Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for December, 2011

Sexy CB Cover Sells

Posted by Scott On December - 31 - 2011

The sexy September 27th, 2010 cover of Canadian Business that proclaimed that “Sex Isn’t Selling” actually sold well.  See original Cover of the Week post here:

This issue sold 24% more copies than the same issue in the same time slot in 2009; and 14% better than the same issue in 2008.

Cherry Blossoms

Posted by Scott On December - 23 - 2011

Ad Age the March 28th issue of the New Yorker as one of the Top 10 Covers (U.S.) of 2011.

Ad Age said:  “The tsunami, earthquake and nuclear meltdown that hit Japan in March weren’t easy to capture, but this cover reflected the “eerie silence” that struck artist Christoph Niemann in videos and interviews following the disasters. And instead of drawing the Fukushima Daiichi plant, which lacked the hourglass-shaped cooling towers we associate with nuclear facilities, Niemann rendered cherry blossoms as radiation trefoils.”

According to ABC statistics, the March 28th issue of the New Yorker sold 28,000 single copies in print + 2,834 digital single copies, for a grand total of 30,834.  This was below the overall average achieved for the January-June 2011 ABC period. 





On the other hand, the New Yorker did have a blockbuster seller with their February 14th issue, which sold 61,000 single copies in print + 5,994 digital single copies, for a grand total of 66,994.  This was the best selling issue of the New Yorker dating all the way back to November 17th 2008…roughly 125 issues ago…quite an achievement!

In terms of newsstand revenue, the February 14th issue generated $401,294 while the nominated cover generated $184,695, a variance of $216,599 or a 117% positive variance (and that’s before factoring in insert card revenue).

Given the ratebase bonus this issue achieved for advertisers, its surprising that Ad Age overlooked this classic New Yorker cover, and the remarkable sales lift it generated for all concerned. 




Canadian Yachting + West

Posted by Scott On December - 23 - 2011

Canadian Yachting magazine…Canada’s only national boating lifestyle magazine featuring power and sailboat reviews, cruising destinations in Canada, the U.S., and the Caribbean, safety tips, DIY repairs and upgrades, and more…is debuting a new edition for the West.  Canadian Yachting first launched in 1971.

The new Canadian Yachting West cover can be seen here:


Katy Perry Peekaboo

Posted by Scott On December - 22 - 2011

Ad Age the June issue of Vanity Fair as one of the Top 10 Covers (U.S.) of 2011.

Ad Age said:  “Vanity Fair kicked off summer with a cover showing singer Katy Perry wearing a Christian Dior Haute Couture corset in an arresting photo by Annie Leibovitz.”

While the June 2011 cover was a huge improvement compared to the June 2010 issue (which was the worst-seller in 12 years), it certainly was not a huge success at the newsstand.  It is the 2nd worst June issue in the past 12 years for Vanity Fair. 

Yes we love the peekaboo eye contact, the Dior corset, and the curvy celebrity superstar.  However, the January 2011 Johnny Depp cover sold 60% more copies  (187,000 more units), which at the $4.99 cover price equals $933,130 gross newsstand dollars (and that’s before you factor in the insert card revenue).  It’s the best Janaury sales result in the past 12 years. Plus, it ranks as 9th best overall of the past 126 covers published.  So, depending on ones glandular bias (a tip of the cap to Marq DeVilliers), I can’t help wondering why Johnny didn’t get the nod from Ad Age.

Here in Canada, Fashion magazine featured Katy Perry with great success.

X Factor

Posted by Scott On December - 22 - 2011

Ad Age the May 20th Time Magazine cover as one of the Top 10 Covers (U.S.) of 2011

Ad Age said:

” This was the fourth Time magazine cover to use a red X, following covers marking the deaths of Adolf Hitler (on the issue dated May 7, 1945), Saddam Hussein (April 21, 2003) and Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (June 19, 2006). The bin Laden version was designed by Tim O’Brien.”

I blogged about this cover back on May 4th

According to ABC statistics, this issue sold  362,109 single copies. Osama X’d beat the average of the other 25 issues in the Jan–Jun 2011 ABC period by 418%.  Plus, it out sold the previous 140 issues of Time magazine. Impressive.

It was the best-selling issue since November 17th, 2008, when, ironically, Time featured President-Elect Obama, who ulttimately, as Commander in Chief, authorised Osama’s execution.  In case you are wondering, Obama sold 575,000 copies.

A classic cover from Time, and arguably a candidate for the Hall of Fame, in the Less is More category.

Sadam X’d sold 168,450 according to ABC.  Abu X’d sold 96,000 according to ABC.  Hitler X’d…perhaps the good folks at ABC will dig that out of the archives for us?

1% Solution

Posted by Scott On December - 22 - 2011

Art Director John Montgomery  has created another timely masterpiece for Canadian Business. 

This cover delivers on so many levels, it certainly will be hard to miss on the newsstands.  This year-end special issue is relentlessly focused on both its core audience, and in expanding its reach to broaden the sales potential.  It promises both a provocative read, an informative read, and an entertaining read.

Look for sales on this one to spike.

Great use of Skybar area

Fabulous Starburst

Bold Type Treatment

Clean & Uncluttered



Silver Border Signals Special

Great attention to the Details

May 2011 GQ…Now that is a Bad Buzz!

Posted by Scott On December - 21 - 2011

Ad Age recently announced their Top 10 (U.S) Magazine Covers of 2011.

A number of my readers have asked me to comment, because they thought the choices were “odd.”

Let’s start wit the May 2011 issue of GQ.

Ad Age said:

“This year’s “Hangover” sequel was a dull copy, but co-star Zach Galifianakis at least shone in 2011, particularly as Ray Hueston in the return of HBO’s “Bored to Death.” For this cover, photographer Martin Shoeller brought out the comedian’s inner light — by dusting his beard in gold.”

I don’t know about you, but I didn’t bother to check out this “dull copy,” either at the cinema or at the newsstand.

According to ABC statistics, of the past 21 issues published (from the Decemeber 2009 statement through the June 2011 statement) this cover was out-sold by 19 of the previous 21 issues. That’s enough to give any circulation manager, distributor, or retailer a major hangover. But the dusting of gold on the beard is news…I just thought he hadn’t had a shower.

Canada’s History…Then & Now

Posted by Scott On December - 21 - 2011

Canada’s History (aka The Beaver) first debuted in 1920. 

According to an article published by the Beaver in 2004:  The magazine was launched by the Hudson Bay company.  It is Canada’s second oldest continuously published magazine (after Maclean’s).  The Beaver was created as a 250th anniversary present “devoted to The Interests of Those Who Serve the Hudson’s Bay Company.”

Published monthly for the first four years, it was complete with the news and views of happenings in the various stores and posts across Canada. The first issue appeared under the banner, The Beaver, A Journal of Progress.  The “successful name” was chosen in a staff competition, and 5000 copies were printed and distributed at a total cost of $570.

Beginning with the December 1923 issue, the Company began making the magazine available to “those not in the service” at a rate of one dollar a year, a rate still in effect well into the ’30s. The following year, the magazine ceased being a monthly publication and became a quarterly.

Significant changes took place in 1933 with the September issue. The original digest format was replaced by the standard magazine design. The revised focus was spelled out on the masthead changing from “A Journal of Progress” to “A Magazine of the North.”

In 1986, The Beaver became a bimonthly magazine. The publisher decided to break with tradition and expand the focus of the magazine to include all Canadian history — introducing Atlantic and Central Canadian stories for the first time. The masthead was revitalized to say “Exploring Canada’s History.”

The following covers show you how the magazine has been re-designed over the decades:

Launch October 1920

September 1923

September 1933

Winter 1956

Apr/May 1986

Feb/Mar 1999

Oct/Nov 2005

Feb/Mar 2008 (First SIP)

Apr/May 2010 (Re-Launch)

How Much is a Hotlink Worth?

Posted by Scott On December - 21 - 2011

In a recent article by Ad Age, the question is posed:  How much is a hotlink worth?

As publishers continue to experiment with digital subscriptions and single copy sales, figuring out the value of this new medium is critical.  Regardless of whether the ad is in a Zinio edition, an Apple Ipad, or on the new Kindle Fire, automatically activating web addresses for free is no longer the case.

Conde Naste has set a benchmark of $5,000 to activate each web address from a print ad.  Time Inc. has set a different policy. 

With respect to the question of whether print subscribers should have to pay again to read on a tablet, Hearst says yes, while Time Inc. and Conde Nast say no. 

Keep an eye on the tablet sales data coming out post christmas, and on the new ABC data…key trends to watch.

People YearBook Sells

Posted by Scott On December - 20 - 2011

The 2011 People Yearbook, which was featured as the Cover of the Week, sold 17,043 units in Canada, at a cover price of $15.99, generating a staggering $272,517 gross newsstand dollars.

See original Cover of the Week Post:

More evidence that high quality, vertical SIP’s, priced aggressively, are working at newsstands.

Efficiency was respectable, at 33% overall.


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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