Inside the Book People

The secret to academic success? Colouring in!

New research that we at Book People have conducted has identified the UK’s biggest colouring-in hot spots – and it looks like it’s a university affair, with Oxford and Cambridge residents top the list of crayon wielding adults.


The findings, based on how many adult colouring books were purchased on average per person over the past eight months, found that the battle of universities is not only restricted to league tables or boat races, but crayoning too. With Oxford topping the list of colouring in cities, closely followed by Newcastle and their mortal opponents, Cambridge.

Over the past year we’ve been amazed by the rapid growth in popularity of adult colouring books. With recent reports showing that a shortage in colouring pencils could be on the horizon, it seems the trend for colouring in is only getting bigger. It’s surprising to see Oxbridge so high in the colouring rankings, we can only assume the next Stephen Hawking is colour coding their crayons in between their theoretical cosmology lectures!


Of the types of adult colouring books the public are purchasing, patterns, animals and nature were the most popular niches, with two thirds (66%) of people choosing one of those genres.

It also seems the popularity of The Great British Bake Off has had an impact on our colouring preferences, particularly in Cardiff where 12% of all colouring books purchased were cake related.

In Cambridge, it looks like academic types could be busy shading in Brad Pitt’s cheekbones, with 10% of all colouring books bought on the topic of famous faces.

Speaking of why Oxbridge may have come so high in the colouring rankings, Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of Oxford Open Learning Trust, commented: “For students in a high pressured academic environment such as Oxford or Cambridge colouring is the perfect means of relaxation.

“Adult colouring books are not only a great way to engage your creative side, but they encourage users to take a break from technology and the stresses of daily life – so we couldn’t recommend them more highly for any students needing some ‘me-time’.”

Mali Lewis, a postgraduate from Leeds Beckett University, used colouring books as a means of relaxation in her final year of university: “Studying for my finals was an intense time, with dissertation hand-in just around the corner, I often turned to colouring as a way to detach myself from work and unwind. I love any of the books by Millie Marotta – her illustrations are so calming, you can get lost in them for hours.”



All figures based on sales data from Book People, from July 2015 to March 2016.

The UK’s top ten colouring cities:

Newcastle upon Tyne


Most popular colouring in genres:

Genre Percentage of people who’ve bought this genre of colouring book from Book People
Patterns 23%
Animals 23%
Nature 20%
Urban 10%
Cake 5%
Famous Faces 4%


The top 10 Roald Dahl quotes from The BFG

We love Roald Dahl books here at Book People, and with excitement high among Dahl fans due to the release of Steven Spielberg and Disney’s adaptation of The BFG, we thought we would run through our top ten Roald Dahl quotes from The BFG book.

Have we included your favourite quote, or perhaps we have these Roald Dahl quotes in the incorrect order? Join the conversation over on Facebook or tweet us @thebookpeople and let us know your thoughts.



















And number 1…


Do you know a young reader (or an older one for that matter!) who loves Roald Dahl? Our 15-book Roald Dahl Collection offers unbelievable savings of over £70 off RRP.

“If I were a giant…” children’s drawings


A family of giant friends? One giant eye? An infinite supply of cupcakes?

These are just some of the creative responses we received when asking a year two class to describe what they’d do if they were a giant.

To celebrate the release of Disney’s upcoming adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, we wanted to really get into the creative spirit. So we decided to ask a class of six- to seven-year-olds to tell us what they’d look like, and what they’d do if they suddenly found themselves to be of giant proportions. And from helping people celebrate their birthdays to creating some pretty wacky flavours of ice cream all the live long day, we were totally blown away with the imaginative responses!

The class gave their giant selves some pretty awesome features too. Some highlights include long rainbow hair, the ability to change colour when eating cherries, and huge fluffy wings! You can find a collage of the creative designs just below:


Inspired by the children’s creative minds, we’ve brought a couple of our favourite designs to life. Just below you’ll find Phoebe Finneran’s exceptionally huge giant, complete with horns, spots and the ability to lift houses; as well as James Hirst’s creative creature, with six arms, one enormous eye and unmistakably huge ears – brilliant!


Phoebe Finneran, 2016


James Hirst, 2016

Mrs Greenbank, a year two teacher at St Patrick’s Catholic Primary School in Birstall tells us just how much the children loved this project: “The children really enjoyed designing their own giants and it was amazing to see the different traits of each one. 

We have always enjoyed reading Roald Dahl books here at school, especially The BFG as all the children love how creative the story is and how he plays around with language and makes up new words.

Roald Dahl’s The BFG tells the heart-warming story of young Sophie, and her adventures with the BFG (Big Friendly Giant, for those that are unfamiliar). Sophie soon learns that the BFG is a one-of-a-kind, and from snozzcumbers to whizzpoppers, the film follows the trials and tribulations they must face in order to avoid the not-so-friendly giants out there – all with the imaginative language and creative twists you can expect from Roald Dahl.

If your children would like to try their hand at drawing their own terrifying (or not-so-terrifying) giant, download our template below and get creative!


Would you like to introduce your child to the magic of Roald Dahl? If so, check out our full range HERE.

Now our bookshelves are even BIGGER…

At Book People, we take great pride in offering products you love at prices you won’t believe – and have done for over 25 years. Our hand-picked favourites have always been at the heart of our promise to our customers, but now our bookshelves are even BIGGER


From now on when you shop for books online with Book People, you will be able to discover something new every day. We’ve extended our range of books to bring you an even wider selection of titles from all your favourite authors – so whatever the book, whoever the author, you’re sure to find it with us at a competitive price!

And that’s not all… Our in-house experts have been busy curating our exciting new book bucket lists, to provide you with a comprehensive selection of different books you have to read in your lifetime. From books to make you cry to book club favourites, from page to screen, classics for children and much, much more, these are the top books we think every readers has to add to their collection.

With their influence and legacy on history and culture, these books are perfect for literature lovers and will help you bolster your bookshelf.

Love and Romance for all Tastes
Romance book bucket list love storyFrom Katie Fforde to E.L. James, there is something romantic for every taste. From the best traditional romantic novels to tales of heartbreak and books for those who prefer something racier, there’s a romance book for every kind of reader.



Best Books to Read in a Lifetime
John Steinbeck, best books, best books of all time, book bucket listThese are the most important books of all time, written by authors including John Steinbeck, Ernest Hemingway and Hunter S. Thompson. With so many great books you must read, our Best Books to Read in a Lifetime book bucket list features the books that have inspired, entertained and taught generations of readers. Among the fiction books are the best novels of all time.


Book Club Favourites
Book Club Book, Paula Hawkins, The Girl on the Train, Book Bucket ListThese are the books everyone likes to talk about. Whether it’s their twists, controversies or characters, they will inspire fierce debate. With novels that inspire discussion and debate, our book bucket list of Book Club Favourites is perfect for when you want to choose the right book for your next gathering. Our recommended books are must-reads that contain something for everyone.


Books to Make You Cry
Atonement, Sad books, Books to make you cry, new booksTry and hold back the tears as you read through some of the saddest stories of all time including Atonement, Room and Wuthering Heights. Tearjerkers, tragedies and hugely emotional stories feature in our book bucket list of Books to Make You Cry. Among the sad books to read are love stories and devastating tales that will bring you to tears and evoke all kinds of feelings.


Books to Make You Laugh
From laugh-out-loud funny to riotous romps, these books range from witty observations on real life from the likes of Bill Bryson to P.G. Wodehouse’s farces. Quirky, funny and hilarious, the novels featured in our book bucket list for Books to Make You Laugh will delight you with their humorous plots and crazy characters. Among the laugh-out-loud comedy books are some completely madcap adventures.


Classic Love Stories 
Romeo and Juliet, book bucket list, classic love storyFor all the romantics out there, this list features timeless tales including Romeo and Juliet, Anna Karenina and Sense and Sensibility. Our book bucket list of Classic Love Stories features the best romantic novels of all time. These romance books are full of heart-warming stories that show love conquers all. They are must-read books for anyone who loves romantic fiction.


Coming-of-age Books
The Kite Runner, Coming of age books, Coming of age novels, book bucket listThe Reader, David Copperfield and The Kite Runner all focus on impending adulthood and are all featured in this compelling list. Our book bucket list of Coming-of-age Books features the best books ever written about growing up. With themes of entering adulthood and finding yourself, these are our favourite coming-of-age stories and they’re widely regarded as classics.


Cosy Crime Books to Curl Up With
MC Beaton, Death of a Nurse, Cosy Crime, Book Bucket ListWith quirky detectives, village mysteries and murder with manners, this hand-picked list is perfect for those who like crime with none of the gory details. The light crime stories often feature lovable characters, quirky cases and humorous situations. They’re brilliant for crime fans.



From Page to Screen
Jaws, from page to screen, books, fiction, book bucket listYou’ll know how many books have been adapted into films and TV shows and here you can read them all – from compelling drama like The Night Manager to the novels that inspired award-winning films including Room. You will have seen them on the screen, now read the novels that inspired the adaptations in our book bucket list for From Page to Screen. Featuring bestselling books that have been turned into movies, this is a contemporary list for fiction readers.


Sci-fi and Fantasy Books
Best science fiction and fantasy books, A Game of Thrones, George RR Martin, Book Bucket ListThis out-of-this-world list will keep any sci-fi reader gripped. It includes The Handmaid’s Tale. A Game of Thrones and books written by Neil Gaiman. Our book bucket list of Sci-fi and Fantasy Books showcases the top fiction books by popular fantasy authors and science fiction writers. Among the classic stories are the best sci-fi and fantasy from the world’s finest fantasy and sci-fi authors.


Best Classic Books of All Time
George Orwell, 1984, classic novels, best books, best classic books, Book Bucket ListsThe Great Gatsby, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Jane Eyre… the list goes on. You’ll have heard of every single one of these books and may have even studied them in detail. Now’s the time to pour yourself a brew and delve into one for your own reading pleasure. Our book bucket list for the Best Classic Books of All Time features the classic books that everyone should read. Featuring the greatest novels ever written, there are books from the best authors of all time and modern classics to enjoy.



Fascinating Facts About Sherlock Holmes

Blog_PromoBanner_576x245_SherlockHolmesOn this day in 1859, the man who was to bring the world its most beloved fictional detective, Sherlock Holmes, was born in Edinburgh, Scotland. First appearing in print as far back as 1887, Sherlock Holmes has been synonymous with intellect, problem solving and a knack for stating the obvious (in the wonderfully sarcastic isles of Britain, anyway!).

So, to celebrate the great man’s birthday and his most famous creation, we have collected together our favourite facts about Sherlock Holmes which we’re sure you’ll have never heard.

Sherlock Holmes is the second most portrayed movie character in history
That’s right! Not the first, not the third – our dear Sherlock is merely the runner-up, the silver medallist. Having been portrayed by over 90 (90?!) actors on both the big and small screen, and starring in over 292 movies and TV shows (well, according to IMDb), Sherlock comes in an honourable second place to Bram Stoker’s gothic behemoth, Dracula, in terms of on-screen representations.

Sherlock Holmes Actors


Only one Sherlock Holmes story wasn’t set in the Victorian or Edwardian periods
We will have all noticed the period backdrop to the stories of Sherlock Holmes. But in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s later collections of Sherlock Holmes short stories, the legendary detective is catching spies for British intelligence agencies, finally retiring and spending his days beekeeping – ahh!

victorian sherlock


Sherlock Holmes’s parents are never mentioned in any of his stories
Not one mention – imagine being poor Roger and Daphne Holmes (presumed names!). You would be livid, right?! Though he was never the sentimental sort, the only mention of Sherlock Holmes’s family in any of the Sherlock stories (apart from his brother, Mycroft) is in reference to his ancestors.

sherlock parents


Sherlock Holmes never said “Elementary, my dear Watson”
”Elementary” – yes. “My dear Watson” – but of course. The time-old combination of the two phrases, however – never once did it leave his lips. This, though, didn’t stop it becoming a huge part of popular culture and part of Sherlockian folk law. If you’re interested, it was apparently first uttered in the 1929 Clive Brook film The Return of Sherlock Holmes.

sherlock elementary


Sherlock wasn’t always going to be called Sherlock
Did you know he was almost named Sherrinford – just as great a name for a sleuth, or we think so anyway. The name Sherlock comes from (or so the tale goes) a combination of the names of two Nottinghamshire cricketers: Mortdecai Sherwin and Joseph Shacklock. Doyle himself was a keen (and talented) cricketer, so we’d like to think this is the true origin of Sherlock Holmes’s name.

sherlock signature


The name Sherlock Holmes is a little more popular than you think…
According to a number of different sources, at the time of writing this there are 9 people in the UK sporting the name Sherlock Holmes. But that’s nothing compared to the US, where there are 34 lucky beggars signing their cheques with the famous sleuth’s name. But that’s nothing – in the 1911 Census, one entry from a family lists the names of two of their children as Sherlock and Mycroft Holmes. Now THAT’S dedication!

sherlock name


Sherlock used some detective techniques before real detectives did
Fingerprints – Sherlock. Identification of a suspect by their typewriter – Sherlock. Identifying blood stains – Sherlock. Gauging gunshot firing distance – do we need to go on..? In each of these cases, the great detective used his powers of deduction and scientific prowess to pioneer techniques before they were official used by police.

sherlock experiments

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