Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for the ‘New and Net-worthy’ Category

Retailer Excellence

Posted by Scott On December - 19 - 2016

news_green-125x125This article was submitted by Romain Fleury, Directeur Général, Presse Commerce:
Munro’s bookstore, a long-time chain member of Presse Commerce, has been ranked third best bookstore store in the world by National Geographic’s book “Destination of a lifetime”.

Founded in 1963 by Jim and Alice Munro, Munro’s bookstore has been one of the most popular attractions in Victoria, British Colombia. Their great success comes from its staff members and the 30,000 books offered. The neoclassical look of the former bank gives the store a unique look. Visitors come from around the world to take a look of this so-called “magnificent” bookstore.

In 2013, half a century after the foundation, Alice Munro won the Nobel price in literature, which gave the bookstore a world-class popularity. Since then, Jim and Alice Munro have retired and handed over to four staff members.

Mags & Fags in Ottawa is also a destination store that has been granted the ultimate award for a newsstand: Magazines Canada Retailer of the year! Christa and Charlene have decided to change the name to The Gifted Type, many renovations but the same passion for magazines, gift cards, books and newspapers.

Can newsstand be creative?  Atlantic Newsin Halifax is preparing “surprise bag”. The relationship with Michelle Gerard is so close with her customers that they are following her blindly!

In Saskatoon and Winnipeg, no doubt that McNally Robinson is more than a newsstand. Of course they are one of the largest independent bookstores, but also a restaurant, a book club, a venue, a classroom and surely a real exceptional shopping experience!

All across Canada theses little gem stores exist thanks is to their knowledgeable and passionate staff and the great quality of the Canadian publishing community.

MagNet Releases 2016 3rd Quarter Results

Posted by Scott On December - 8 - 2016

news_green-125x125MagNet, the USA-based data clearinghouse expert, has just released their 3rd Quarter 2016 newsstand results.

The good news is that Canadian results are better then the USA results.

Third Quarter Results are:

For Canada, draws were cut back by 6%, and sales fell by 13.8%, for the 3rd Quarter in 2016 compared to last year. The sell-thru was 28.8% compared to 31.4% last year.

In the USA, draws were cut back by 9.2%, and sales fell by 13.9%, for the 3rd Quarter in 2016 compared to last year. The sell-thru was 24.7% compared to 26% last year.

When we add up all 3 Quarters the results are:

For Canada, draws have been cut by 10.5%, sales are down 11.6%. Sell-thru is 29.4% compared to 29.8% last year.

For the USA, draws have been cut by 10.3%, sales are down 12.2%.  Sell-thru is 25.3% compared to 25.8% last year.

Higher Cover Prices Mitigate Retail Decline:

Thanks to higher overall cover prices in both Canada and the USA (which is being attributed to SIPS), the total retail dollars are down 6.1% in Canada, and down 6.7% in the USA.

Celebrity Titles Down yet General Interest Titles are Up!

Celebrity titles are down 19% in the 3rd Quarter.

General Interest titles are up 8.2% in the 3rd Quarter






Oh no! Oops!

Posted by Scott On November - 11 - 2016

news_green-125x125The NY Post.Com reports that Topix Media, a licensee for Newsweek made a big, big mistake.

Apparently, Topix produced, printed and shipped a special SIP to hit newsstands in time to take advantage of the historic outcome of the Presidential election.  Problem?

They assumed Hillary Clinton was going to win.

“Like everybody else, we got it wrong,” said Tony Romando, CEO of Topix Media, the Newsweek partner which produces special issues under the popular brand.”

The article goes on to say that the Madam President issue hit stores on Tuesday (election day) but were told not to put issues on sale until after the election i.e. Wednesday.  But some stores did.  Romando claims only 17 Clinton magazines were sold out of 125,000 printed and shipped.  Talk about a brutal sell-thru efficiency of .000136%.

Topix Media is now scrambling to get a President Trump SIP out to newsstands sometime later next week.


RollingStone Verdict: Guilty

Posted by Scott On November - 10 - 2016

news_green-125x125Can RollingStone magazine survive?  That’s the question after a jury ruled that RollingStone and its writer Sabrina Erdely were guilty of libel with malice, and of defamation. The trial lasted two weeks before the 10 member jury delivered their judgment.   The case stems from an article published in RollingStone entitled  “A Rape on Campus”.  In the article, the writer told the story of “Jackie”, who claimed she was raped at the University of Virginia.  It turned out the story was a fabrication.

The plaintiff, Nicole Eramo, a University administrator, claimed she was unfairly portrayed by the writer and RollingStone, as someone who was trying to prevent the story from coming out because “nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school.”  The plaintiff’s lawyers had to prove that RollingStone made her appear “odious, infamous or ridiculous” and that the magazine acted with “actual malice,” meaning that it knew that what it was writing about her was false or should have known that it was false.


The article was first published in the Dec 4th 2014 issue.  According to Wikipedia: “The article included a claim that a student, identified only as “Jackie” by the magazine, had been taken to a party hosted by the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity at the University of Virginia by a fellow student. At the party, Jackie alleged in the article, her date led her to a bedroom where she was raped by several fraternity members as part of an initiation rite. Jackie’s account generated much media attention, and the university suspended the fraternity. After other journalists investigated the article’s claims and found significant discrepancies, RollingStone issued multiple apologies for the story. Further investigation concluded that Jackie had fabricated the incident”.

The lawsuit sought $7.5 million in compensatory damages.

Freelancer Sabrina Rubin Erdely ‘said she was searching for a single, emblematic college rape case that would show ‘what it’s like to be on campus now,’ ’ says a report by three academics at the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism. (Reuters)

“According to the Associated Press, Eramo told jurors that, after the story’s publication, she had trouble sleeping, feared for her life, and struggled explaining the events to her then-7-year-old son. She said she contemplated suicide at one point, and her husband also testified that Eramo told him she didn’t know that should could live anymore.” She was awarded $3 million, of which $2 million was a judgment against the writer and $1 million against the magazine.  RollingStone has also agreed to pay Erdely’s legal costs.

Erdely was not fired after the article was retracted and continues to write for RollingStone.

RollingStone also faces a $25 million lawsuit from Phi Kappa Psi, the fraternity where Jackie claimed her assault took place. That case is scheduled to go to trial late next year.

Did You Know that Cover Prices…

Posted by Scott On November - 4 - 2016

news_green-125x125At a recent newsstand seminar, (the MBR Conference at the Old Mill, on October 25th) Glenn Morgan, CEO of Coast to Coast, and Craig Sweetman, presented some interesting findings from the recently completed 2015 CTC Boxscore.

The CTC Boxscore looks at 3,091 English language magazines sold in Canada.

Did you know that the average price of a magazine in 2015 was $6.26 cents, up from $5.45 in 2012?  An increase of 14.9%.

If you haven’t considered a price increase recently, it may be time to do so.




Did You Know…

Posted by Scott On November - 3 - 2016

news_green-125x125At a recent newsstand seminar, (the MBR Conference at the Old Mill, on October 25th) Glenn Morgan, CEO of Coast to Coast, and Craig Sweetman, presented some interesting findings from the recently completed 2015 CTC Boxscore.

One factoid in particular was a real eye-opener:

In 2015 close to 55 million copies of English language magazines were sold on Canadian newsstands through the mass market wholesaler network.  So this obviously doesn’t include any French language magazines sold in Canada, nor any copies sold through the Direct-to Retail channel, both of which are considerable.

Assuming a 12 hour shopping window per day (9am to 9pm) here’s how that 55 million copies breaks down…

  • In this country 3.6 magazines are sold every second.
  • In the next minute over 200 magazines will be sold in Canada.
  • In the next hour close to 13,000 magazines will be sold on Canadian newsstands!
  • In the next day over 152,000 magazines will be purchased by Canadian consumers!
  • In terms of total retail dollar sales, almost $1 million a day of magazines are sold in Canada.

Pretty impressive, eh?


Presse Commerce Reports Good News!

Posted by Scott On September - 30 - 2016

news_green-125x125Report from Press Release:


“Presse Commerce Corporation is proud of the reaction received from customers for the new stores in the McGill University Health Center six months after their opening. The MUHC combines the Royal-Victoria Hospital, the Children’s Hospital, the Montreal Chest Institute and the biggest Research Canada.

Some would say that it was a bold move to open new stores. In fact, the periodical sales in the Multimags grew by 1% when comparing 2015 to 2014. A bookstore, a newsstand and a toy store will entertain the MUHC’s 4.8 millions users of which: 47% are employees, 27% patients and 26% visitors.

Each stores offers a variety of products adapted to their specialty, but we made sure to give magazines an important place with in store giant screens to inform, promote and discover new titles.

In fact, the response has been so good since day one that the MUHC has agreed to organize a joint book fair with Multimags.”

Hospital Best Sellers:

Top 5 Overall:

  1. People
  2. In Touch
  3. Life & Style
  4. 7 Jours
  5. La Semaine

Top 5 U.S.:

  1.  People
  2. In Touch
  3. Life & Style
  4. Vanity Fair
  5. Star

Top 5 CDN:

  1. Hello
  2. Macleans
  3. Chatelaine
  4. Loulou
  5. Canadian House & Home

Top 5 QC:

  1.  7 Jours
  2. La Semaine
  3. Star systeme
  4. L’Actualité
  5. Châtelaine






2016 First Half Newsstand Results

Posted by Scott On August - 31 - 2016

news_green-125x125MagNet, the U.S.-based data clearing house, has just released it’s 2016 First Half Newsstand Sales Overview.

Sales in Canada are reported to be down by 9.8%, with dollar volume down 4.7%.

Sales in the USA are reported to be down 10.9%, with dollar volume down 6.5%.

The overall average cover price is now $5.55, up from $5.28 last year,  which is according to MagNet  “due to a change in the mix of titles that consumers are purchasing…fewer lower cover priced celebrity and tabloid titles and more higher priced specials.”

The MagNet report also offered some positive news:  “Many titles are doing quite well on the newsstand. In fact, in the first ½ of 2016, there were 136 titles that released at least four issues this year, and the same number of releases last year, that grew both their unit and dollar sales. Collectively, their sales were up 8.7% in units and 11.5% in dollars.

Magnet reports that “Titles in the Food/Wine, General Interest, Game/Puzzle/Crossword, Entertainment, Recreation, Lifestyle and Science categories, collectively had an increase in unit sales of 3% and an increase in dollar sales of 10%. Titles in the Celebrity and Women’s categories generated 36.4% of newsstand sales in the first half, but dropped 14.3% in units and nearly 12% in dollars compared to same period in 2015.”

An interesting side note is contained in the chart that shows how each of the National Distributors are doing so far in the First Half of 2016.  Our Canadian distributors are doing quite well.  Disticor’s sales are reported to be up 5.4% in units and 6.6% in dollars.  And Coast to Coast is reported to be up 16.2% in units and 25.1% in dollars.  That’s impressive when compared to all the U.S. distributors.

Coast to Coast CEO Glenn Morgan had this to say when asked to comment:  “CTC is very pleased to be experiencing continued growth as a National Distributor in today’s challenging newsstand marketplace.  We are very fortunate to be regularly launching new product from both existing CTC publisher clients, as well as some exciting recent client additions to our roster. Both CTC and its client publishers greatly appreciate the support received from both the wholesalers and retailers in Canada and the USA”.






Magnet also shared a list of just some of the 136 titles that posted gains.  It is interesting to see that Playboy (now with no nudes) posted an increase of 17.8% in units, and 30.8% in dollars.

magnet 3

Sad News to Report

Posted by Scott On August - 22 - 2016

The folks at Creative Scrapbooker magazine are in shock and are hurting.  Their beloved colleague of six years, Christy Riopel, passed away suddenly at the tender age of 45 years old. The cause of her demise is yet to be determined.  She leaves behind a loving husband and two young daughters.

It’s always sad news to lose a colleague in our publishing family, but it is especially difficult when the friend was so young.  Here are some words from her colleagues, posted on Facebook:

“We are not ready to let you go Christy.

You were the heartbeat of our magazine, a creative soul that will never be replaced, a plane that let us soar and a lighthouse that guided us home. 
Much more than the magazine – over the last 10 years – Christy became a part of our family. A friend we laughed with, celebrated with and cried with. A sister we called for advice, a mom who picked us up when we were down, a confidant we shared our secrets with, a girlfriend we hung out with drinking wine and doing facials. Christy was a special place that we could be ourselves. Christy was a place we called home.

We are not ready to let you go Christy. The keyboard is slippery with tears.”






Radio Interview (Niche Magazines Rule)

Posted by Scott On July - 5 - 2016

news_green-125x125On Sunday, July 3rd, 2016, I appeared on Mark Towhey’s radio show on CFRB News Talk 1010.

Mark contacted me through the offices of Magazines Canada, to discuss the current market conditions for magazines.

A self described “magazine junky”, Mark’s first question had to do with Men’s Magazines, and specifically regarding how Playboy was doing since dropping nudity.

The link to the radio interview is here:

In Canada in 2014, Playboy sold  71,262 copies.  In 2015 they sold just 50,830 copies, down 29%.  The time for a change had finally arrived.  In March of 2016 Playboy decided to drop nudity.  That issue was up 24% from the same slot last year, selling 5,658 copies in Canada.  It should be noted that the last issue WITH nudity, January 2016, was up 149% from prior year.  The cover featured Canadian Pamela Anderson.  It sold-thru at an astounding 72%.   Dealer coverage has expanded in Canada now that there is no nudity (up 28% effective with the June 2016 issue).

2016 Mar (first issue no nudity)2016 Jan (Last issue with nudity)

We also discussed the fact that many niche magazines are actually thriving these days.  Here are just a few examples of Canadian magazines that are doing great.

Niche Magazines Rule:

  1. Canadian Antiques & Vintage:  Sales up 92% in 2015.  Best Year Ever!  Sales up 189% since 2008.
  2. Canadian Cycling:  Sales up 11% in 2015.  Best Year Ever!   Sales up 50% since launching in 2010.
  3. Canada’s History:  Sales up 40% in 2015.  Best Year Ever!  4 of 6 issues broke sales records.  Sales up 506% since 2004.
  4. Creative Scrapbooker:  Sales up 14% in 2015.  Now distributing in the USA too!
  5. Dirt Trax:  Sales up for 3rd year in a row.  Revenue up 16% in 2015.  Best result since 2009.
  6. Fly Fusion:  Sales up 10% in 2015.  Best Year Ever!  Sales in Canada up 138 since 2008.  USA sales up for 7th year in a row…up 83% since 2008.
  7. Harrowsmith Almenac:  Sales up 3%.  Revenue up 21% in 2015, due to cover price increase.
  8. Horse Sport:  Sales up 158% in 2015.  On track for best year ever in 2016!
  9. Horse Canada Annual:  Sales up 96% in 2015.
  10. Legion Magazine:  Sales up for 6th of last 7 years.  Had zero sales in 2008, now doing $275,191 dollars of sales.
  11. Outdoor Canada Fishing Annual:  Up 21% in 2015.

2016MayJun (Small)DecJan 2015 (Small)Dec 2014 (Small)


2015 Winter (Small)Vol 17 #4 (Small)Winter 2015 (Small)


2016 Regular (Small)Oct 2015 (Small)2015 Annual


Liberating Normanday (Small)Fishing 2015 Annual



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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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