Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for October, 2010

The Great One

Posted by Scott On October - 29 - 2010

This fabulous cover from the Hockey News is one to watch.  Special Interest Publications (SIPS) are all the rage these days.

The cover features arguably the biggest star (read celebrity) in the history of hockey.  Smart to have Gretzky in his Edmonton Jersey, looking young, vibrant and invincible.

Great use of the Hockey News brand, without overwhelming the main message:  Top 100 Players of All Time.

Edior Jason Kay says,

“In 1997, The Hockey News produced an acclaimed and definitive list of the top 100 hockey players of all time. Thirteen years later, that body of work has been updated and enhanced, with a notable twist, in THN’s Top 100 Players of All-Time, by Position. The publication charged a panel of experts to analyze what had changed in the past 13 years and re-rank the best players hockey has ever seen by the positions they played. The results are compelling. Since 1997, Patrick Roy has retired and Martin Brodeur has become the winningest goalie ever; how does that impact their standing? Steve Yzerman hadn’t won a Stanley Cup when the original work was produced, but finished his career with three. And where do relative newbies such as Sidney Crosby and Alexander Ovechkin fit on the food chain? All is revealed in THN’s Top 100 Players of All-Time, by Position. In addition to profiles, bios and statistical breakdowns on each of the top 100 stars, the slick 172-page magazine identifies the top five players ever for each of the 30 NHL franchises and offers opinions on how the future may unfold.”

The value proposition couldn’t be more clearly stated and is positioned for maximum newsstand impact.  The white cover sparkles, and the background treatment is very Esquire-ish.  The $7.99 price point makes it almost too good to be true.

Gold Rush

Posted by Scott On October - 29 - 2010

This archival image of a miner “panning” for gold makes the cover line Gold Rush conform to the 3 second rule…it’s radically clear what is being offered to readers.  The feature story, by award-wining author Charlotte Gray, is given plenty of room to breath.  We call that committing to the cover.  The Henry Hudson call out at the bottom uses color to draw the eye down the page.  The Gift Guide starburst is another classic device designed to help attract additional buyers, as are the 3 additional hooks in the colourful sky bar treatment.

With the run up in gold prices to close to $1,400 an ounce…the timeliness of our relationship to gold in Canada and the Klondike is another example of how past meets present in this entertaining and informative magazine.

The issue goes on sale November 29th.  It retails for $6.95

Look for promotions at Chapters/Indigo and HDS retail locations.


Posted by Scott On October - 27 - 2010

I’ve noticed, over the years, that for some strange reason, big boats tend to sell copies, even on magazines that are not about boats or ships or even the military.  It’s odd.

This cover, which has great eye contact (a one-eyed cyclops) is steaming right into your face.  The bold type treatment, and simple sell “SHIPS”, make it radically clear what the selling proposition offers.  The connection between image and words is better than the 3 second rule requires…try 1 second.  And the drop-down box featuring the 150 year old Shipwreck reinforces the overall themed nature of the package.

Clean and crisp.  Uncluttered.  Direct.  This cover could be used as a recruitment poster for the Navy.

Legion magazine’s Nov/Dec 2010 issue is scheduled to hit newsstands November 1st.  Look for a special display at Presse Commerce locations.


Posted by Scott On October - 22 - 2010

Well, if this cover doesn’t take your breath away, you must not be a red-blooded American boy like me.  Or you must have been asleep for the past 50 years.

This cover works on so many levels one hardly knows where to begin:

White cover, check!

Iconic Celebrity image, check!

Worldwide Exclusive, check!

Clean and Uncluttered treatment, check!

Radically clear, check!

Promise of secrets revealed, check!

Perfect use of red to direct the eye down the page, check!

Love it.  Can’t wait to see the sale report in 3 months!

Best Wildlife Pictures

Posted by Scott On October - 21 - 2010

Canadian Geographic is publishing its first-ever Special Interest Publication BEST WILDLIFE Pictures.

This high quality, perfect bound “bookazine” will retail for $12.95.

It will be a luscious 110 pages thick, perfect bound, glossy book with an oversized trim of 10 7/8th X 8.5.

There will be no advertising, making it the ultimate coffee-table gift item for the Holiday Season.

Subscribers do not get this issue, so over 200,000 dedicated Canadian Geographic customers will be looking for it at newsstands.

The On Sale date is November 1, 2010.  Look for POP promotions at Chapters/Indigo, Shoppers Drug Mart, Safeway, Hudson News, and other fine retailers.

Note:  The back cover features a group of Owls.  A contest to encourage dual facing displays for retailers has been launched.  The winner gets an Apple Ipad.

(See New & Networthy section of for more details)


Posted by Scott On October - 20 - 2010

Native People’s magazine focuses on the arts, culture and “lifeways” of the native peoples of the Americas.  It also reports on topics related to business, health, education, politics, sports, travel, the environment, food, language, history and other subjects associated with Native American life past and present.

This cover uses a vintage black and white portrait, strong type treatment, a simple one-word main sell line, and horizontal stripes to widen the visual appeal of the product.  It is clean, uncluttered, and makes a 3-second connection with intense eye-contact.

This cover should have little trouble being spotted, even on crowded shelves.

This issue goes on sale October 25th, 2010, and retails for $5.99

The Trudeau Special an enormous success.

Posted by Scott On October - 19 - 2010

Received a nomination for the Hall of Fame from Glenn Morgan, at Coast to Coast.

The Trudeau Special was an enormous success.  As Glenn points out:

“The special went on sale on October 23rd, 2000.  At that time $9.95 was a rather rare price in the newsstand marketplace.  The total draw was 146,500 copies.  Initially we distributed 106,500 copies, but subsequently shipped another 40,000 within  two weeks of the initial on sale date.  The total sale was 121,995 copies for an incredible 83.2% sell-through efficiency.”

According to Peter Willson, who oversaw the retail portion of the project on behalf of Rogers and lived every moment of this special newsstand journey:

“The reason it sold so well was the subject matter touched so many Canadians.  Because Trudeau represented, led, provoked and inspired an entire generation.  The Maclean’s editors caught that feeling throughout the book….but it was the cover that clinched the sale.”

Regarding the cover Willson says:

“Sombre but not morbid.  Distinguished.  Simple.  The word Trudeau dominates—there is no doubt what it is about.  Special Commemorative Issue makes it a must have.  And the back cover of Trudeau walking away down a street with his back to us, wearing his beret, was very touching and emotional.  In some cases at retail, the back cover got dual facings with key retailers.”

Regarding the $9.95 cover price, Willson talks about the success they had enjoyed with The Diana Tribute issue priced at $6.95.  So there was lengthy debate amongst the key players at Rogers.  The market spoke and the $9.95 cover prevailed and the rest was the opportunity to generate retail revenue.

Willson credits tremendous support from the wholesale community putting it on full-copy hold and performing re-distribution before Christmas, making it an ideal gift.  Then again in Toronto Airports before March break 2001.  Finally, when the CBC decided to air a mini series on Trudeau in the fall of 2001, Willson approached Chapters/Indigo for an exclusive on the last 3,000 copies they had in inventory and sold an astounding 66% of those copies too.

What a remarkable story.

Do you think this belongs in the Hall of Fame?

Trudeau, Hall of Fame Worthy?

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Azure, Quiz 1

Posted by Scott On October - 11 - 2010

In honour of Azure’s recent 25th Anniversary party, this Quiz highlights 30 of Azure’s great covers.

Enjoy the Quiz Show.

Simply choose the cover that out sold the others.

Click on the cover to see full image.


Azure, Quiz 2

Posted by Scott On October - 11 - 2010

Simply choose the cover that out sold the others.

Click on the cover to see full image.



Azure, Quiz 3

Posted by Scott On October - 11 - 2010

Simply choose the cover that out sold the others.

Click on the cover to see full image.



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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