I received an e-mail a few weeks ago from a friendly fellow Canadian asking me to review his coloring ‘e-books.’ I delightedly accepted—I like crafts and have a few paper coloring books myself. And there are some advantages to making a genre such as this electronic. A paper coloring book can be used only once. An e-book can be re-printed over and over again, whenever you want a fresh page to color.
Andrei Kelner’s company, Bookolorata, offers attractive products in a variety of formats. You can get PDF single pages via Etsy. And through the Kindle store, you can download entire e-books at affordable prices. These options left me confused. When I asked Kelner which format I should get to ensure proper printing, he sent me first a link to the Etsy store, and then when I could not get a coupon code for that, a link to a shared Dropbox folder which had all the files. Too fussy!
Once again: The Etsy store sells PDF single pages. The Kindle store offers the regular Kindle e-book format. Yes, those are two formats. That needs to be clear.
My other complaint is about the prices of the PDFs. Most paper coloring books I own are at least 50 pages long and are about $15 to buy. Kelner’s Etsy PDFs are 99 cents per page. It would cost three times as much for a full-length book, at those prices. And, yes, he does have the $1.99 Kindle book. But the only way to really print from there would be to read it on a tablet, take a screen shot and print that. I imagine you’d lose some resolution on the graphics that way, but you would at least save money.
Technical snafus notwithstanding, the artwork was excellent, and these would indeed be lovely to colour. And I do think the e-format solves many problems. I have seen some lovely books be ruined by inferior paper choices. When you print yourself, you can use whatever paper you want, and then you can work with markers or paints or whatever medium, too. Also, if you make a mistake, there is no loss of opportunity. Just re-print it and start over. I think that for de-clutterers like me, there is also the same appeal as there is for a regular e-book: I can have as many as I want, and they take up no space in my house.
So would I recommend these? Well, yes and no. The artwork is indeed lovely, and the Etsy prices, while high to me, seem to be comparable to what others are offering for this same type of product. I suppose it is fair that ‘artisan’ work such as this would cost more than a mass-market paperback. But I think this may be overkill for some; 99 cents a page is quite steep if you want to buy dozens of these. I’d start with the free samples that some of the big publishing companies offer to see if you like this sort of thing first. Then maybe set a budget for yourself and get a couple of the artisan ones when you want to. I don’t think I’d buy a whole book’s worth from one person at those prices. But I might buy one page each from several different artists to get some variety into my growing digital coloring library.