Friday, June 3, 2016

Adult Coloring Books and the Disruption Economy

Who would have thought?
In 2015, three of the best selling books of the year were adult colouring books. In Canada it was 5 of the top 10 including the top 2.
Various people have offered various theories explaining this, but the fact is that nobody anticipated this, certainly not the publishers. This is from an article on the economic uncertainty created by unanticipated innovations. Some innovations are hi tech, but not all of them.

Via Marginal Revolution.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

"The New Yorker speculated it was about adults returning to their youth."

I think they're missing the mark here. I don't think this is about people returning to their youths - I think this is about the current generation of young people who are growing into adults, and rejecting the traditional notion that you must proverbially "put away childish things".

I think a lot of young people becoming adults today simply don't buy into the same philosophies of what is "age appropriate" anymore. A lot of younger adults these days still unabashedly love the things they did when they were kids - comic books, video games, cartoons, et cetera.

And I also don't think this is a particularly new phenomenon, either. Parallels can be drawn with prior historical periods, from soldiers in Vietnam and World War II bringing their popular culture with them into the field of battle (carrying comic books with them, painting jackets and vehicles with cartoon characters, et cetera), to the Flappers of the 1920s building an entire identity around a combination of emerging sexuality and a rejection of "age appropriate" behaviors.

I think the easiest way to figure this out would be to look at the data on who exactly are buying these coloring books? I doubt they're popular with the middle aged or senior crowds, but I can easily picture this being something of a fad among many 20 or 30 somethings.