Publishers and booksellers are attempting to revolutionise the industry this April Fools' Day (1st April) by launching new innovations to shake up the trade.
HarperCollins imprint Harlequin UK is to launch a new series of colouring books for adults to take the trend to “the next level”. The Blank Colouring Book for Adults series will launch in July with further titles scheduled to appear later in the year. Each title will consist of 48 specially-designed blank pages for adults to colour using whatever materials they prefer.
Lisa Milton, executive publisher at Harlequin UK, said: “Adults obviously love colouring, but the customer insight we have indicates that they find filling in pre-drawn pictures limits their creativity. The pristine white pages in our Blank Colouring Books mean that adults can take their imaginations to the next level.”
Also attempting to capitalise on the colouring book phenomenon, Pan Macmillan is to publish the world’s first colouring-in audiobook, titled Mindful Doodling: The Audiobook. The book will allow readers to take the “thoroughly mindful experience of doodling and colouring-in and enjoy it hands-free, on the go, and without even needing a pen”.
Publisher Jim Present said: “Here at Pan Macmillan we are always looking for new ways to connect with and engage our readers. Mindful Doodling: The Audiobook is just another step in doing this. Given the phenomenal recent success of colouring-in books, and the resulting global shortage of pencils and crayons, it seems only natural to bring these books into the digital audio age. We’re thrilled with the results and all feel incredibly relaxed.”
Scottish Book Trust said it is launching a series of “Audiobook Club Nights” to connect teenagers with books at interpretive dance nights. At venues across Scotland, teens will be given wireless headphones and a choice of novel. They will then be encouraged to throw interpretive dance shapes inspired by the material they are listening to.
March Lambert, director of the trust, confirmed he is taking part. “My personal choice will be Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy – I’ll be employing a blend of the Cossack dance, interspersed with some classic moves from The Nutcracker ballet.”
Staff at Foyles may start to worry about losing their jobs as the retailer has today announced the engagement of its first fully automated employee. Bookseller2000, an artificially intelligent hologram which has the accumulated literary knowledge more than 100 human booksellers, starts work today (1st April) at Foyles’ flagship Charing Cross branch.
Simon Heafield, head of marketing and brand development at Foyles, said the holographic bookseller is “the perfect synergy between the work we’ve being doing to bring digital technology into the physical environment and the investment we’ve made in developing our customer service”.
He added: “I’m so proud to see the Bookseller2000 floating serenely around (and sometimes through) the shelves of Foyles.”
Bookseller2000’s recommended reads include The Rise of the Robots by Martin Ford and I Robot by Isaac Asimov.
Barrington Stoke, the Edinburgh-based publisher that makes accessible books for children, has pledged to only use phonetic spellings going forward.
I. Spellit-Wright, educational consultant and advisor to the company, praised the move, saying: “This is the ising on the kake. Wuns peepel get yoused to the new spelling, I beleev they will read faster and more flooently.”
Managing director Mairi Kidd said: “I have been pushing to publish in Gaelic exclusively for years but no one here is keen to learn it and so I think this is a great halfway house.”