Is it Really a Coloring eBook if You Print it Yourself?

IMG_0642Coloring books are so popular that they’ve had a direct impact on industry revenues, caused a shortage of colored pencils, and drawn the attention of snobbish literati.


In fact, this industry is so popular that many creators have taken to self-publishing coloring books and selling them through Createspace, Etsy, and other distributors and marketplaces, and companies like Ikea have released PDFs you can print and color-in.

Teleread has a post up this morning about one such creator who is selling, as Teleread puts it “coloring ebooks” which you print for yourself:

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 products in a variety of formats—as PDF single pages, via Etsy. This format confusion was among my few complaints with these otherwise very nice coloring pages. When I asked him which one 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!

So here’s my question for you: Is this a coloring ebook?

That’s what Teleread calls it, but I don’t think the term fits. These products aren’t designed or intended to be used digitally; you’re supposed to print them out and fill them in.

Wouldn’t that make them POD, or at least “print yourself”?

I think so. There are coloring book apps in iTunes, Google Play, and elsewhere. They are made by colored pencil and crayon manufacturers like Crayola, and are intended to be used on your mobile device.

So wouldn’t that make the printable coloring books something else?

image by Jamison_Judd


Nate Hoffelder

View posts by Nate Hoffelder
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader. He has been blogging about indie authors since 2010 while learning new tech skills weekly. He fixes author sites, and shares what he learns on The Digital Reader's blog. In his spare time, he fosters dogs for A Forever Home, a local rescue group.


  1. Greg Strandberg1 May, 2016

    Ha, I figured this out when I was an English teacher in China. I always had spare coloring sheets printed out for the younger classes, when a lull would occur.

    Boy, it was fun to color those and get paid. It was relaxing too. Didn’t much matter to me that it wasn’t in a fancy book that I had to pay $10 for. Actually, on my salary that was a benefit.

  2. […] with our long-time commenter and fellow journalist Nate Hoffelder over at The Digital Reader, who chastised me that these products were not an e-book per se, but rather a print-on-demand product, where you, […]

  3. Luis Felipe Mujica2 May, 2016

    I think printable pages are a great option if you want to color something at the moment and don’t want to carry a big book on your bag. For example, I have recently published a book that contains maps about lost cities, it contains stories explaining the maps so readers can keep the stories in the mind and print a page for coloring if they want. I think printable books aren’t a bad idea but depends a lot on user preferences. Here there is a link where you can find My lost city maps:


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