True Colors

The anticipated melding of adult coloring books and licensing is starting to happen in a big way.

In last week’s Nielsen Bookscan bestseller list, three of the top five and 12 of the top 25 titles were adult coloring books. Game of Thrones and Outlander—both published by Bantam that week—ranked as number 3 and number 4 overall. Similarly, Amazon’s bestseller ranking (for the same day the Nielsen list came out) showed that seven of the top 20 bestselling books were adult coloring titles, including Scholastic’s Harry Potter at number 3.

Other properties that have entered the category or are set to during the rest of 2015 and 2016 include Candy Crush (Grand Central Publishing), Star Wars and Disney Princess (Disney Editions), Dr. Who (Price Stern Sloan), Tolkien’s World (Thunder Bay Press), and Sherlock (Harper Design), among others.

Entertainment/character properties are the highest-profile examples to date, but others—especially artists—are also signing adult coloring book deals. Valentina, for example, represented for licensing by MGL in the U.K., recently signed Studio Oh! for a coloring book and Te Neues for a Color Your Year art activity calendar.

Meanwhile, U.K. publisher Redan launched a monthly adult coloring magazine called CALM Colour Create and is offering that brand and its associated designs for outbound licensing in categories such as apparel, stationery, personal care, textiles, and home goods.

For more on licensed publishing trends, sign up for Publisher’s Weekly’s free e-newsletter, Children’s Bookshelf, where Karen Raugust’s periodic “Licensing Hotline” column appears. View a list of Karen’ recent PW licensing features and columns here.

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