Home » Bookstores » Adult Coloring Books: Black Ink for the Industry

Adult Coloring Books: Black Ink for the Industry

24 March 2016

From Shelf Awareness:

Adult coloring books apparently are indelible. A year after Shelf Awareness’s last roundup, sales in the coloring category are still soaring, alongside the number of titles on offer, from one million units sold in 2014 to 12 million last year, and 300 titles in 2014 to 2,000 in 2015, according to Nielsen BookScan.

Booksellers confirm the boom. At Bank Square Books, Mystic, Conn., “adult coloring books were crazy in 2015,” said owner Annie Philbrick. “They’re coded under Art, and that section’s sales increased from $6,969 in 2014 to $23,213 in 2015. Total units sold increased from 300 in 2014 to 1,300 in 2015.”

. . . .

Publishers of all stripes, even university presses, are making their marks on the genre, leading, perhaps, to the first cramps of coloring fatigue.

“The coloring books are still doing well for us, though with the amount available I have to be careful not to over-order,” said Jill Hendrix, owner of Fiction Addiction, Greenville, S.C.

“Our coloring book section is overflowing; I can’t fit another book,” said Diane Holcomb, book buyer at East West Bookshop, Mountain View, Calif. “I’ve stopped ordering frontlist coloring books unless there’s something unique about them, due to space constraints.”

. . . .

Hutchinson, of Byrd’s Books, said her store holds “monthly coloring nights at the arts center across the street. We supply the materials and food, and folks bring their beverage. We have date nights, ladies meeting for fun and singles–so we really have fun, relaxing, colorful evenings!”

“We offered two coloring book events in our store, one for adults and one for children,” said Holcomb of East West. “The only event that had participants was the one for adults!”

. . . .

Other publishers are looking for the next children’s-turned-adult crafting activity. Little, Brown released two connect-the-dots titles in March (Dot-to-Dot: Journeys and Dot-to-Dot: Nature). Barron’s released one in February (Ultimate Dot-to-Dot) and one in March (Extreme Dot-to-Dot). Ulysses Press will publish Calming Dot-to-Dot in September. In February, Dover continued its popular Creative Haven series (12 million copies sold) with Wild Animals Dot-to-Dot, which doubles as a coloring book once the dots are connected.

Link to the rest at Shelf Awareness

Coloring nights for singles?

PG is very pleased to say he hasn’t been single for a long, long time. From what he can remember about being single, he thinks a monthly singles coloring night would have been way, way down his list of ways to spend an evening. Somewhere near cleaning out the gutters and reorganizing his file drawers.


15 Comments to “Adult Coloring Books: Black Ink for the Industry”

  1. In February, Dover continued its popular Creative Haven series (12 million copies sold) with Wild Animals Dot-to-Dot, which doubles as a coloring book once the dots are connected.

    Next step: selling pads of blank paper.

  2. I don’t know, PG. I’d rather do almost anything than cleaning out gutters. Reorganizing file drawers can actually be fun though.

    • Ditto. Reorganizing files is a relaxing distraction. That, and I didn’t realize people cleaned the gutters. Mine are just scenery to me.

      • Rearranging my checks & financial odds & ends drawer saved me from at least 2000 words of new fiction yesterday. OTOH that particular procrastination destination is now defanged.

        • Exactly, that’s what I meant about relaxing: I can relax and write once I take away the “to-do list” distractions.

          To think, as a child my parents tried in vain to get me to clean my room. They should have just told me to go write instead.

    • To each her own, Sarah. If a piece of paper makes its way into a file drawer, that’s all it can ever expect of me.

  3. I can’t say that I’d have any desire to color in public, but as a young adult/college I’d buy those huge posters to color and get water color pencils so I could blend the colors. It was the closest thing to meditation I ever had.

    I look at them now and I’m tempted, but I need to be writing, no space to lay them out, and my color pencils are long gone. But maybe someday, when I’m retired ~starts laughing~ and I find a pot of gold under the rainbow.

  4. I’ve got to admit this surprises me, and I speak as someone who jumps on just about every paper-crafting related bandwagon that comes along. I really thought this would be a short-lived trend, and that soon I will be able to go back finding my favorite paper-crafting magazine without having to dig through coloring books on the newsstand first.

  5. If I would be single and have a chance to color books and meet single women, I’d be there.

  6. And of course trad-pub nurtures each of these pieces of art to be …

    Yeah, culture, not just jumping on any bandwagon that sells. 😉

  7. Since I’m an artist as well, I decided to publish one of those coloring books. Mine is “Abstract Dreams” and it contains my abstract drawings. Aside from the subject, selling it is another matter. Marketing and advertising is everything. If no one knows about my book, it does not exist. However, unlike the written books, coloring books address a very defined market of coloring enthusiasts. Now I’m doing basic marketing 101.

  8. I can probably list about twelve million things I’d rather do than coloring books…and I’m a “creative” type.

  9. “Calming Dot-to-Dot” — really? seriously?

    ETA: Yes, it appears, really.


    “Extreme dot-to-dot” and “Ultimate dot-to-dot” books are also available.

    Apparently they are a double-win, because you can color them in after doing the dots.

    I’ve changed my mind. It is, indeed, the apocalypse.

  10. I love adult coloring books. I love drawing them more than coloring them though. I have three out at the moment – ‘The Gardens of Quirly’, ‘The Women of Quirly’, and ‘The Men of Quirly’ – and I have ‘Coloring Fun: Mandalas’ and ‘Coloring Fun: Zentangles’ coming up in April. I hope the trend continues. It really is so much fun!

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.