How do I find good adult coloring books and avoid the bad ones?
Being able to find good coloring books online can be a challenge. I see so many frustrated people when reading reviews on Amazon and Facebook about ordering a coloring book online that has an amazing cover but when it arrives they are less than happy.
There are several ways to help avoid disappointment when it comes to choosing a coloring book.
Get to know the features on Amazon
Reading through the listing thoroughly on Amazon will give you quite a few clues straight away if you know where to look.
At the top of each coloring book listing is an author section. A reputable artist or publishing company will have created an artist page and if you click on that link you’ll be lead to all of the other books they have published. A quick glance down the page will reveal reviews of their other books if the one you are looking at happens to be new and not have any reviews.
Don’t feel too bad if it happens to you! Even we “professional” coloring book reviewers get duped once in awhile. Check out the Coloring Queen’s video review of her Dud Coloring Book.
You should read the good and the bad reviews but also look for those that say “verified”. Verified reviewers are simply those that have purchased that item from Amazon. Next, you need to decide if they are fake reviews by friends, or paid for reviews. It doesn’t mean that ALL people that aren’t verified are fake reviews, far from it because you may have bought the book at Barnes & Noble, Walmart or the dollar store and you want to tell all the people on Amazon what you thought.
Next, you should try to figure out if this person is someone who is paid to review coloring books. I can kind of tell if that is the case if the person goes on and on and ON and repeats the same phrases in all their reviews. If you click on the reviewer you can see all the reviews they have done. It will also give you a feel for whether or not they are the sort that only gives 5* reviews or someone who only gets online to complain. Neither of those sorts are terribly helpful.
I also take into account what people ding a book for. When someone leaves a 1-star review for a book or coloring product because it was bent or broken in the mail, that’s not relevant. You can review the shipping method, the shipper, the company that sold it to you but don’t ding the book itself. It’s not the artist’s fault that your book cover was bent.
What do YOU like to color?
Figure out what you like to color. I know that sounds simple but just because you LIKE a certain thing, doesn’t mean you’ll enjoy coloring it. I adore dogs but I don’t particularly like to color them. I also do enjoy coloring a ton of repeated patterns or what they call “wallpaper” pages where the background is the same behind the main image and you have to color it in.
Coloring Book Topics
There are a ton of flower coloring and cute critter coloring but if you love mermaids, you will find a boatload of books that feature mermaids. Science Fiction nut? There are coloring books that feature your favorite shows or characters. I recently saw a coloring book of serial killers! Not my favorite topic but for some, that sort of book interests them. How about positive phrases, quotes or bible verses. This is really important if you are going to buy a coloring book for a gift. Think about what that person loves and then search that phrase on Amazon. For example Dog Coloring Books for Adults.
How to Use Amazon Search for the Best Coloring Books
If you click on that link for the dog coloring books above, I’ve also added the parameter to only pull up books with a 4* or higher rating. By using some of these search parameters, you can really narrow down your search so you aren’t overwhelmed and you get to the books you’d really like to take the time to explore.
If you look to the left of the search bar you’ll see the options listed below.
- Amazon Prime
- Get it by Tomorrow
- Eligible for Free Shipping
- Average Customer Review
- Book Series
- New Releases
- Last 30 Days
- Last 90 days
- Coming Soon
By using these search parameters above, you can really control how the search behaves for you. Do remember to add in the “Adult Coloring” or “Coloring for Grownups” so you don’t get books intended for little kids.
Paper Quality in Coloring Books
A large amount of the coloring books that you’ll see on Amazon are from new artists and illustrators aren’t yet working with a publisher so those books are created using Amazon’s author network called CreateSpace. This is not great paper, it’s ok paper but it’s not going to be the luscious paper of a Johanna Basford or Hanna Karlzon book. They are also likely to have fewer pages and fewer illustrations. Below is an example of what you will find on every coloring book on Amazon. It shows the number of pages and the Publisher (you’ll see this is CreateSpace) along with the product dimensions and the average review score. It’s all right there for you so be sure to check that so you aren’t disappointed that it’s smaller than you thought, or it’s got average copier paper. You know you can always copy it to cardstock for your own use so I don’t let the subpar paper keep me away if I love the illustrations. I’m using this book to illustrate what I’m talking about.
This one gives you information right in the description about how many images there are and that it’s Single-sided black backed coloring pages.
It also tells you there are 25 images. If you look at the number of pages you’ll see 67 so that would be confusing to me right off the bat. Does the illustrator give you sneak peeks at the rest of the Nice Little Town series? What is on all those other pages? I looked at a flip through of another book in the series and there were 11 pictures from her other books, that still doesn’t add up?
- Series: Nice Little Town
- Paperback: 67 pages
- Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (September 11, 2018)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1727226682
- ISBN-13: 978-1727226683
- Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 0.2 x 11 inches
- Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 37 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #78 in Christmas (Books)
- #50 in Religious & Inspirational Coloring Books for Grown-Ups
So, you’ll see that you get less illustrations and lower quality paper but the cost is also 1/2 or less than the professionally published & edited books.
To contrast a CreateSpace publication, let me show you Hanna Karlzon’s newest book.
Drawn in Hanna’s highly regarded detailed style, this hardbound coloring book of 96 pages on thick paper printed on both sides of the paper.
- Hardcover: 96 pages
- Publisher: Gibbs Smith (August 13, 2019)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1423652797
- ISBN-13: 978-1423652793
- Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.7 x 9.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars 24 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #58,658 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #72 in Illustration and Graphic Design
- #277 in Animal Coloring Books for Grown-Ups
You’ll see that this one contains more than double the amount of pictures to color, on much nicer paper in a hard-bound book and of course, the price is higher. These are the things you need to compare when shopping online.
Remember that on Amazon, returns are super easy to make as long as you don’t wait too long, now you can even return things at Kohls. Don’t stress yourself out too much.
I hope this helps you not to worry about purchasing your next adult coloring book online.