App-Makers Draw A Bead On Adult Coloring Books

By Paresh Dave
Los Angeles Times

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) The brisk rise of coloring apps threatens the enormous growth of coloring book publishers, who sold 12 million adult and children’s coloring books in the U.S. last year. The concern is that people will become accustomed to the on-demand, dynamic enchantment of apps and ditch the old medium of paper books. The issue reflects a spreading realization: It’s dangerous for companies entrenched in making physical products or selling goods at bricks-and-mortar shops to not fight for online spending, and vice versa.

LOS ANGELES

Since she got in on the adult coloring book craze two years ago, Cheri Brown has spent more than $400 on 50 books holding intricate sketches that she embellishes with Sharpies, colored pencils and gel pens.

But in November, Brown shifted spending to digital products. She paid $100 for mobile apps including Recolor and Colorfy, which Comscore researchers say together reached 2.3 million users in the U.S. in March, less than 10 months after launching.

Brown, who crisscrossed the world as a diver for 30 years, now relaxes at home in the Los Angeles area. Eight hours a day, usually settled in an armchair or curled in bed, she pecks with her right index finger at an iPad Mini, lighting its screen with the blues, greens and silvers of the sea.

Brown, 63, even plans to pay upward of $700 for a stylus and an iPad Pro. It stores more artwork, boasts a bigger screen and offers greater precision.

“If I had $100 to spend on coloring, I’d be more likely to buy into a really good app than buy coloring books,” she said. “You see where my purchases are starting to go.”

The brisk rise of coloring apps threatens the enormous growth of coloring book publishers, who sold 12 million adult and children’s coloring books in the U.S. last year, 1,100 percent more than in 2014, according to tracking firm Nielsen.

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