In 1849, from the courthouse steps in the Georgia city Dahlonega (a derivation of the Cherokee word Talonega meaning "golden"), Dr. M.F. Stephenson, assayer [sic] at the Mint, attempted to dissuade Georgia miners from leaving to join the California Gold Rush. His oration gave rise to the sayings: "There's millions in it," and "Thar's gold in them thar hills."
The same can be said for the large and growing market for adult coloring books. Searching "coloring book" in the NOOK Store yields 512 results, ranging in price from FREE to 38.99. And using duckduckgo to search "adult coloring books BN.com" yielded 61 titles, ranging in price from $5.99 to $12.26. Among those, the bestselling title at BN.com, priced at $10.99, is the paperback, Adult Coloring Book for Relaxation: Calming Mandalas and Patterns for Adults, by Adult Coloring Books and Emma Bloom.
A second search at BN.com, this time among NOOK Books for "adult coloring books", yielded nine titles,ranging in price from FREE to $9.99. Among these, the bestseller is the freebie Amazing Birds: Adult Coloring Book (Beautiful Designs for Relaxation and Calm, #1) by Tali Carmi | 2940152327205 | NOOK …
But BN.com is not the game in town, and thanks to apps and digital devices, there's a lot of green in them thar adult e-coloring books. For example, see:
- "Adult coloring books: yes, there are apps for that" - Yahoo News |July 30, 2015 12:39 PM
- "Thinking Outside the Crayon Box: Adult Coloring Books Soar" | Watch the video - Yahoo News
- "Colouring books designed for adults topping bestseller lists" | Toronto Star
- "Grown-ups Get Out Their Crayons" |The New York Times (March 30, 2015)
- BBC Radio - Colouring books for adults growing in popularity, 4 April 2015
- Interview: Johanna Basford, Author Of 'Secret Garden' And 'Enchanted Forest' : NPR
- Johanna Basford's colouring book for adults Enchanted Forest sells 226k copies | Daily Mail Online
- Free coloring pages for adults and teenagers - coloringpagesforadult.com
- Free coloring pages to color online and share with your friends! - coloring.com
Paint books and coloring books emerged in the United States as part of the "democratization of art" process, inspired by a series of lectures by British artist Joshua Reynolds, and the works of Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi and his student Friedrich Fröbel. Many educators concluded that all, regardless of background, students stood to benefit from art education as a means of enhancing their conceptual understanding of the tangible, developing their cognitive abilities, and improving skills that would be useful in finding a profession, as well as for the children's spiritual edification. The McLoughlin Brothers are credited as the inventors of the coloring book, when, in the 1880s, they produced The Little Folks' Painting Book, in collaboration with Kate Greenaway. They continued to publish coloring books until the 1920s, when the McLoughlin Brothers became part of the Milton Bradley Company.
Another pioneer in the genre was Richard F. Outcault. He authored Buster's Paint Book in 1907, featuring the character of Buster Brown, which he had invented in 1902. It was published by the Stokes Company. This launched a trend to use coloring books to advertise a wide variety of products, including coffee and pianos. Until the 1930s, books were designed with the intent for them to be painted instead of colored. Even when crayons came into wide use in the 1930s, books were still designed so that they could be painted or colored.
The above-mentioned Wikipedia article and the news items linked below report: coloring books can be used - in addition to entertainment and advertising - for educational and political uses, to popularize fine art, and to distribute as gifts and postcards. Additionally, they have been shown to have health and therapeutic benefits. Apparently, their relaxation and de-stress effects, and the fact that users can save and share their work-products are contributing to the rising popularity of e-coloring books among "wired" adults.