According to the Wall Street Journal, “eight of the top 20 selling books on Amazon currently are coloring books designed for adults.” But publishers aren’t stopping at coloring books—the WSJ’s James Hagerty and Jeffrey Trachtenberg report that Hachette is prepping two adult-connect-the-dots books for release in early 2016. This year, the publishing trend pieces have all been about how coloring books are buoying the publishing industry and saving print—next year, they might be about the inevitable decline of adult coloring books and the incredible rise of adult connect-the-dots books. Or maybe just about the infantilization of American culture and the rise of adult board books and adult sticker books and adult license plate game books.
The publishing industry has never shied away from actively (perhaps desperately) capitalizing on trends—crop rotation may be the healthiest long-term model for publishers, but the big ones have never seen a monoculture they didn’t love. (Until they exhaust it.) For now though, adult coloring books are the cash cow and they’re paying for a lot of better (and some worse) books that don’t sell. For now.
Read Laura Marsh on the subversive adult coloring books of the 1960s here.