I have to admit that I was pretty surprised to learn that a color book for adults is a #1 Amazon Best Seller. The color book in question is “Secret Garden” and, according to a great New York Times article by Alexandra Alter, “[s]ince its release in spring 2013, “Secret Garden” has sold more than 1.4 million copies in 22 languages.”
According to the article and the color book’s author, Johanna Basford, there is a robust market among adults who want to color. Its interesting that in this time of computer screens and digital play, one of the simplest and purest forms of play is appealing to adults who may find a Zen like peace in coloring within the lines. Or maybe they just like to color.
According to the article, some consumers purchase several books at a time so that they can experiment with different colors. We also learn that there are coloring circles in which adults get together and lay down colors.
She has certainly started something when publishers like Little, Brown are publishing color books. In fact, a check of Amazon and Barnes & Noble’s listings showed what appears to be hundreds of books categorized as “Adult Coloring Books.”
What can the toy and play industry learn? For one, the desire to engage in play and creativity are just as alive in adults as they are in children. Most importantly, toy retailers may want to step back and take a look at how they engage adults who want to play. I checked out the Toys R Us website and not only could I not find Ms. Basford’s books but could not find any adult color books at all.
As I have said many times, there is a huge adult market just waiting to be exploited. It surprises me that the toy industry in particular has been so slow to take advantage of it.