Summer 2016
Feel-Good Stories By Zeke Jennings

From the New York Times’ bestseller list, hot titles in the categories of:



“Cravings.” Supermodel Chrissy Teigen offers recipes she enjoys when she splurges, like French toast casserole and salted Frosted Flakes.


“The Road to Little Dribbling: More Notes from a Small Island.” Popular travel writer Bill Bryson goes back to Britain.

Children’s Picture Book

“Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear.” Lindsay Mattick tells the story behind the bear that inspired Winnie the Pooh.

Health Advice

“Pretty Happy: Healthy Ways to Love Your Body.” Actress Kate Hudson’s tips on eating well, exercising and making adjustments in those areas as you go.


“When Breath Becomes Air.” A memoir of Dr. Paul Kalanithi, who, on the verge of becoming a neurosurgeon, was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at age 36.

(Image: Cover shot of “Cravings.” Photo credit to Clark Potter Publishers.)




Whether buying for yourself or as a gift, books remain an important part of gift shop repertoires. Gift Shop recently polled a collection of publishing companies to find out about the adult coloring craze, millennial buying habits and tips on how to display your book stock.

Adult coloring books

Coloring books geared toward adults are already huge and getting bigger, sources said. British publisher Laurence King Publishing, which is distributed in the U.S. by Chronicle Books, boasts the early work of best-selling illustrator Johanna Basford, whose 2013 title “Secret Garden” helped fuel the adult coloring craze. Between that and Basford’s second title, 2015’s “Enchanted Forest,” she’s sold 16 million books worldwide.

“‘Secret Garden’ started it all,” said Lisa Bach, director of independent sales, Chronicle Books. “Adults fancied themselves as being able to do something creative. That really appealed to people. … It’s meditative and therapeutic.”

Debra Matsumoto, the U.S. press and marketing manager for Laurence King, said the runaway success of “Secret Garden” was a surprise. “We never knew that ‘Secret Garden’ would start a coloring madness that would completely affect the direction of publishing,” she said. “The editorial director in London simply came across one of Johanna Basford’s drawings and thought to himself, ‘Wouldn’t that make a nice coloring book?’ … They printed it because it was pretty, not because they saw dollar signs.”

Steve McDonald’s “Fantastic Cities,” published by Chronicle in July 2015, brought scenes from around the globe to coloring pages. “It’s more contemporary,” Bach said. “It shows coloring creatively is branching out.”

Chronicle Books Bright Ideas colored pencils
Chronicle Books

Coloring is also expanding beyond books into stationery, said Ruth Ann Bird, sales coordinator for C.R. Gibson. “Adult coloring is still hot in the gift market. However, products are reaching outside of the box,” she said. “Adult coloring can be seen in various formats such as journals, file folders and list pads.” Bird added C.R. Gibson is adding a new adult coloring line this summer.

“Secret Garden” and “Enchanted Forest” also have expanded into things like notecards and journals.

There is no coloring without the right instruments and adults tend to opt for colored pencils. “We can’t keep them in stock!” Bach said. “It’s so nice to be able give coloring books with pencils as a gift. Plus, from a retail perspective, you’re doubling up.”

International Arrivals marketing associate Don Sinatra said the company is adding even finer point colored pencils to its offerings to allow for coloring in greater detail.

Millennial wants

With more than 75 million members, the millennial generation, ages 18-35, recently surpassed the baby boomers as the largest generation in the U.S. As millennials get older and, theoretically, gain more disposable income, their buying habits should be at the forefront of retailers’ minds in the coming years.

“It’s not the content itself that’s changed but how millennials wish to receive it,” Matsumoto said. “Straightforward information and very clean design seem to appeal to them. We have a series of photography books by a young author (Henry Carroll), and the first book, for example, flew out of the doors of Urban Outfitters. It’s called ‘Read This If You Want To Take Great Photographs.’ The cover is all type and it boldly states what the book’s purpose is. … You grasp it with one, quick glance.”

Use similar titles to create themed displays, like this collection of girlfriend selections from Compendium.
Use similar titles to create themed displays, like this collection of girlfriend selections from Compendium.

Angeline Candido, marketing manager for Compendium, said millennials tend to gravitate toward happy, inspirational and helpful content. “Millennials are focused on cultivating a full, conscious and meaningful life. They’re leaning in, pushing boundaries and exploring new possibilities,” Candido said. “Our most recent product releases have been focused around happiness. Our books feature bright colors and even brighter messages. These books are about celebrating the people in our lives, recognizing the endless opportunities we have and taking the time to appreciate the little things.” Candido added Compendium is starting #ShareHappy movement on social media.

While technology abounds, millennials are not abandoning books. “There are two types of millennials,” Bach said. “There is the group that has extra cash, and they buy stuff. Then there is the group struggling to pay rent, but they still seem to buy books.”

Eventually, millennials want to put all those Facebook and Instagram photos in one place, which is why photo albums are still relevant. “Millennials are still purchasing albums and memory books like generations before them as a means to give their loved ones a gift that is more significant and meaningful,” Bird said.

Display tips

Several sources recommended using books to help create a themed vignette or area of your store. Book covers can be one of the easiest ways to convey the theme of a particular area of products.

“For instance, they might merchandise a table around a girlfriend gifts theme,” said Candido. “They will take one of our friendship titles, like ‘Lucky Us (For Being Such Good Friends,’ and start grouping it with candles and scarves. Stores will have created this wonderful vignette that encourages customers to purchase gifts for the women in their lives.”

Added Bach: “What really works for books is when they help tell a story for a retailer in a retail shop. Books sort of cement and flesh out an area of their store. A book is a great add-on purchase. Someone thinks, ‘I’m going to get two beautiful martini glasses and I’m going to get a cocktail book to go with them.’”

International Arrivals offers fixtures and additional items to help merchandise their selections. “We started our fixture program in early 2015 to help our customers merchandise our products,” Sinatra said. “We called it the Home Sweet Home program. It’s serves as a single space to help keep the brand cohesive and easier for consumers to browse our items. As coloring became a hot trend we introduced our Coloring Station fixture, where our customers could stock coloring items from International Arrivals. It’s been a very successful program.”

Books remain a good seller and great gift choice. As Bach put it, “Books keep people in your store longer. They encourage them to linger.”

Zeke Jennings

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