In the next year, at least three publishers are making deeper commitments to the crafting category. World Book Media, a book packager and publisher distributed by Legato, has been working with craft publishers in Asia since 2008. Its new Zakka Workshop line translates Japanese crafting titles into English, and also offers related needlecraft patterns, kits, and notions.
Forthcoming Zakka Workshop titles include Cattastic Crafts by Mariko Ishiwaka (Sept.) and Happy Flower Quilts by Atsuko Matsuyama (Dec.). “Crafters still like books—the physicality, the pictures—even though they’re digitally savvy,” says Lindsay Fair, editor at Zakka Workshop. “There are already a lot of really lovely Japanese titles there—why create something from scratch?”
For Zakka publisher Genia Patestides, the success of the idea will hinge on the highly specific interest of a crafting subgroup. “There’s this community in the crafting arena that’s obsessed with Japanese books,” she says. “They’ll spend $50 to order one from Japan that they can’t even read.”
Interpreting these titles for U.S. crafters is rigorous, often requiring a lot of filling-in-the-blanks—Japanese craft titles frequently give directions for a fraction of a project, then leave the rest for readers to figure out on their own. “People here would skin you alive for that,” Patestides says.
Atria is also launching a craft-specific imprint, Make It by Hand, in spring 2017. The first list will consist of four books: Papercut Wilderness by Sarah Dennis, Paperscapes New England by Lee Bruce, The Vintage Coloring & Craft Book by Lisa Hughes, and One-Sheet Sculpture by Shobhana Patel.
All four titles aim to appeal to people who have jumped on the coloring trend, and take them “one step further into the crafting world” by offering a “younger, Instagrammable aesthetic,” says Jhanteigh Kupihea, senior editor at Atria. Vintage Coloring can be cut apart to make secondary projects such as gift tags and party invites; Kupihea envisions the end results of the other three titles adorning homes and offices, thanks to their nostalgic appeal.
Paperscapes, for example, allows crafters to color and cut out a village scene. “We see that doing well around the holidays,” says Kupihea. “I grew up putting Christmas cottages on the sideboard with my mom, and we’re playing into that idea.”
Papercraft is also central to a new partnership between Workman Publishing and the Dutch magazine Flow. Flow, with editions in several languages, is an interactive lifestyle publication that offers articles on mindfulness, liberally interspersed with what its editors call “goodies”: coloring and sketch pages, stickers, wrapping paper, templates, detachable craft-instruction booklets, and a variety of DIY project suggestions.
In spring and fall 2017, Workman will publish three Flow-related products: a calendar, an inspirational gift book, and The Book That Takes Its Time by magazine founders Astrid van der Hulst and Irene Smit. The last is sourced from 12 English-language editions of Flow and packed full of those “goodies.”
“There’s going to be a feeling of indulgence as you flip through,” says Megan Nicolay, senior editor at Workman. “But more than that, it’s going to be about fun. The whole adult coloring book craze unleashed the notion that adults still like to play, and this will be about encouraging that.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this article referred to Ingram, not Legato, as World Book Media's distributor.