Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Ski Canada New Look

Posted by admin On July - 22 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Ski Canada magazine, which outsells all it’s domestic and U.S.-based competitors, isn’t playing it safe.

Working with K9 Strategy+Design (who has been art directing the magazine for 8 years) and, the 2015 Gear Guide issue has received a complete makeover.

Publisher Paul Green says, “It was time for Ski Canada magazine to refresh its image so we went to K9 Design, our long term partner in the magazine’s art direction. Assignment: capture the vitality of alpine skiing in an all new look for 2015.”

Norm Lourenco  of K9 Design says,  ”We’ve designed Ski Canada for over 8 years but never redesigned it. To say we are stoked is an understatement, but we realize the enormous responsibility and sensitivities that come with redesigning such a celebrated and respected Canadian publication. Our goal is to strengthen the 42 year old brand as a current, authoritative voice on all things ski. Every redesign is a balancing act between yet-to-be-realised new readers and current loyal readers – you’re constantly asking have we gone too far, or not far enough. For Ski Canada, we’ve introduced elements that will bring a bit more fun to the reading experience, while still maintaining their role as the leading publication that is synonymous with skiing.”

The cover price has been raised from $5.95 to $6.99.

The new look goes on sale September 8th, 2014.

3 Guys in T Shirts

Posted by admin On July - 11 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Here are three covers from Rollingstone in 2012.

All three feature guys in t-shirts.

Which of these covers sold the most copies in Canada?

The Boss, The Biebs, or the Bad Boy?

Think carefully before making your choice.

Answers can be found below.

The Boss:  Sold 9,134

The Biebs: Sold 6,671

The Bad Boy:  Sold 10,282  (sold 54% more than Biebs!)

Cottage Life Winter Covers

Posted by admin On July - 10 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Which of these 3 great Cottage Life covers sold the most copies?

All three are from the Winter time slot, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

All three are very blue.

Think carefully before making your choice.

All three sold well, but one did considerably better.

The answers can be found below.

#1  Winter 2011….sold 7,367

#2  Winter 2012…sold 7,380

#3  Winter 2013…sold 9,408….up by 27.5% from prior year!

Abilities Rocks the Chair

Posted by admin On July - 10 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Spring 2014 issue of Abilities magazine is very interesting.

Here’s what I’ve been told about the magazine from Cameron Graham, PhD:

“Abilities magazine is a lifestyle/consumer magazine for Canadians with disabilities. It was founded by the late Raymond D. Cohen over a quarter century ago. Published quarterly, it is approaching its 100th issue.”

“Our readership is about 80,000. Roughly a third of that is through individual subscriptions, the rest through bulk subscriptions distributed via disability-related organizations to their members. ”

“The magazine is prepared under the guidance of a board of directors representing the disability community, so it is very much “of” people with disabilities, not just “for” them. We publish content that is intended to inspire and inform, and to link people to opportunities. Occasionally we provoke, hence this cover.”

“Here is how the cover came about. Our editorial committee was meeting one evening earlier this year to plan themes and content for upcoming issues. One of our board members, Joel Dembe, a Canadian wheelchair tennis player and Paralympic athlete, was trying to convey to us that our ideas were a little tame. He showed us this logo and we just burst out laughing. The logo came from the website of a nonprofit organization in Spain called They are doing some highly provocative work in changing people’s perceptions of disability.”

“At some point over the following few days, one of our graphic artists mocked up an Abilities cover with the logo on it. As soon as we saw it, we realized that it had the potential to be a really strong cover. We were obviously concerned about how our audience would react, but after talking it over, we concluded that it would work as a question about how Canadians with disabilities perceive themselves. We needed strong content to match the logo, and we succeeded in getting it. Without that content, the cover would be gratuitous.”

Kudos to the team for having the courage of their convictions to create this powerful cover.

Special shout out to Matt Hilliard Forde for bringing this to my attention.

More of National Geographic

Posted by admin On July - 9 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Which of these three National Geographic covers sold the most copies in Canada in 2013?

Two of the covers sold really well, and one did not.

Also, the difference between the best and worst selling issues is 71% higher sales with

virtually identical distribution.

Think carefully before making your choice

The results are shown below.

And the rule that these results underscore is important too.

Cover #1:  20,496

Cover #2:  13,980 (worst of year)

Cover #3:  23,965  (best of year)

Interesting to note that cover #3 was the January 2013 issue, and they came back with another space themed cover for cover #1, which was the July 2013 issue.

Rule #30:  If it works, keep doing it!

Is Anybody Out There?

Posted by admin On July - 4 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The July 2014 issue of National Geographic is noteworthy.

I love the way they have layered the cover to create a very textured effect.   While the yellow frame remains an essential part of their brand equity, it shows courage and confidence by their team to play with that device.

The main selling feature cover lines are clear, concise and compelling.

Fairmont Magazine Reveals New Look

Posted by admin On June - 23 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The importance of “refreshing” your magazines look and feel from time to time is the subject of a seminar that I will be presenting, along with Jennifer Neal of K9 Design, at the Manitoba Magazine Conference on Friday June 27th, 2014.

This pertains to not only newsstand and paid circulation titles, but to controlled titles too.

It was recently brought to my attention that Fairmont Magazine has just undergone a makeover.

Natasha Mekhail, Editor in Chief of Fairmont Magazine provided this background:

“Fairmont Magazine is an award-winning luxury publication distributed across the hotel brand’s 70-plus properties around the world. Every issue presents a mix of engaging storytelling and striking visuals that, while focused on Fairmont destinations, services and programs, carries the same rich, narrative tone as top consumer magazines, such as Conde Nast Traveller and Travel + Leisure.

We know that our readers are often on holiday when they encounter the magazine in their room; we know we’re competing with their novels, phones, and tablets. They won’t read our magazine if it doesn’t pop for them – nor will they read if they get a whiff of hard sell. In fact, we like to describe Fairmont Magazine as a travel and lifestyle publication that just happens to appear in a hotel. Still, the one place where that may not have come across was on the cover.

Past covers involved a fashion shoot showing a model at a featured hotel styled to embody the spirit of her destination. After several of these, however, our team and our clients agreed that, while beautiful, the staged images lacked a certain spontaneity and intrigue that would make readers look at it and say, “I need to know where that is.” Around the same time, Fairmont adjusted its own branding, subtly moving away from “hotel as focal point” for travel, and towards “hotel as gateway to the destination.” This move gave us license to stage a lifestyle cover.

The first thing you’ll notice in Example B: it’s not in a hotel. Instead, we shot an emerging Baku artist in an installation he designed for Azerbaijan’s pavilion at the Venice Biennale. The oil-rich city on the Caspian Sea, which many describe as the “next Dubai,” also has an incredible wealth of modern artists, who’s work often riffs on Azeri handicrafts, such as traditional tapestries.

We also moved to a full-bleed from a framed image, giving more presence to the cover photo. With this fun, playful cover (the artist actually asked if he could make a suit out of the same fabric as his set – and of course we said yes!), we’ve given Fairmont Magazine that “wow” factor, that spurs readers to pick up the magazine and find out what this incredible shot is all about.”

Dirt Trax in Full Throttle

Posted by admin On June - 6 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

The Spring 2014 issue (Volume 15 #3) of Dirt Trax features a classic “action shot”.  Art Director Andrew Knor did a great job of using the most valuable cover “real estate” to full advantage.

  • Strong sky bar treatment
  • Starbust call out in prime location
  • Vibrant colors

Other recent issues have posted strong gains:

  1. Volume 14 #1 up 99%
  2. Volume 14 #3 up 131%
  3. Volume 14 #4 up 5%
  4. Volume 15 #2 up 438%

Legion Wins Silver at CMC Awards

Posted by admin On June - 6 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Legion Magazine has won a silver award in Audience Development from the CMC, the Circulation Management Association of Canada, at its annual awards luncheon in Toronto.

The magazine won for Canada’s Ultimate Story: The Victoria Cross, a special interest publication telling the story of Canadians who were awarded the Commonwealth’s highest honour for daring and conspicuous acts of bravery. The 100-page magazine published last fall features more than 150 seldom seen photos and illustrations and a text by historian Hugh A. Halliday.

The CMC award recognizes “outstanding achievement in audience development based on strategy, innovation, execution and results.” It was presented June 4 during MagNet, the magazine industry’s premiere policy, professional development and networking conference.

Legion Magazine is also nominated for three National Magazine Awards.

Motorcycle Mojo on a Roll

Posted by admin On June - 5 - 2014ADD COMMENTS

Motorcycle Mojo is on a roll.

With a stepped up distribution and promotion plans and expanded dealer coverage, the magazine is seeing some impressive sales gains.

  • August 2013 up 45%
  • Sep/Oct 2013 up 30%
  • November 2013 up 53%
  • December 2013 up 84%

And while the 2014 issues are not yet sales final we are forecasting…

  • Jan/Feb 2014 is up 28%
  • March 2014 is up 47%
  • April 2014 is up over 100%

The new July 2014 issue is scheduled to hit newsstands June 23rd, 2014.

Art Director Amy McCleverty has done an excellent job of focusing the eye on the stuff that matters, from top to bottom.

  • Good sky bar treatment
  • Free Poster “interuptor box”
  • Action shot of Yahmaha
  • Large button to pop out the 3 Great Rides
  • Plus the 4 Tips for safety at the bottom left

A special thank you to the Art Director Amy McCleverty, to Dawar Taylor at Disticor and to the OMDC.



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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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