Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Hot Honda Bike

Posted by Scott On November - 27 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Jan/Feb 2015 issue of Motorcycle Mojo is scheduled to hit newsstands on December 29th.  This time slot almost always produces the best-selling issue each year, as readers in need of a fix in the dead of Winter, and in the mood to shop for a new ride, and plan their Spring and Summer trips, buy the magazine.

Art Director Amy McCleverty says, “Our Jan/Feb 2015 cover was inspired by the clean lines of the Honda CBR650F, this cover image is big, bold and in your face. The soft focus background allows for great legibility of cover lines and the brilliant red and blue add that extra pop of colour. The traditional, colourful Newfoundland village in the top right corner pulls the page together to make a cover that will grab you when browsing the newsstands this Winter.”


JanFeb 2015

For your cover-viewing and listening pleasure…


Horse Annual SIP

Posted by Scott On November - 26 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Horse Canada magazine has unveiled their 2015 Horse Annual SIP, which goes on sale December 15th, 2014.  It’s just in time for a last minute Christmas Gift.

The Annual sells for $7.95, while regular issues sell for $4.75.

Circulation Director Karin Apfel said,  “Historically, a best seller for the Horse Publications Group franchise, in 2012  it underwent a title and theme change to focus on equine health, the leading concern for all horse owners, according to surveys done by the publisher. As the Canadian Horse Annual – Health Special, it is respected and supported by all five Canadian veterinary schools and provides leading edge health care information for horse owners across the country.”

Art Director Sieu Truong makes great use of the left-hand side of the cover to punch out numerous sell lines.  Good use of red in selective spots to help direct the eye down the cover, and to highlight key details. Great action shot and eye contact with a handsome horse.


Sled Dogs

Posted by Scott On November - 25 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Winter 2014 issue of Prairies North went on sale November 17th, 2014.

Art Director Lionel Hughes chose a close up profile shot, which really works to communicate the main selling feature fast.

This publication historically does extremely well with large animal covers.  All three of the ones below were best-sellers in their year of publication.


Winter 2014


2003 Winter2004 Winter2012 Winter



Posted by Scott On November - 20 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

cover_of_the_week-125x125The November 2014 issue of Martha Stewart Living is hard to miss on newsstands.

If you have a sweat tooth, this issue promises 6 Must-Try Pies.   It is radically clear what they are selling.

This is cover that let’s the food do all the work.



Paper Magazine

Posted by Scott On November - 14 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

cover_of_the_week-125x125Have you ever heard of Paper Magazine?  I certainly hadn’t, until yesterday.   But thanks to a morning TV “news” program, I was alerted  to the fact that Kim Kardashian had decided to pose nude for Paper magazine.  A quick google search and there it was, Kim in all her glory for the world to behold.

They call the Winter issue their “Art Issue.”  Their web site goes on to say:  Our 2014 Art Issue is an art project in and of itself, in which we explore, deconstruct and obsess over the theme of attention: BREAK THE INTERNET. Pairing Kim Kardashian with the legendary photographer Jean-Paul Goude was the kickoff. Like it or not, Kardashian is a Hyper-Pop-Culture-Icon-Institution. She understands fame and popularity as if it were coded in her DNA. Goude popped the cork on what makes her an icon: it is not just her ass, but her willingness to give us 100 percent.”   Really?   Uh huh, sure.

According to their website, Paper has been around for 30 years. I guess I’ve been out of touch for 3 decades.  But not anymore. Here is how they describe themselves:

“PAPER COMMUNICATIONS is a MAGAZINE, a WEBSITE and a CREATIVE STRATEGY AGENCY that helps brands connect to the culture that has grown from our days in downtown New York clubs, art galleries and fashion runways. Just as we have evolved over these past 30 years, we are now helping brands embrace the ever-changing cultural landscape with event marketing,design collaborations, trend reporting, content creation, overall strategy and most importantly introducing brands into our world of influencers and tastemakers, who create the culture we celebrate.”   Ok then.

Perhaps that’s why their web site is selling the Limited Edition Nude cover for $20 + $4  for shipping and handling.  You can also order the Cover With Dress for $10 + $4 for shipping and handling.   One can’t help wondering how much Paper paid Kim to pose for their Winter 2014 Art Issue?    The bottom line (wink wink) is that now a lot of people are talking about Paper Magazine,  liking them on Facebook, and tweeting about them on Twitter.   Mission accomplished.






Turbo Madness

Posted by Scott On November - 12 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Winter 2015 issue of Dirt Trax is set to hit newsstands on December 22nd, 2014.

Art Director Andrew Knoor managed to squeeze in a total of 8 hooks, with good use of the key cover real estate.

The image chosen is a classic action shot, and the hot color choices help give the cover a neon power boost.

Vol 16#2

Is This a Perfect Cover?

Posted by Scott On October - 22 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Winter 2015 issue of Fly Fusion is set to hit newsstands on November 24th, 2014.

As a quarterly, the magazine has to make sure that every cover is particularly relevant to their audience.  The goal with each cover is to create something that generates a feeling of passionate excitement, what we call a “Yes Moment.”  It’s that nano-second where your pulse rate races and the adrenaline is released.

“With every cover, we try and learn from what has worked in the past, and what hasn’t.  We then apply those teachings to the cover at hand, ” says Chris Bird, Group Pulbisher.

I asked Jennifer Bird, Executive Publisher, what a “Fly Fusion moment is:   “The idea is to chase after relevance and those hard to reach ideas that always deliver. Beyond that it is an unmistakable brand and mark. Those who fly fish know it.”   It’s that incredibly profound and almost religious experience of rapture that happens when you are engaged in a passion that you love, like watching snow flakes fall from the sky on the perfect Winter fishing trip.

So, what is a perfect cover?  I suppose a 100% sell-out would be one way, after the fact, of describing perfection.  Another more poetic and soulful way of defining it is: does the cover make your heart thump louder and faster?  Are subscribers thrilled when they get home from work and find the magazine in their mailbox?  Are advertisers proud to be in the issue? And do newsstand buyers step up and buy more copies than they ever have before?

“In 2010, 3 of 4 issues set new sales records. In 2011 3 of 4 issues set new records.  In 2012 2 of 4 issues set new records. In 2013 1 issue set a new record.  And so far in 2014  2 of 3 issues have set new records.  That’s 11 new record breakers in the past 5 years, so we set a very high standard for excellence, ” says Scott Bullock, Newsstand Consultant.

So the question is:  Does this cover meet the test?  Time will tell, but we think the Fly Fusion “Yes Moment” has been achieved.  It’s almost like a perfect song, the kind that just makes you want to get up and dance.


Winter 2015






Last Spike

Posted by Scott On October - 14 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Dec/Jan 2015 cover of Canada’s History magazine is set to hit newsstands on November 24th, 2014.

The Last Spike cover, designed by James Gillespie, uses an iconic photograph to help sell the package of train stories.

The cover quickly communicates the feature story…”radical clarity”!

This issue is being promoted heavily, as this time slot is typically the best each year.

Dec 2014

Panda Covers

Posted by Scott On October - 2 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Rule #30     If it works, keep doing it

Nov 1973Dec 1981

Mar 1986Feb 1993

Jul 2006

Pick Your Fave

Posted by Scott On September - 29 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

This November, Legion Magazine will publish their 6th SIP.  Now is your chance to help pick the cover.


Major 1Major 3Major 2


Vote Here:

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Past Sips Include:

WWICover-1 (Medium)WWIICover (Medium)KoreaFrontCoverFinal (Medium)

VC_CoverFinal (Medium)Liberating Normanday



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About Me

Scott Bullock’s Newsstand Cover Quiz Show is legendary in the industry. Using covers as the catalyst, this interactive and entertaining format is a light-hearted but hard-hitting spin on Packaging 101. Testing the cover savvy of magazine professionals across disciplines, the Quiz Show pits publishers against editors, circulators against art directors, retailers against wholesalers -- ultimately leading to new common ground in the quest for better covers. Scott is the Owner of Circ3, Smart Circulation Solutions, a circulation consultancy.



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