Adults pick up their crayons and drive retail sales
Adult coloring books (yes, that’s a thing) are becoming a big deal in publishing circles and it may soon become even bigger as Marvel Comics joins the category.
For background, a recent search on Amazon by RetailWire found four of the top 10 best selling books listed on the site were adult coloring books. The process of coloring, something most give up during childhood, is currently being promoted as a stress-buster for adults. Two of the books on Amazon’s top 10 played up the therapeutic angle in their titles: "Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns" and "Balance (Angie’s Extreme Stress Menders Volume 1)."
An article in The New Yorker recently made the case that the psychological underpinning for adult coloring books is our human need for play. Studies have shown a correlation between the amount of time we play as kids and our emotional health as we become adults. While it may not make up for being deprived of playtime as children, adults can still relieve stress with the simple act of coloring, whether it’s within the lines or not.
Regardless of the why, adult coloring books are hot sellers. Amy Yodanis, who heads up marketing for Quarto Publishing, said the publisher of "Adult Coloring Book: Stress Relieving Patterns" will produce 1.3 million coloring books this year, according to an Associated Press report.
"We cannot print them fast enough," Ms. Yodanis told the AP. "We are getting orders of 60,000 at one time from some of our biggest retailers."
Marvel, which has made billions with the leap from comic books to movies, toys, games and other merchandise, is also getting in on the adult coloring book act.
"Around the world there are several other coloring books for adults hitting the bestseller lists and with Marvel being the premier graphic storytelling medium, now is the perfect time for us to join this latest book market trend," said David Gabriel, SVP sales and marketing, Marvel, in a statement last month. "With Marvel’s Adult Coloring books, fans can add their own personal style to classic Marvel stories. This truly is a way for fans of all ages to be a part of the creative process and bring their personal artistic style to these epic Marvel events."
Marvel has four adult coloring books planned, including two Avengers titles, "Age of Ultron" in October 2015 and "Civil War" (April 2016), as well as "Little Marvel by Scottie Young" (February 2016). The company is also looking to cash in with a new "Color Your Own Deadpool" adult title in January 2016 ahead of the first Deadpool movie starring Ryan Reynolds, which will have its theatrical release in February.
- Amazon’s Best Sellers
- Why Adults Are Buying Coloring Books (For Themselves) – The New Yorker (tiered sub.)
- Trendy but calm: Adult coloring books selling like crazy – The Associated Press/The Gazette
- Add a Splash of Color to Your Favorite Marvel Comics – Marvel Comics
- Deadpool Movie Trailer – TrailerSearch/YouTube
How can retailers best take advantage of the adult coloring book craze? Are there wider opportunities for retailers in terms of merchandising?