Feb. 10th, 2016

One trend I really don't understand is colouring books directed at adults. I mean, if you enjoy colouring and find it relaxing to focus on something like that, or if you find the repetitive activity somehow soothing, then more power to you - but it's not really for me.

It's odd in a way, because I AM quite interested in the "book arts" - bookbinding, paper making, preservation and so on. And for me, there's no substitute for good old-fashioned paper. The feel and touch and smell of a good book or a "real" (as opposed to electronic or microfilmed) newspaper from yesteryear and elsewhere-town. I'll patiently line up for quite a while to have a book signed or personalized by a favourite local or not-so-local author. I love combing second-hand bookshops and rummage sales for that quirky out-of-print or small print-run book that you'd never come across in one of the chain stores like Chapters or Indigo - or even at your public library.

And yet, it's precisely that kind of store that seems to be capitalizing on the trend towards adult colouring books, presumably because these days they figure people are more likely to buy them (along with shawls and scented candles and candy) even if they do all their reading on their tablets or e-book-readers. Or maybe it's that there's a higher markup and profit margin on that type of merchandise? Certainly it's harder to pass something like that on to your friends and family after you're done with it - you can't just erase it and re-use it like you can with a slate or Etch-a-sketch or old-fashioned board that worked with a little magnet and iron filings! Or, for that matter, with some kind of computerized colouring or designing software (at least until that particular version or format becomes obsolete).

Perhaps the appeal is that you end up with potentially hangable, frame-able artwork afterwards, even if it's not your own original design? I've certainly done needlework kits and embroidered pre-set or stamped designs on things, so it's not as if I object to absolutely everything that's not totally original. Maybe it's partly that I don't think I've ever been very good at colouring, so I don't really get any sense of accomplishment from it? I've always felt somewhat awkward and uncoordinated so for me it would probably just be stressful to feel I had to colour neatly or between the lines or whatever.

But dare I hope that for those who DO embrace the adult colouring book trend, it may become some sort of "gateway drug", ushering in a renaissance of good old-fashioned publishing and beautiful leather-bound quality-paper books?

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