Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for July, 2010

Peel & Reveal

Posted by Scott On July - 28 - 2010

Cottage Life has done a “Peel and Reveal” cover featuring Corona Beer on their Summer 2010 issue (for both subscriber and newsstand copies).

It is seamlessly executed.

“This was an idea that our sales team presented to the client about a year ago. It was expensive to produce, and required five additional days to print, glue and die cut. This is a first for Cottage Life, but the creative was executed easily. We were able to work with the client while sharing cover and creative at early stages with each other. Positioning of the peel worked well along the edge, and our cover lines were not compromised. This isn’t for everyone, but the concept was a success and everyone was happy,” said Jodi Brooks, Production Manager.

The creativity demonstrated here illustrates just how exciting the magazine medium can be. It deserves high praise. Clearly the entire team, from advertising, editorial and art, circulation and production worked in collaboration to achieve this success.

I’ll drink to that.


Posted by Scott On July - 26 - 2010

Fly Fusion is a quarterly magazine focused on fly-fishing addicts, both in Canada and the United States.

We approached the cover design on this issue almost as if it were an SIP (Special Interest Publication).

You will note that the word “Steelhead” appears four times:  First in the drop down box, secondly as the main selling feature, third with a supporting sell line and fourth with the bottom reference to Trey Combs, steelhead author.  And in case you were wondering, yes that is a monster Steelhead that you are making eye-contact with emerging from the depths.

  1. Radical Clarity
  2. Committing to the Cover
  3. The 3-Second Rule

These were the guiding rules used.  The Fall 2010 issue goes on sale August 23rd.  Cover price $7.95.


Best Rings! A new edgy cover from Native Peoples

Posted by Scott On July - 21 - 2010

Native Peoples is a niche arts and culture title, published out of Phoenix, Arizona. recently completed a comprehensive data scan on ten years (60 issues) of covers and sales data.
The findings helped the Publisher, Editor and Art Director, jump start a new cover consultation methodology.

One thing that emerged from the data scan was that whenever any type of jewellery appeared on the covers (even in the absence of a story relating to jewellery) sales spiked. The same results occurred whenever the words Santa Fe appeared. So, amongst other things, we decided to push both aggressively on this cover.

“Scott’s meticulous cover study has been eye-opening and we are very excited about the outcome,” said Stephen Phillips, Publisher.

The September 2010 issue is the first cover that robustly embraces many of the fundamental findings from our database. Look for it on Canadian Newsstands August 16th and in the United States August 17th.

Head to Head! Which Cover will Win?

Posted by Scott On July - 13 - 2010

Add a Comment and Vote for the best cover.
CoversSell.Com will report back when sales firm up.

Patrick Walsh, editor of Outdoor Canada says:

“Nothing says ‘Danger’ like a roaring grizzly, the epitome of Canada’s outdoor perils. That’s why the bear got the nod for our cover, chosen after several different iterations. Clearly, great minds think alike, although I do prefer our cover!”

John Kerr, Editor-In-Chief, at Ontario Out of Doors says :

“We put a bear on the cover because of the unfortunate attack on Gerald Marois, which was breaking news and happened just as the July issue was in production,” said Ontario OUT OF DOORS Editor-in-Chief John Kerr. “Our area writer and illustrator Tom Goldsmith from Coldwater was part of the coverage more so than the general media and was actually at the attack site early the next day. We acted quickly. We felt informing readers about the attack and the other information on the state of  Ontario’s black bear  population  was extremely important, since nuisance bears have been an ongoing topic since the cancellation of the spring hunt. We just presented the facts. It’s part of our mandate at OOD.”

Which Cover will win?

View Results

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NEW LOOK for Toronto Life!

Posted by Scott On July - 9 - 2010

I confess to being biased, but I love the New Look Toronto Life.

The new look pays tribute to the past, but with a modern edgy twist, that is sure to help it jump off newsstands.

According to Yasmin Seneviratne, crack newsstand marketing expert, “there are large poster promotions at several Great Canadian Newsstand stores and Gateway stores.  At the Union Station Gateway store there will be a “store domination program”, including  shelf talkers, big magazine stacks, a backlit durtrans ad, and a can’t-miss floor decal.  Hopefully this will encourage record newsstand sales of the magazine.”

The New Look price (nice starburst treatment) takes full advantage of the cover real estate.

My guess is that this move will also help bump the magazine’s PMB numbers, as the iconic logo has tons of equity.

More on this story:

Cats or Dogs?

Posted by Scott On July - 9 - 2010

The July/August 2010 issue of Canadian Geographic features a close up shot of a Lynx.  The prior issue featured a Coyote.

Both covers offer readers wildlife images, with predators acting as celebrity cover models.

The Lynx issue of  Canadian Geographic goes on sale July 19th.   

Look for retail promotions at:  Chapters/Indigo, Safeway, Metro/A&P, and BC Ferries and other fine retailers.

Which cover do you think will sell more copies?

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Free Magazine Won the Gold (Again)

Posted by Scott On July - 8 - 2010

Report on Business magazine, distributed free of charge in the Globe & Mail, won the Cover of the Year Award at the National Magazine Awards gala in June.

It is the fourth time that ROB has taken home the Gold Award, and third time this decade, thus dominating the 2000’s.  ROB now shares the honour (with Toronto Life) as the most decorated magazine ever in this important category, according to the NMAF web site:

Magazine Title Year Award Type
TORONTO LIFE How the Gun Has Changed Toronto 2008 Gold
MAISONNEUVE The Food Issue 2007 Gold
AZURE Water 2006 Gold
REPORT ON BUSINESS 10 Dirty Secrets of a Bay Street Temp 2005 Gold
FQ MAGAZINE Summer Issue 2004 2004 Gold
CANADIAN HOUSE & HOME Free Spirited Decorating 2003 Gold
REPORT ON BUSINESS Body Flop 2002 Gold
SATURDAY NIGHT What’s a wife worth? 2001 Gold
SATURDAY NIGHT Saul Bellow 2000 Gold
CANADIAN GEOGRAPHIC Through the Lens 1999 Gold
SHIFT Bran Man 3000 1998 Gold
TORONTO LIFE The best food 1997 Gold
TORONTO LIFE No brainer 1996 Gold
EQUINOX Is It All in Your Head? 1995 Gold
ENROUTE Canada’s Top 150 Restaurants 1994 Gold
C MAGAZINE Biology Obsession Invention 1993 Gold
MTL Mordecai Richler 1992 Gold
MONTREAL Hotshots! 1991 Gold
EQUITY Serious Money 1990 Gold
IDLER The Swimming Hole 1989 Gold
REPORT ON BUSINESS Bolshoi Mak 1988 Gold
MONTREAL October 1987 1987 Gold
FORUM The Slower Learner’s Dilemma 1986 Gold
T.O. MAGAZINE Making It 1985 Gold
SATURDAY NIGHT The Eve of Destruction 1984 Gold
QUEST Welcome to that Year 1983 Gold
PRISM INTERNATIONAL September 1982 1982 Gold
QUEST Raging Berbick 1981 Gold
VANGUARD Art Work by Betty Goodwin of Montreal 1980 Gold
WEEKEND MAGAZINE The Eisenhower Years 1979 Gold
WEEKEND MAGAZINE Seal Hunt 1978 Gold
TORONTO LIFE The Italians 1977 Gold

Report On Business

Many winners of this award have been primarily controlled circulation titles, and many are sadly no longer with us, such as FQ, Shift, Montreal, Weekend and Saturday Night. 

In an online Poll conduced by  3% of the 121 respondents predicted that ROB “would win” the award, and only 1% of the 67 respondents said that it “should win.”

Perhaps being unburdened by competing on crowded newsstands, and not being handicapped by the need to motivate readers to subscribe, (and thus help support the writers, editors, fact checkers, photographers, illustrators and art directors),  has its merits after all.

PIRATES…an Iconic Theme!

Posted by Scott On July - 8 - 2010

Canada's History - Pirates

This cover is a big test for Canada’s History…as it reaches out to broaden the market appeal of what Canadian history is all about.

First: it breaks the rule about black over white backgrounds…but if ever there was ever a time to go black, this is it
Second: it radically commits to the subject matter and is not at all cute with the cover lines
Third: the typography is assertive
Fourth: clean and uncluttered
Fifth: taps into iconic image

Given the recent box office success of The Pirates of The Caribbean series of movies…this cover hopes to mine the “treasure trove” of lore, Halloween fantasy and Hollywood fascination with Pirate culture.  And considering what is happening in Somalia these days, pirating is very much alive and creating new history.

The August/September issue of Canada’s History is on sale July 26th. Look for retail promotions at: Chapters/Indigo, Coles/Smithbooks, and Presse Commerce locations.

Up Here! Now that is Cheeky!

Posted by Scott On July - 8 - 2010

Congratulations to UP HERE magazine for having the courage to try something sure to generate controversy and free publicity.

Rule #6:    Be Controversial
Rule #20:  Be Sexy

By taking a page out of the Sports Illustrated play book, and making it their own, UP HERE has succeeded in getting national media coverage.

Editor, Aaron Sptizer, predicts that this cover will shatter the 26-year old magazine’s record for best-selling cover ever.  I suspect he is probably right.

UP HERE was recently named Magazine of the Year (arguably the most prestigious award bestowed by the publishing industry) on this outstanding regional magazine.

More on this story:

Improving Their Odds

Posted by Scott On July - 5 - 2010

This fantastic cover from PROFIT is hard to miss on a crowded newsstand.  And it radically commits to two cover rules:

Rule #12:  Use Bold Type
Rule #21:  Use Numbers

Tip:  My only quibble is that the UPC code should be in the lower right corner, switching spots with the great little orange banner, in order to take full advantage of the realities of merchandising at most newsstands.

This cover will sell briskly.


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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