Adult Colouring In Books… really??

Normally, I wouldn’t even comment on this sort of thing, because whatever, if people want to do stuff, then so be it. I don’t mind people wanting to colour in, but geez… am I the only one who thinks this trend is getting outrageous? I’ve been watching with growing scepticism for a few months, and thought asking the very wonderful brains trust of my readers would help me gauge what others think of this madness trend!

I went to Dymocks the other day and right in the doorway was a massive display of colouring in books for adults. On their top sellers list, 5 of the 10 top sellers were various colouring books. The lady at the counter and I had a chat about it, and she was as bemused as I was about the whole thing. It’s not just in Australia either… if you go on The Book Depository’s home page, at least 4 of the 5 top sellers have been these colouring in books. It seems insane!

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I totally get where the idea comes from, and mindfulness is a fantastic idea. I totally get how people would find it relaxing, it’s kind of like knitting in that it’s a repetitive action involving colours. If I were having more surgeries in the near future I’d probably buy one just to pass the time, since I struggle to read when my mind is that addled- I have tended to go for crosswords though. So while I get it in some ways, it just seems to be out of control right now!

I feel sad that people are going into bookshops and not purchasing actual books. Adults not reading upsets me almost as much as kids not reading, because I hate to see people miss out on the magic that is books. The only good thing is that these adults might also grab a book while they’re in there, but discussion with the girl at the counter kind of shot that idea down. Then again, at least the bookshop is selling something, so hopefully won’t disappear altogether, which has been a nasty cloud looming over Australian bookshops for years. It’s just… colouring in?!

I don’t know about you, but I absolutely hated colouring in as a child. It made my hand hurt and I didn’t like having to colour in with the “right” colours all the time- why can’t the little fairy girl have green hair? I could never get the pictures to look as good as other people in the class either, but that’s probably down to technique and laziness more than anything!

The world is busy, and stress relief is good… but you know what you can buy in a bookshop that also relieves stress? Books!

Am I being too harsh? Have you got in on the colouring trend?


30 thoughts on “Adult Colouring In Books… really??

  1. It’s taken off in a big way in the UK too – the latest craze like loom bands was the last one. I can understand the appeal – my Youngest Child says she finds it really therapeutic and it makes you feel calm and if you don’t feel like e.g. involved crafting, it’s a kind of creative outlet. It’s just the manic overpromotion that’s offputting – and I always find reading the most relaxing thing you can do…. 🙂

    • I heard of those loom band things but never actually saw one! I’m so glad I’m not alone! I totally get how people would find it relaxing, it’s kind of like knitting in that it’s a repetitive action involving colours. If I were having more surgeries in the near future I’d probably buy one just to pass the time.

  2. I haven’t gotten into it but it is big here in the UK, as it’s been pointed out. I don’t think you’re being harsh, but I suppose each person had their way of relaxing. I work in a public library and let me tell you, not enough people read. I almost dropped my books when someone asked if we had adult colouring books

    • Why on earth would someone think that a library would stock colouring in books?! People can’t be trusted to behave and photocopy the pages! I used to work in a bookshop and some of the comments about readers killed me.

      • I’m looking at becoming a librarian and I honestly don’t know how I’ll refrain from smacking noisy people over the head with War and Peace!

      • For the love of God, do not become a public librarian! Well, I don’t know what public libraries are like where you are, but here in London, what I told you above is just the start.

        I’m passionate about getting people reading, but now I’m also just as passionate about finding creative ways to kill them.

      • I think we’re going to get along swimmingly 😉
        I haven’t seen too much insanity in our public libraries, but I’ve seen wayyyy too much at my uni library. Think walking in on a couple who couldn’t wait to get home kind of things. There’s also much yelling, throwing things and doing stupid crap like using the books to prop up their feet while they paint their nails. Yuck!

      • Ok, using books to do anything but read and hit people is not cool. But yes, based on our mutual dislike of idiots in our libraries, we will get along just fine 😉

    • Love this:

      > I almost dropped my books when someone asked if we had adult colouring books

      Mind you, with cash-strapped libraries having to justify themselves, maybe a rack of public-spirited colouring in books might work?

  3. While I too have heard of this trend and though it hasn’t died already (how is this still a thing?), I haven’t actually come across an adult who has purchased one of these or who has admitted to me that they enjoy coloring just by themselves as opposed to with a child. I don’t mind coloring with my niece or nephews, but boy, is it tedious. I understand one of the reasons for its encouragement with children is it helps develop motor skills, but for adults? I suppose you can argue relaxation, but like you, my hand gets tired and I’d rather do something like reading to relax me or a cup of tea. I don’t quite understand it either.

  4. I went to Barnes and Noble this past Saturday and saw a rack of them right when I went inside. I just wonder how long it will last.

      • Aye, a picture isn’t just a picture, it’s an ideology. There could be colour-ins of authors, locations for novels, stills from film adaptations … the architecture of library buildings.

  5. I get that it has become another excessive bandwagon trend, but people have come up with a hobby that in almost no way negatively affects other people and because you personally didn’t like colouring as a child we should just rain on people’s parade?
    Negative reaction to this always makes me laugh. I’ve been using colouring as a form of mild-anxiety relief for years, but now I can colour something outside of the realm of preschooler’s favourite TV shows XD I also enjoying reading – I don’t really see why it should have to be one or the other. Sometimes my stress is at a level where reading is a comfort, and then other times it’s through the roof, where I couldn’t focus on a plot-line if my life depended on it. This may be out there, but I’ve heard people can have more than one interest – crazy, I know.

    • I’m not raining on anyone’s parade, I’m just saying that I feel it’s become crazy. That’s my opinion from what I’ve seen so far and I’m allowed to have it as much as you are yours. Of course you can have more than one interest- I never said that you couldn’t.
      I’m glad you find it to be relaxing and fun, that’s awesome! I’m also glad that you’re not afraid to have a different opinion to what I’ve said, thanks for giving me pause to think about it 🙂
      Ps. Also glad you can shift away from the kid’s stuff, must be a relief.

      • I do agree that it has seemed to have exploded in popularity in the last few months or so, and believe the hype will die down eventually. I don’t need dedicated tables of it at the front of every store, but hopefully I won’t have to go back to Barney.
        I know it’s hard to read tone on the internet, so I hope it was clear my “more than one interest” comment came off in the tongue in cheek sort of way I intended. I was just putting that in reference to you letting people know they could buy books in book stores – as if you were directed them to what they should do instead. I’m realising now you probably meant that in a tongue in cheek way also : )

  6. I confess that I adore coloring — way before this trend, which is definitely all over America by the way. I bought one of these adult coloring books about a month ago, but it’s too grown-up for me. I like the fun coloring books with bears & happy nature scenes. These coloring books are SO INTRICATE AND DETAILED, with TEENY TINY COLORING PATTERNS and ALL THE FUN IS GONE.

    I hardily approve of coloring the hair green & coloring quite outside the lines. (& I don’t mind at all coloring without a child beside me. Though with is also fun. It’s my version of knitting. I HATE knitting. So repetitive. While coloring? Quite colorful.) 🙂

  7. It’s huge in Canada and I am bemused too. Not because I think they should be reading – but just, like, why? I guess I could see it as a meditation technique but I don’t think those jumping on the bandwagon see it that way… I don’t know what they see to be honest. I just plain do not understand.

  8. I think that whatever it is that people find relaxes them and allows them to switch off should be celebrated because in today’s world it’s something we so often forget to do. While I personally prefer to read, I know people who get as frustrated and upset when made to read as we would if someone wasn’t allowing us to do so. I also find that when I’m too hyped up to focus on reading colouring can be really therapeutic. So while maybe it doesn’t need to be thrown in our face at the front of every book shop I don’t think there’s anything wrong with people wanting to buy adult colouring books (or any colouring book) if it makes them

  9. It’s not just Australia: this sort of thing is waaaay too popular in America, too. Frankly, coloring bored me when I was four, so I certainly don’t see the appeal now. Then again, if it keeps the bookshops open, I guess it’s not so bad. 🙂

  10. I’ve never actually tried any of these adult coloring books but I really liked coloring more complex pictures (like mandalas) as a child so I’m definitely going to buy one of them. I can see where you’re coming from with your opinion but I personally don’t mind that adults are buying coloring books. It’s not hurting anyone that’s for sure. I honestly don’t think an avid reader would abandon books in favor of coloring. Those people who do abandon books to go and color would certainly have something to do instead of reading even if coloring books wouldn’t be popular. As I see these coloring books might just save a few people from a Keeping up With the Kardashians marathon :D. Not that there’s anything wrong with reality tv lovers but there are some people who watch way too much of it. Now, that is something that I consider annoying and harmful to people’s brain. Coloring books are more of a way to relax and have some alone time, at least that’s what I think.
    Great post!

  11. I used to love colouring in as a child, and started it up again when I was 9 or so, my mum thought I was too old at that age, even though she’s an artist and would do anything for me to be artistically gifted, go figure! When it first started, I was a little bemused by it (Russell Brand did an interesting, and of course controversial video about it), but I could see the reasoning behind it. I have given it a go, and I have a post coming on it soon. I think I’m still baffled that it’s become as HUGE as it has, and while yes, technically, it is a book of images, I do wish Amazon, Book Depository etc. would disregard them from the top ten, or put them in a different category, so the literature lists aren’t skewed with them! R x

  12. I’m bemused the other way around – I’ve always coloured in, throughout my life, as I find it calming and therapeutic and fun. There have always been books around like the Dover ones for grown-ups to work on. But I’m cashing in on the shops cashing in, by picking up books and new pencils while they’re around and at a good price, and I’ll be colouring in long after everyone else has got tired of the trend!

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