Publishing Trends: the Year of the Adult Colouring Book

Nov 16, 2015

A publishing industry trend is hard to predict. Who could have known that a boy wizard would take the world by storm, or that Fifty Shades would bring erotica further into the mainstream than ever before? Once a strong book trend takes hold, its effect on the marketplace is undeniable. Adult colouring books are the latest industry craze, and signs are pointing to continued growth through Christmas and beyond.


Our client Nicole Stocker has made a creative new contribution to the colouring book genre: her Huelish series offers greyscale photographs that are meant to be coloured over, rather than shapes that are meant to be coloured in. The first book, Beautiful Creatureswas just released, and early response has been excellent. Working with Nicole, we became immersed in this exciting new area, and we began to consider why this trend is taking off in such a remarkable way.




The physicality of the experience

After years of rapid growth in ebook sales, print books are making a resurgence and people are seeking ways to unplug from their devices. Perhaps it should come as no surprise that the book-as-object holds great appeal right now. Adult colouring books – especially those with high production values and special features, such as those found in Beautiful Creatures – also make great gifts, so we should see the full impact of their market dominance through December.


Stress relief

People find colouring to be calming and meditative – even therapeutic, as many reader comments suggest. This has sparked discussions and criticism by therapists who posit that colouring isn’t meditation or therapy, and it’s launched a trend among authors and publishers to produce books that are explicit about this benefit, such as the Colour Yourself Calm series.


The collective experience

People have always loved to gather around books. Literary festivals and book clubs are a testament to that. Adult colouring book groups and meet-ups are popping up with great frequency, and bookstores are getting in the game by hosting their own colouring book parties. In addition to in-person meet-ups, the digital landscape offers plenty of opportunities for avid colourists to connect online. It’s become common practice for colouring book fans to share their work and compare notes on social media sites.

There are likely many more reasons why this particular trend is taking root. Like our clients, colleagues and fellow book-lovers, we appreciate any trend that gets people into bookstores and helps to keep the industry flourishing.