Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for January, 2012

Pattison Purchases Co-Mag

Posted by Scott On January - 31 - 2012

One of Canada’s most celebrated entrepreneurs, Jimmy Pattison, has purchased Comag, the national distributor, from Conde Nast and Hearst.

More news on this, and quotes from industry insiders will be forthcoming tomorrow.

Great Canadian Covers 2011 (Political)

Posted by Scott On January - 31 - 2012

These two covers from Maclean’s stood out for a host of reasons for Great Canadian Covers 2011 (Political).

The May 16th issue was the “biggest news issue ever” in Maclean’s long and storied history covering Canadian politics.  The issue arguably forecast  Stephen Harper finally achieiving a majority government, and of the stunning collapse of the Liberal’s under the leadership of Michael Ignatief, and the rise of the NDP to our government in waiting.  The issue featured a $6.95 cover price…a $1 or 17% premium.  Sales of this editorial-rich issue were up by 207% from the same time slot from 2010, and with the $1 premium, a 258% lift in newsstand dollars.

The September 12th, 2011 issue of Maclean’s, featuring a triumphant Jack Layton, is a cover that will stand the test of time.  Looking at it today, knowing what we now know about Jack Layton’s terminal cancer, the joy in his face is positively heroic and the cover captures the spirit of the man that endures.  The “Special Tribute” issue is elegant, sophisticated, and inspirational.  Sales of this issue were up 65% from the same time slot the previous year.  It too featured a $6.95 cover price, a $1 premium over the normal price, thus lifiting newsstand revenues by 94%.   See additional information on Cover of the Week.

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Fortune Investor’s Guide 2012 Glitters

Posted by Scott On January - 28 - 2012

The Fortune Investor’s Guide 2012 sure glitters with gold.  Hard to miss it on a cluttered newsstand. 

With all the talk about the price of gold ranging from investment advisors, to returning to the “gold standard” advocated by Ron Paul in the Republican debates, to local pawn stars like Harold the Jewelry Buyer, Oran and the Loan Arranger competing  to buy my gold dental fillings, this cover exploits our fear and our greed beautifully.

Perhaps too brilliantly. 

One wag posted this “filed in the round file”  cover on his blog because there apparently was precious little coverage of gold or gold coins.  So while the cover may have succeeded on the one hand, it may have failed to deliver on the other.  A dangerous game to play.  Still, my guess is that the coin collector may be overly dramatic, and that this cover sells extremely well with investors looking for advice.

Great Canadian Covers 2011

Posted by Scott On January - 27 - 2012

Over the next week or so, I will be posting my picks for Great Canadian Covers 2011

Because I believe that newsstand-focused covers should be designed to sell, I have chosen covers that have come to my attention that posted impressive sales lifts, compared to the same time slot in the prior year.  These covers are not necessarily the best-selling cover for the year.  They may or may not win a beauty contest, but because consumers have voted with their wallets, these are covers that most certainly were winners.  

If you have a great cover success story…send me a jpg of the cover, along with the sales lift from prior year.  If they are noteworthy, I will include them in a special category.

Ali…Hall of Fame Worthy?

Posted by Scott On January - 26 - 2012

The April 1968 of Esquire Magazine is often listed as a top contender for all-time best covers.

(Thanks to reader Katina Solomon for bringing it forward for discussion).   She provided a link that she felt readers would appreciate.

The question is:  Do you think this cover is Hall of Fame Worthy?

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Mike Fox…to focus on GardenMaking full-time

Posted by Scott On January - 25 - 2012

In a memo to the staff at Rogers yesterday, Ken Whyte announced that Michael Fox is stepping down from his post at the end of the month after over 37 years of dedicated service.  The list of Mike’s accomplishments below is staggering.  Clearly, Mike’s career in publishing is extremely distinguished.  I asked Mike for a quote for this blog, and he graciously offered up this:

“I’m proud to have been part of teams at Rogers, Coast to Coast and Magazines Canada that have boosted the presence, market share and quality of Canadian magazines on our newsstands. We still need to cope with too much flooding of American titles with poor efficiencies. There’s lots of challenges in the newsstand system but retailers are right to push for smarter, more targeted supply,” said Fox.

I have had the pleasure of working with Mike over the years, and can say on a personal note that he can always be counted on for strong, critical thinking and leadership, for his willingness to volunteer his expertise to help others, to be a friend and good listener, and to always ofter thoughtful and judicisous advice.

Mike will no doubt continue to be an influential presence on the Canadian magazine scene, as he focuses his energy and lazer-like thinking on GardenMaking magazine, which was launched in the Spring of 2010.   Please take a moment to reach out to Mike and wish him well.

Leadership Announcement  
A message from Ken Whyte  
I am writing today to share the news that Michael Fox, Senior Vice-President, Circulation, Rogers Publishing Limited, has decided that he will retire at the end of January.  He’s had a tremendous career here at Rogers that has left a legacy not only on our own company, but on the Canadian magazine industry as a whole.Michael began working for our company—then known as Maclean Hunter—in 1974.  He was hired to work in the newsroom of the weekly Financial Post.  He progressed in the organization and it was while he was working as News Editor that he was asked in the early 1980s to lead the efforts to computerize the newsroom.  This led to his involvement in systems which eventually led to his involvement in circulation.Since then he’s contributed to countless innovations: taking the Financial Post daily, creating a team in Montreal to execute consumer Marketing in the French market, refocusing Business Circulation to Audience Development in our business publishing group, forging initial partnerships with Air Miles and Aeroplan, championing the creation of what is now Rogers Magazine Service, and launching what is now known as Rogers Readers Advantage before it became part of the Consumer Marketing Group.Michael has been highly visible and influential in the industry in too many ways to list here.  But highlights include serving as the Chair of various committees throughout the years at Magazines Canada.   He’s an honorary lifetime member of the Canadian Direct Marketing Association and has been on the Magazine Directors Advisory Committee at the Audit Bureau of Circulations.  The CMC Circulation Management Association named him Magazine Marketer of the Year in 2002 and Magazines Canada named him Volunteer of the Year in 2005.Perhaps Michael’s most important contribution to Rogers Publishing in recent years has been his active involvement in government relations and the relationship he has built directly with Canada Post.  He has been extremely influential in championing our interests day-to-day and in crisis situations.Although he will be available to us to ensure a smooth transition after this month, and although he’s agreed to continue working with us on some special projects, Michael’s ultimately hoping to spend his time riding the trails and roads of Niagara and visiting gardens here in Canada and around the world.  He’ll be working with his wife Beckie on Garden Making, a magazine they launched two years ago.

Please join me in thanking Michael for his immeasurable contributions and wishing him and his family the very best.  He will be missed.

Ken Whyte
President, Rogers Publishing

Apple Sells

Posted by Scott On January - 24 - 2012

Apple reported their 4th Quarter Earnings at the end of the bell today, and they are simply eye-popping results.

The company sold 37 million iPhones in the latest quarter, well ahead of the consensus forecast and more than double from a year ago. Apple also sold 15.4 million iPads, more than double from one year ago.

Apple posted earnings of $13.1 billion, or $13.87 a share, up from $6 billion, or $6.43 a share. Revenue surged 73% to $46.33 billion. About 58% of revenue came from international sales.

The stock is surging in after-hours trading, recently up more than 8% at $455, which would by far set a new record.

Also reported, by Pew Research Center, the percentage of U.S. adults owning tablets jumped from 10% to 19% from mid December to early January,  and E-reader ownership saw the same increase. Nearly one-third of those with college degrees now own tablets.

Special Issue of Canada’s History

Posted by Scott On January - 22 - 2012

The Feb/Mar 2012 issue of Canada’s History magazine is one not to be missed.  Both English Language and French Language editions will be published.

This issue is jam-packed with editorial coverage celebrating Canada’s proud tradition of lending a helping hand around the world.

“We are very proud of this issue, as it marks a major moment for the magazine. For the longest time, the stories in Canada’s History magazine (formerly The Beaver), focused almost exclusively on events that occurred within our borders. With this issue, we look beyond our borders to bring readers the stories of the countless Canadians who have made a difference around the world,” says Mark Reid, Editor.

“As well, our move to the perfect bound format signals our ongoing commitment to improving the overall reader experience. We’re excitied about the change, and we hope our readers will be, too.”

The issue marks a turning point:  this and all future issues of Canada’s History will be perfect bound.   The Special issue is priced at $7.99 and goes on sale January 30th, 2012.

Back Issues Selling On Tablets

Posted by Scott On January - 19 - 2012

According to Atlantic Monthly blogger Megan Garber back issues are selling like hot cakes.

Hearst Magazines reports that 30% of single copies sold on tablets are back issues, as opposed to the newly released issues.

Popular Science reports 40% of single copies sold are back issues.

Popular Photography reports that 41% of single copies sold are back issues.

The Canadian photography magazine Photo Life is now available on the Apple platform too.

This is certainly welcome news for publishers who can extract extra value from their archives.

Bottoms Up

Posted by Scott On January - 18 - 2012

The February issue of Toronto Life looks like a winner!

We love the white background, the simple image that works the 3 second rule masterfully, the subject matter that matters, and the bold type treatment.

Sarah Fulford, Editor of Toronto Life, says, “The subject taps into something exciting going on in the city right now: the proliferation of ambitious, creative and interesting new bars. To embody the trend, we put a drink on the cover that’s simply irresistible. It’s seductive, warm, and so big you just can’t miss it—the perfect antidote to a cold winter afternoon.” 

My personal preferance would be a grey goose martini, with a twist.  I also would have put the supporting sell lines on the left, rather than the right.  But I quibble.  This cover is sure to sell.  Bottoms up.


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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