Saturday, April 02, 2016

Coloring Books to Fill in 80% of Book Trade Sales

Shelf Awareness

With the soaring growth in coloring book sales--jumping to 12 million units in 2015 from one million units in 2014--industry experts are predicting that coloring books could make up as much as 80% of the total book trade by 2020. This will have consequences as far-reaching as those predicted five years ago when the industry was about to become all-digital.

"A small subset of people may keep conventional books around for sentimental reasons, or for the sake of displaying them on their bookshelves, but the average book buyer will consume only coloring books," concluded a recently published Book Industry Study Group report. Conventional books may also assume a role something like the current status of vinyl records in the music industry--enjoyed and in some cases preferred by enthusiasts, but impractical and not used by the average consumer.

In order to stay relevant, bricks-and-mortar stores will have to dedicate an increasingly large amount of retail space to coloring books, as well as colored pencils, markers and crayons, and remove increasingly unnecessary sections like literature, poetry and history. The traditional author event as we know it may go extinct, replaced by group coloring sessions.

The implications of the coloring book craze are making some book people see red. "I thought it was neat at first," said one independent bookseller, who wished to remain anonymous. "The Game of Thrones coloring book made a fun Christmas gift. But this is too much."

In yet another sign of how coloring books are changing the industry, F+W is redrawing Digital Book World. As of next year, it will be called Coloring Book World and have all the "panels, roundtable discussions and networking opportunities that publishers need to survive and thrive in the coloring revolution." --Alex Mutter

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