Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for March, 2010

George Lois… reading a magazine on the iPad.

Posted by Scott On March - 30 - 2010

George Lois, Esquire magazine’s legendary art director from 1962 to 1972 was asked in The New York Observer (March 22 issue) “What does he think about reading a magazine on the soon-to-be-released iPad?”

His answer:

“It’s O.K., I guess. But magazines will never die because there is a visceral feeling of having that thing in your hands and turning the pages. It’s so different on the screen. It’s the difference between looking at a woman and having sex with her.”

Canada’s History

Posted by Scott On March - 28 - 2010

After ninety years as The Beaver, the re-branded April/May 20010 issue debuted on newsstands March 29th, 2010 as Canada’s History.

The re-launch attracted lots of media attention, including a joke on the Jay Lenno show, a skit on the Colbert Report, and a feature in Maclean’s.

Distributed by Disticor Direct, newsstand sales of this magazine have increased dramatically.

As the product and covers improved, as newsstand dealer expansion was built, as marketing initiatives were executed, newsstand sales responded:

• In 2005 newsstand unit sales increased and revenue increased by 69%
• In 2006 newsstand unit sales increased by 66%, and revenue increased by 87%
• In 2007 newsstand unit sales increased by 15%, and revenue increased by 19%
• In 2008 newsstand unit sales increased by 99% and revenue increased by 138%

The cumulative growth curve over this four-year period was a 540% increase in units sold, and a 796% growth in newsstand revenues.

With a bold and gutsy new look, the magazine is poised to continue its ascendency.

And the Verdict is…

Posted by Scott On March - 28 - 2010

According to ABC statistics, the May 2008 re-do of the classic sold 89,957 copies. Only one other issue in 2008 sold worse.
We never forget our first kiss. It is a special moment, set in a particular time and place. To recapture it and reproduce it is not easy, it seems.

Quote from George Lois Tells the Stories Behind His Twelve Favourite Classic Esquire covers
Woman Shaving, March 1965

“You could smell the women’s movement building at that point, I could feel it in my wife, even, though it was pre-Friedan, Pre-Steinem, Pre-Abzug. There was an article in Esquire called ‘The Masculinization of the American Woman’ — it sounded more negative than it was, but the point was well taken. It was saying the American women were growing balls. To me it was a no-brainer; I’d just get a beautiful woman and have her shaving. I wanted a blonde, and I tried to get Monroe, I tried to get Kim Novack, but they wouldn’t hear of it. I’d explain that I wanted her shaving, and their business managers said to me, ‘Are you crazy?’ Finally we got Virna Lisi, the Italian actress. And we did this beautiful shot. When the cover came out, it was a big hit. A lot of women were arguing about it.”

Marilyn Monroe Shaving

Pools Spas & Patios

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010

This annual publication debuts its new look on April 26th 2010, with a beefed up page count and a new cover price of $9.95…up from $7.95.

Backed by an aggressive retail promotion plan, the new cover features more benefit-oriented hooks than ever before, and a new red drop down box in the upper right hand corner.

The magazine is distributed by Disticor.

You will find it at retailers such as: Chapters, Indigo, Shoppers Drug Mart, Home Depot, Loblaws, Safeway, Metro/A&P, Costco, Walmart, Zellers and Presse Commerce, and other fine magazine retailers.

British Columbia Magazine

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010

One of the more elegant yet newsstand savvy cover designs in their 50 year history, the Summer 2008 issue of British Columbia Magazine eschewed the usual nature shot, but instead produced a warm yet bold typographical cover.

Sell-through efficiency of 62.1% is the second-best ever achieved out of over 200 issues published. Only two issues have sold more units.

Canadian Geographic

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010

The December 2009 cover is a classic that will stand the test of time. After undergoing a comprehensive Cover Analysis, spanning 14 years and 84 covers, Canadian Geographic produced this masterpiece.

Like most covers that sell well, they did multiple things right:

Great editorial subject matter, breath-taking photography, great use of the cover real estate for supporting sell lines, red cover slash offering a Free Map, white background for maximum “pop off”, wolf overlapping logo for heart-pounding 3D effect, and a gold frame that drew attention to the Special Anniversary Issue value proposition, plus strong retail promotional support.

We were so confident this issue would sell extremely well, that we took the cover price up to $7.95 from $6.95. Sales are forecast to be the best ever in Canadian Geographic’s 80 year history, selling over 29,000 copies. This beats their previous best by over 20% in copies sold, and over 37% in retail dollars.

This cover just won and ACE AWARD (Award for Circulation Excellence) at the 2010 MagNet event for Best Retail Extra Large Circulation category.

The Beaver – Quebec 400

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010

The first-ever Special Interest Publication by The Beaver, the Feb/Mar 2008 issue was produced in both English and French editions. It was perfect bound for the first time ever. Cover stock was up-graded. Cover price was raised from the normal $6.95 to $9.95…a 43% premium.

The issue was backed with a strong retail promotion plan and outstanding support from the distribution team, particularly in Quebec.

The issue outsold the previous Feb/Mar issue by 670% in terms of copies sold. Revenues increased by 1002%.

This issue was awarded the ACE Award (Award for Circulation Excellence) for Best Retail Performance at the 2009 CMC event.

It also won the 2009 National Newsstand Award for best Mid-Size retail performance.


Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010

Legion Magazine was born in May 1926, and can proudly boast that it is the third oldest continuously published magazine in Canada.
The publisher is Canvet Publications Ltd., whose 9 employees serve a readership of almost 700,000. The magazine enjoys a paid circulation (audited by CCAB) of 262,282, as of the Sept 2009 statement.

The magazine is now available on select newsstands, effective with the May/Jun 2009 issue. It is distributed by LMPI.

Fly Fusion

Posted by Scott On March - 25 - 2010

This issue marked a turning point in Fly Fusion’s evolution. The magazine up-graded to better cover stock, added perfect binding, re-positioned the logo far left to make room for a new drop down box device, and took the cover price up from $6.95 to $7.95…a 14% increase.

Backed by a strong retail promotion campaign in Canada, and with the support of Disticor and the wholesale community, this issue will be Fly Fusion’s best-selling issue ever.

It will outsell last year’s Winter issue by over 205% in units sold, and by 250% in revenue.

This cover just won an ACE AWARD (Award for Circulation Excellence) at the 2010 MagNet event for Best Retail Mid-Size Circulation category.


About Me

Scott Bullock is a veteran circulation expert with over 38 years experience in both Canada and the United States. He has worked on trade titles such as Publisher’s Weekly, Library Journal, School Library Journal and Small Press in the USA. In consumer magazines, Scott was the Circulation Director for D Magazine (the city magazine of Dallas, Texas), and in Canada he was the Circulation Director for Toronto Life, Fashion, and Canadian Art. From 2000 to 2004, Scott was a partner at Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. Scott has also held the post of VP Sales & Marketing, for CDS Global, Canada. Currently, CoversSell.Com is Scott’s circulation consultancy. Active clients include: Fly Fusion, Canadian Geographic, Canadian House & Home, Canada’s History, Canadian Real Estate Wealth, Canadian Woodworking, Canadian Cycling, Canadian Running, Canadian Scrapbooker, Legion, Harrowsmith, SkyNews, and SuperTrax.



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