train is building on that success, debuting at #6 in hardcover nonfiction with almost 16K sold. Another musical memoir, Sounds like Me by Sara Bareilles, lands at #19 with 6,484 print units sold. The books arrive on the heels of Chrissie Hynde’s controversial Reckless; for more of the season’s musician-authored books, go to publishersweekly.com/music1516.

Kennedy Compound

A pair of books on the Kennedy clan debut on our hardcover nonfiction list this week. In A Common Struggle by Patrick J. Kennedy and Stephen Fried, Kennedy—a former Rhode Island congressman and the youngest child of Ted—recounts, in the words of the subtitle, his “personal journey through the past and future of mental illness and addiction.” It’s at #7 with almost 15K sold.

Rosemary by Kate Cifford Larson, at #15 with 8,279 print units sold, details the tragic life of the oldest daughter of Joe and Rose Kennedy, who suffered a failed lobotomy at age 23 and remained isolated from her family for much of her life.


A More Perfect Union Ben Carson #2 Hardcover Nonfiction; #6 overall 37.9K print units The 2016 presidential hopeful has put his campaign on hold for two weeks while on tour for his new book, which, according to the subtitle, explains “what we the people can do to reclaim our constitutional liberties.”

The Survivor Vince Flynn and Kyle Mills #1 Hardcover Fiction; #4 overall 49.8K print units Flynn died in 2013, before finishing the 14th of his Mitch Rapp political thrillers; Mills completed Flynn’s work and plans to write two more in the series.

The Courage to Act Ben S. Bernanke #13 Hardcover Nonfiction 9,357 print units The former chairman of the Federal Reserve—who started his 12-year tenure in 2006, shortly before the housing bubble burst—offers an insider’s perspective on the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.


All unit sales per Nielsen BookScan except where noted.

[This article, written by Carolyn Juris, appeared in the 10/19/2015 issue of Publishers Weekly under the headline: This Week’s Bestsellers: October 19, 2015]

Amazon & Bookstores May Both Have It Their Way

Recently, British book retailer Waterstones announced that many of its stores have ceased sale of Amazon’s e-reader, Kindle. Although this decision was induced by the product’s “pitiful” demand, the e-commerce company does not fret. With the release of their newest version in 2012, the Kindle Fire, Amazon entered their tablet into the playing field amongst strong competitors like Apple. Unveiled at a cheaper price compared to the classic monochrome Kindle sold by Waterstones, the Kindle Fire is expected to cannibalize Amazon sales of the e-paper Kindle, and continues to beat out other basic e-readers.

With increasing Kindle sales for Amazon forthcoming, Waterstones does not regret their decision to pull the product. The company would rather clear their shelves for new book releases, as the book retailer believes that their customers do not equate to Amazon’s Kindle market. Bookstore customers generally visit the store to browse and purchase physical books, while enjoying the sensory experience. Devices like the Kindle detract from that experience.

The decline in sales of basic e-readers does not write off the profitability of e-books, however; Kindle readership is strongly supported through its application across smartphone, tablet, and desktop platforms. E-books offer features untouchable by the traditional book, such as the ability to modify font sizes, share passages, and integrate hypertext. Although the e-book consumer is still ever-present, physical bookstores rejoice as readers seek their products as an escape from the multitude of screens they encounter on a daily basis. This may be an indication that print and electronic books are separate markets, and should be without fear of one overtaking the other.

Publishers Will Need Independent Tech to Level Playing Field

Technology in the hands of businessmen
Source: http://www.theblindguide.com/evolutionary-technology/

By Danielle Desjardins

“Google, Facebook, and Twitter — Are they media companies disguised as technology companies?”

This is the question at the heart of “Publishers Will Need Independent Tech to Level Playing Field,” by Kirk McDonald, President of PubMatic, and although the answer to this hotly debated issue isn’t quite clear, one thing is: regardless of whether these outlets are media or technology companies, traditional publishers will need to up their game, and rethink their roles, to compete.

Premium content is no longer the failsafe recipe for success that it was for publishers for decades. Instead, technology and data are upending the monetization strategies that publishers have relied on for so long.

The world of publishing has changed dramatically over the past several years, and according to McDonald, this has created a new paradigm for publishers. “Premium content is no longer the failsafe recipe for success that it was for publishers for decades. Instead, technology and data are upending the monetization strategies that publishers have relied on for so long.” And these changes show in user behavior.

According to a study by Publishing Technology, a leading supplier of data and content solutions, 43% of mobile phone users (both in the United States and United Kingdom) use their phones to read books. The remaining 57%, however, find the experience of reading on a mobile phone unpleasant (36% in the US; 29% in the UK) or found the mobile platforms designed for reading too difficult to use (26% in the US; 21% in the UK). This indicates that unlike game developers, social networking sites, and other media/technology hybrids, publishing companies are not concentrating on continuously refining the user experience of their digital content — a necessity when users can, and will, easily switch loyalties. And considering that an estimated 2.4 billion smartphones will be sold in 2015 alone — approximately 120 times the number of Kindle e-readers sold from 2007 to 2014 — this represents a lost opportunity on a huge scale.

But that is only one technology. As millennials and other digital natives increasingly affect the marketplace, this need for excellent user experiences, and more convenient print/digital hybrid solutions, will only increase.

But the task of developing new monetization strategies and redirecting focus requires publishers to rethink their roles entirely. No longer will they solely be responsible for acquiring, producing, and disseminating content; instead, the average publisher will also need to consider the development or acquisition of specialized technologies built around their unique products — and their unique challenges.

Although some may rush to partner with the Facebooks and Twitters of the world to gain access to these groundbreaking technologies without a substantial internal investment, this strategy may prove short-sighted, especially as the partner technology company moves (often lightning fast) to change the offered technology to fit their own needs, not the publisher’s.

These marketplaces are no more invested in a publisher’s success than the NASDAQ is invented in the success of a particular mutual fund that makes trades on its exchange.

Instead, according to McDonald, the secret to adapting is to locate and partner with independent technology companies — or create individualized technology perfectly suited to your requirements in-house — to solve problems such as the need for greater market automation and real-time inventory management. In a sense, it is only by redefining themselves as both media and technology companies — effectively blurring the lines between each segment — that publishers will survive.

“It’s time for publishers to stop asking, “Are Google and Facebook media companies or tech companies?’” says McDonald, “And start asking themselves, ‘How am I using technology to build the media company of the future?’”

Big Data and the Value of Data-Sharing


By Stacy Masucci


The existing notions of big data and the value of sharing information is a controversial subject from its core- should we share information, how much, and if so how?

In a recent article from the UCLA Newsroom, Christine Borgman (UCLA Professor and Presidential Chair in Information Studies) explains her vision for a new project (which has a three-year grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation). Simply, the project will look at how researchers in a data-intensive environment handle and share information. But on closer inspection, the project is much more than that. Of note is the question that was posed in the title of the grant:

“If data sharing is the answer, what is the question?”

Finding that root “question” is truly at the heart of the project. The group will analyze how data is handled in four research projects (astronomy, biology and medical sciences). They will simplify data practices and present findings back to the scientific communities as well as to funding agencies, government agencies, publishers and stakeholders, to effect change in current policy. There are no specifics within the article as to which policies the group is targeting, but the report will certainly be of great interest and will no doubt shape future roles and responsibilities of stakeholders.

Personally, I can’t wait to see what the question is…

Print Continues to Rule the World of Higher Education

By Kate Leboff

Half of Americans own an e-reading device, up from the 30% that owned one in 2013; in 2012, President Obama wanted to get e-textbooks into every classroom by 2017; and Florida lawmakers have mandated that public schools convert textbooks to digital versions. Despite the surge of technology, e-books, and “digital natives,” in recent years, evidence published in 2015 shows that, at the very least, the vast majority of students at colleges and universities around the world still prefer print to digital.

A slew of news reports have announced that after extensive studies and surveys of college students are in favor of reading their assigned readings – textbooks, journals, novels etc. – for courses in print versus on screen.  One survey of 500 active college students, taken by Direct Textbook, a comprehensive textbook price comparison service, found that 72% of students prefer print textbooks to e-books.  A study at the University of Washington found that a quarter of students still bought print versions of e-textbooks, even when those books were offered free of charge. I can sympathize. When purchasing the textbooks for the first two courses of the GW Publishing Program, I decided to purchase  the print version of the title, The Book: A Futurist’s Manifesto, despite it being offered online for free.

In January of this year, Naomi S. Baron published Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, in which she discusses “how technology is reshaping our understanding of what it means to read. Digital reading is increasingly popular. Reading onscreen has many virtues… Yet, Baron argues, the virtues of eReading are matched with drawbacks.” – from the Oxford University Press.

In her book, Baron also completed a survey of more than 300 college students in the U.S., Japan, Germany, and Slovakia, finding a nearly university preference for the tangible textbook versus its digital version. A startling 92% of students said they concentrated and comprehended more when reading a hard copy versus on a cell phone, tablet, e-reader, or computer. However, it seems that the format and medium on which these college-age digital natives are reading for pleasure, “light reading,” does not matter as much. In children and adolescents, though, it seems that reading print versus digital books is on the rise as 65% of 6 to 17 year olds would prefer “real” books to e-books, an increase of almost 17% from 2012.

In 2014, 87% of textbook sales were print editions while only 9% of the market were comprised of e-book purchases. With the leftover 4% being made up of file sharing.

The biggest issues, as outlined by Baron in her book, are students getting distracted, finding themselves multitasking and taking breaks to surf the internet more often, and the eye strain, headaches, and physical discomfort that accompanies reading on screen for hours at a time. 90% found themselves multitasking when reading onscreen than those reading the hard copy versions.

Some other reasons that have been cited as to why students prefer print textbooks to e-books included: Print textbooks are easier to read, they like the physical effort of annotating what they are reading, some print textbooks are cheaper – buying used, e-books are difficult to navigate and bookmark, they do not require internet access, professors do not allow laptops or tablets in class, the availability of e-books can be limited, and students seem to often print out the pages of online and e-book readings anyways.

The students who like to read digitally versus having the tactile, physical experience referenced the fact that e-books are often cheaper, are lighter and searchable, are environmentally friendly, e-readers allow adjustable print size and brightness, text can be converted to audio, and these can often be used with apps.

In the end, it seems that, at least for now, print textbooks rule the world of higher education.

One student, Cooper Nordquist, a student studying political science at American University, commented that, “[he] couldn’t imagine reading Tocqueville, [the 900 plus-page, “Democracy in America”], or understanding him electronically. That would be just awful.”

Another commented that “You just get distracted. It’s like if I finish a paragraph, i’ll go on Tumblr, and then three hours later you’re still not done with reading.”