US publisher Gibbs-Smith talks about the acquisition process for the coloring books by Swedish artists Hanna Karlzon, Maria Trolle, and Emelie Lidehäll Öberg


July 1, 2016 by Beth - I SNIFF BOOKS blog

gibbs smith and swedish coloring books

US publisher Gibbs-Smith has been making some mighty exciting announcements lately about getting reprinting rights from Swedish publisher Pagina Fölrag for all those Swedish coloring books we love. But have y’all wondered what happens before those big exciting announcements? Just how does an international coloring book get picked up by a US publisher?

I was able to speak with Rachel from Gibbs-Smith as well as Swedish artists Hanna Karlzon, Maria Trolle, and Emelie Lidehäll Öberg about the acquisition process. First up, is Rachel.

Rachel from Gibbs-Smith shares plenty of details about the acquisition process, provides specific details about book and paper specs, explains why the release date for Hanna’s books was changed from June to August, where you’ll be able to find the books, and more. And folks, buckle your seat belts so you don’t fall out of your chair because Rachel rattles off a LONG LIST of MORE Swedish coloring books that Gibbs-Smith will release in March 2017! 

Beth: How did Gibbs-Smith first discover Swedish artist Hanna Karlzon’s coloring books that were published by Swedish publisher Pagina Fölrag?

Gibbs-Smith: Hanna actually found us! She turned in a submission email from our website and we all just loved her work and thought it was really special. So we reached out to Pagina Fölrag and we’re able to get the English World rights for Hanna’s work. And we’re all so excited and can’t wait until her books get here!

Image credit: Hanna Karlzon. Image used with permission.

Image credit: Hanna Karlzon. Image used with permission.

Beth: What are English World rights?

Gibbs-Smith: We’re able to sell the English version of the book anywhere in the world.

Beth: So with Gibbs-Smith having English World rights, can colorists around the world expect to find the books on Amazon USA, Amazon Canada, and Amazon UK? Will any or all of the books be available on Book Depository? Are there other bookseller sites we should know about?

Gibbs-Smith: Yes, colorists around the world will be able to find the books on Amazon USA, UK and Canada. We have distributors around the world that help us get our books to bookstores and booksellers, so hopefully you can easily buy the book wherever you are. The books should all be on Book Depository and since that website is run in the UK our distributor PGUK works with them to get the books on the website.

Beth: Are you able to discuss what it was like working with Pagina Fölrag on the acquisition rights/republishing rights process? Were there lots of meetings, phone calls, e-mails, skyping? Was it a very lengthy process with lots of paperwork?

Gibbs-Smith: I personally didn’t work with Pagina Fölrag, but I do [know] that there were a lot of early morning or late night phone calls with them in the beginning, because of the time difference. But, once we got the first contract figured out it was a pretty easy process. Pagina Fölrag is amazing to work with and have been great to suggest other illustrators to us. Which is how we were also able to get Maria’s [and Emelie’s] books.

Beth: Paper quality is very important to adults who color. Pagina Fölrag uses Munken Pure 160 gsm paper in all their coloring books. It seems paper quality is very important to Gibbs-Smith too because, back in April, there was an announcement on your facebook page stating that the release date for Hanna’s books changed from June 7 to August 9. Can you talk a bit more about this decision to delay release and also let us know what type of paper will be in Hanna, Maria, and Emelie’s coloring books?

Gibbs-Smith: We do understand stand the importance of paper quality to colorists and knew we needed to get it right, that is why we decided to push the date back. I think when we first started thinking about publishing coloring books we had no idea how important the paper was but as we started talking to other publishers, sales reps and reviewers we knew we had entered a whole new world where paper ruled. We tried to use the same manufacturer that Pagina Fölrag uses, so the books would be completely identical. But, that didn’t work out and we weren’t able to use the same manufacturer. So we settled for the next best thing and that was to get the exact same paper from the same mill that the manufacturer used on the original Swedish books. So our paper is the exact same 160 gsm, then we have a different manufacturer do the printing and the binding. It was a long process that had our production manager almost pulling out his hair, but thanks to his hard work we’re all pretty happy about how the paper quality turned out.

Beth: Both Hanna and Maria’s coloring books were first published as hardcovers with chic details like gold foiling and cloth spines. Will Gibbs-Smith be keeping this same physical format or will you be changing things up a bit?

Gibbs-Smith: No change here. We loved all the little details in the original hardcover coloring books, so we made sure to keep them the same as the original Swedish versions.

[The English edition for Emelie’s book will be the same as the Swedish edition, too: softcover with gold foiling accents and french flaps.]

Beth: When searching the various Amazon sites, I discovered that Amazon Canada is showing that Gibbs-Smith will be publishing Hanna’s Magical Dawn coloring book, postcard set, and artist’s edition in March 2017!!! (Magical Dawn releases as Magisk Gryning in Sweden in October 2016.) I also saw that an artist’s edition and postcard set for Hanna’s Summer Nights (Sommarnatt) will release in March 2017 too!!! Can you share anything about this? If you are able to confirm, can you explain to us why these books are for now only listed on Amazon Canada and not Amazon USA or Amazon UK?

Gibbs-Smith: Yes, we’re excited to keep working with Hanna! In March we’re publishing Summer Nights Artist Edition, Summer Nights Postcards, Magical Dawn Hardcover coloring book, Magical Dawn Artist Edition, Magical Dawn Postcards, Maria’s Blomster Mandala which will be called Twilight Garden Hardcover Coloring Book, Twilight Garden Artist Edition, Twilight Garden Postcards and we will also be publishing Fairy Tale Coloring Book illustrated by Emelie Lidehäll Öberg (published in Sweden as Sagolikt).

Amazon Canada is managed through our distributor Raincoast Books and they tend to pull data from us really early. We usually don’t send out our data yet because sometimes it changes, so we usually wait a little bit so we don’t have to go back and change everything.

Beth: When will the books be listed on the Amazon sites for pre-order?

Gibbs-Smith: For all of our Spring 2017 coloring books, they should be available for pre-order on Amazon about October 1st [2016].

Next up is Hanna Karlzon, Maria Trolle, and Emelie Lidehäll Öberg sharing their reactions when they found out that Gibbs-Smith picked up their books.  

Beth: How were you notified when it became official that Gibbs-Smith got reprinting rights from Pagina Förlag for your coloring books?

Hanna: Ivan at Pagina contacted me and told me that the deal was done, (if i remember it right, its been a while now).

Maria: I heard it from my publisher who phoned me up to tell me the happy news.

Emelie: My publisher contacted me to let me know that Gibbs-Smith wanted to publish my books. I was working at my dayjob so I walked out of the office in shock and just said to my coworkers: I am going to the USA. And they were like: What, when? And I was like: no I mean the book, Sagolikt is going to the USA. Then a lot of screaming and hugging followed. And after that explaining to the customers why there was so much screaming haha.

Beth: How did you feel?

Hanna: Super happy of course! I knew that they, Gibbs Smith, were really interested in my books but I never took it for granted that they really would want to publish them. So yes, I got really happy!

Maria: I was so very happy of course! And proud. And a bit surprised. And also quite relieved that I could give my followers some happy news, since LOTS of people have been asking the same question over and over and before this I really couldn’t give them any answer about whether or not it would be sold on Amazon, in the US etc.

Emelie: Well like I said before a little bit shocked and of course very happy. I mean 8 months ago this wasn’t even my world. I also felt like I wanted to stop and celebrate. It has all happened so fast and I think it’s important to remember moments like this.

Beth: Were you involved at all in the acquisition process or was this matter more between Gibbs-Smith and Pagina Fölrag?

Hanna: Well it was actually me that contacted Gibbs Smith in the first place. I wrote them an email and told them about my books and they answered me and told me that they were interested to know more so I connected them with my Publisher Pagina. After that Pagina was the one dealing with Gibbs Smith. I seldom take part of the actual deal making but I have contacted publishers to tell them about my books and publishers have contacted me but I always forward them to Pagina. Its better that they take care of the business things and I do the drawing. 😉

Maria: I was not involved in the acquisition process, it was between Pagina and Gibbs-Smith.

Emelie: My publisher handles all of those questions, with my consent.

Hanna, Maria, and Emelie are all currently working on new coloring books that will first publish in Sweden in October 2016.

** Magisk Gryning (Magical Dawn) by Hanna Karlzon
** Vivi söker en vän (Vivi’s Looking for a Friend) by Maria Trolle (full details here)
** Emelie Lidehäll Öberg is working on three books that have 20 pages each: (1) Ingen vanlig dag (No Ordinary Day) which is a postcard book of birthday cards, (2) Hem Ljuva Hem (Home Sweet Home) which is a size A4 poster book with quotes on thick perforated paper, and (3) En Sagolik Vinter (A Fairy Tale Winter) which is a postcard book full of Christmas and winter-themed designs.

As y’all know, Gibbs-Smith did pick up Magical Dawn and the English edition will release in the USA (and elsewhere around the world) in March 2017. At the time of this post, Gibbs-Smith has not announced that they have picked up Maria or Emelie’s forthcoming coloring books.


Day Dreams (Dagdrömmar), Summer Nights (Sommarnatt), and Winter Dreams (Vinterdrömmar) by Hanna Karlzon will release on August 9, 2016 in the USA and elsewhere around the world:

**For those of you in the USA, Hanna’s books are listed right here on Amazon USA.

** For those of you in the Canada, Hanna’s books are listed right here on Amazon CANADA.

** For those of you in the UK, Hanna’s books are listed right here on Amazon UK. Please note that for whatever reason the books are listed as having a release date of July 2, 2016 and this is incorrect. The books will release on August 9, 2016.

** For those of you in other places, Hanna’s books are listed right here on Book Depository. Please note that for whatever reason the books are listed as having a release date of July 2, 2016 and this is incorrect. The books will release on August 9, 2016.

** Also don’t forget that Rachel said that Gibbs-Smith has “…distributors around the world that help us get our books to bookstores and booksellers…” So hopefully y’all will be able to pop into your local bookstore and pick-up the books in person.


Where to pre-order and buy the books by Hanna, Maria, and Emelie that Gibbs-Smith will publish in March 2017. These books will release in the USA and around the world on the same date.  

Start stalking checking the Amazon sites and Book Depository around October 1 if you want to pre-order — you know you do!!

Once the on-sale date in March arrives, you should be able to pop into your local book store and pick-up the books in person since Rachel said that from Gibbs-Smith has “…distributors around the world that help us get our books to bookstores and booksellers…”

Hanna Karlzon: Summer Nights Artist Edition | Summer Nights Postcards | Magical Dawn Hardcover coloring book | Magical Dawn Artist Edition | Magical Dawn Postcards

Maria Trolle: Twilight Garden (published in Sweden as Blomster Mandala) Hardcover Coloring Book | Twilight Garden Artist Edition | Twilight Garden Postcards

Emelie Lidehäll Öberg: Fairy Tale Coloring Book (published in Sweden as Sagolikt)

Where to buy the Swedish editions if you cannot wait until March 2017 (or August 9) for the English editions:

If you want the books NOW, the Swedish editions of Hanna, Maria, and Emelie’s books are all available at Pen Store — a retail and online shop based out of Sweden that ships worldwide. Another place to pick up their books is at Bokus — an online shop based out of Sweden that ships internationally but not worldwide. Unfortunately, Bokus does not ship to the USA but does ship to many other countries including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Spain, and the UK.

When ordering from Pen Store and Bokus be alert and careful as there are different formats for Hanna and Maria’s books. There are coloring books (Målarbok), Artist Editions (Tavelbok), and postcard collections (Vykort). When in doubt, use google translate to help!


US publisher Gibbs-Smith: website | facebook | twitter

Hanna Karlzon: website | facebook | instagram

Daydreams Colouring (fans of Hanna Karlzon) facebook group

Hanna Karlzon’s Colouring Club facebook group

Maria Trolle: website | facebook | instagram

The Blomstermandala Colorists facebook group

Maria Trolle’s Coloring Creations facebook group

Emelie Lidehäll Öberg: website | facebook | instagram | | blog

Swedish publisher Pagina Förlag: websitefacebook | instagram

Well y’all, that’s it! Wow, that was a lot of words! And I’m happy if you made it all the way to the end! I hope you enjoyed reading this post and found it exciting and informative! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think!  

Can’t get enough inside sneak peeks of those Swedish coloring books? While I haven’t had the opportunity to review the Swedish editions of Hanna Karlzon’s books, I have posted a review and interview with Emelie Lidehäll Öberg, the artist for Sagolikt right here as well as posted a review for Blomster Mandala by Maria Trolle right here. Both reviews include lots of interior page previews and I also did a silent video-flick through for Sagolikt.

Thanks for stopping by — consider following my blog so you don’t miss any of my new posts! The follow button is located near the top right of the page, directly below the search box – if you are on a mobile device the follow button is likely at the very bottom of this post or at the very bottom of my homepage.


Text below re-posted with permission of Hanna Karlzon. You can see Hanna’s original post on facebook right here.

“UPDATE! So, I have been getting questions if the English books now are available to order since you now can find them “available” at Book Depository. And, I will try to update you here. I have talked to my US publisher, Gibbs Smith and this is the info they gave me: Yes, the books has been printed and has arrived in Gibbs Smiths warehouse/stock and they have been starting to ship these out to retailers around the globe. Yaaaay! 🙂

The books to Amazon UK has been shipped out but it takes a few weeks to get by boat to the UK.

The books for Amazon US will be available at 9 August (they can’t ship them sooner or Amazon will charge them for that, they have to keep the set date).

The books for the US distributors has been sent out so they soon can start selling to retailers/stores around the US.

The books for the Canadian distributor will be shipped and available at 9 August.

And then, Book Depository, they can buy their books from any distributor they choose and most likely they have gotten their books from an US distributor and have decided to start selling early, pre release date.

So, it seems like you might get your books early, if you order from Book Depository, but I don’t have any more info than that, that’s all I know. Dates can change back and forth (and there is nothing I can do about that) but I’m keeping my fingers crossed that you will get your books soon!”


8 thoughts on “US publisher Gibbs-Smith talks about the acquisition process for the coloring books by Swedish artists Hanna Karlzon, Maria Trolle, and Emelie Lidehäll Öberg

  1. Lucy says:

    WOW! What a lot of exciting news and what a fascinating insight into the world of book acquisition and publishing. I’m so excited to hear that so many Swedish books will be brought to the masses, the four I have are just stunning so I can’t wait to get my hands on more! Thanks for a wonderful post, so informative and interesting to read, I hope August hurries up!

  2. Janis Percy says:

    I really enjoyed your article & I was very pleased to finally find out about my preorder. I didn’t go to the publisher’s web site but I did keep checking ‘my account’ at Amazon to see when they would be arriving. All it said was ‘pending’. I can relax now knowing it won’t be until August. Thank You.

    • Beth says:

      Janis, thank you so much for leaving me a comment and I am so glad to hear that you enjoyed my article. And yes, no worries about your pre-order — the English editions of Hanna’s books release August 9 in the USA and around the world. It is such a shame that Amazon UK and Book Depository are displaying the wrong information because it’s causing (and rightly, so!) confusion and concern.

  3. That was a really interesting article!
    I already have all the Swedish versions, but I have a lot of friends that don’t have the money (or the means or don’t want to invest so much) to buy them. It’s really expensive to get them here in Brazil.
    It’ll be really easy with the US versions, since we can already pre order them in Amazon Brasil.
    Thanks again for all the information! 😘

    • Beth says:

      Lilian, thanks for your comment and I’m glad you found my article very interesting 🙂 I am so glad that your friends in Brazil will be able to order Hanna, Maria, and Emelie’s coloring books directly from Amazon Brazil — so exciting, especially since shipping rates will be so reasonable!

  4. Tammy says:

    Do you know approximately how much shipping is from the pen store to the US? (Also, Beth, I think it is really, really, REALLY mean for you to show us books that it will be nearly impossible to obtain-such as the small book of designs from the four different books. Stop it! Lol. I’d almost rather NOT hear about them. Lol..)

    • Beth says:

      Tammy, I’m sorry but I don’t know how much shipping is from PenStore to the USA as the very few Swedish coloring books I have, as you know, came directly from the publisher, Pagina Forlag.

      I did just add a random book to my PenStore shopping cart but it seems that you do have to input your credit card information before shipping rates are shown.

      However, there are definitely people in the coloring groups on facebook that have ordered from PenStore — you might could post a question in any of the coloring groups you are in. If you would like me to post your question to my I SNIFF BOOKS facebook page, just let me know 🙂

      And oh that small book of designs that contained the art from four different Swedish coloring books (Lilla Mindfulness Malarboken) — I sat on that review for weeks and weeks. I was so torn about sharing it for the exact reason you mentioned — near impossible to obtain in the USA — which is why there was such a long postscript after my review. But as you know, Swedish coloring books have already arrived in the USA and more are coming in March 2017!!

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