By Gerry Mulvaney, European Sales Manager, Landa Digital Printing
I must admit that there are but a few childhood hobbies and activities that I have carried with me to adulthood. I would number sport, boating and an obsession with mechanical things such as steam railways among them. But I certainly would not include colouring books. Filling in pre-printed outlines with paints and crayons might have been something that I indulged in when I was six. But not now, ten decades later.
I must be in a minority though because I learned recently that one of the most popular genres in adult book lists is colouring books. I was shocked to find that one of the most popular titles, “Secret Garden” by Scottish author Johanna Basford, has sold over 1.5 million copies since it was first published in 2013 and her latest book entitled “Enchanted Forest” has just sold out of its first 226,000 print run, according to Laurence King, Ms Basford’s publisher. So much so that the company has announced that it has now doubled the initial print run to cope with the demand.
Johanna herself explained on her website that “colouring books for adults have been popular for some time but it was a fairly underground hobby, it has recently become far more main stream and many of the titles in today’s best seller lists are some form of adult colouring books.”
Secret Garden has now been translated into fourteen languages and is apparently even outselling cookery books in France! The books are all lovingly hand drawn in pen and ink before being scanned for publication. Her spidery illustrations have caught the eye of brands such as Sony Nike and Absolut Vodka who have used them in their campaigns.
Hobby books jostle for shelf space and are a gift to the publishing industry
Such whimsical hobbies are a gift to the publishing industry which aims to satisfy even the most avant-garde interests of their customers. More mainstream titles such as “The Complete Gardeners Guide” and “Mary Berry Cooks the Perfect” jostle for shelf space alongside “British Railway Steam Locomotives 1948-1968” and “A Practical Guide to Tropical Aquarium Fish”. When you start to look there is an absolute cornucopia of abstract subjects covered – enough to satisfy even the most eclectic tastes.
New Printing Technologies Will Enable New Applications and Higher Profits for the Publishing Industry
Back to Ms Basford, who is in all probability not well versed in the latest print technology? It strikes me that if she was, one thing which would appeal to her in future would be the ability to print in very high definition onto a much wider range of substrates than before.
Because now it is possible to place ink on the surface of a substrate without penetrating even the most absorbent of paper and because it can be made to stick to virtually anything, there is a good chance that it could open up more choice in the texture and weight of available substrates, giving a richer experience for the reader to illustrate.
Landa NanoInk® colourants can be transferred to virtually any substrate
without penetrating even the most absorbent paper
Technology such as the Nanography® process will soon start to make even shorter runs profitable, and with more personalised versions becoming possible, perhaps we will hear of other unusual items becoming mainstream.