Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for March, 2012

Size Matters (says Mr. Magazine)

Posted by Scott On March - 22 - 2012

In an article on, Mr. Magazine offers up his opinion on the importance of size, when it comes to a fabulous magazine reading experience.

It’s all about quality.

Mr. Magazine points to foreign examples, but perhaps more importantly for the North American market, he refers to the approach being taken by Hearst.  This passage is key:

“David Carey, president of Hearst Magazines, explained to me in a recent interview why Hearst is upsizing its magazines: “We are investing in a number of our editions because we do want to be best in class in all of our titles. We do know that as far as advertising, we want to be, ideally, one, two, maybe three; in terms of a category, you don’t want to be four or five.” In the last three years, Hearst has upsized Country Living and Good Housekeeping, and published both Food Network and HGTV magazines in a larger size than the majority of the magazines in the marketplace.”

MPA Event on Digital

Posted by Scott On March - 22 - 2012

More on digital sales from U.S. MPA event, in an aricle on  (see below)

Some key observations include:

By 2014, it’s estimated there will be 89.5 million tablets users in the United States; this represents 27.7 percent of the total population

  • Currently, the iPad (which sold over 3 million units of its third incarnation after its launch last week) makes up 83 percent of the U.S. tablet market
  • Conde Nast’s president, said,  “We have a $15 million business that came out of nowhere, that we didn’t have last year.”
  • Future Publishing’s UK division saw a $1 million increase in new revenue after the Apple Newsstand launch

Jann Bares It for Zoomer

Posted by Scott On March - 19 - 2012

Zoomer Magazine’s April 2012 issue is arguably the most daring/risky cover they have attempted since launch.

“In the issue Jann Arden tells it like it is on turning fifty (50), amping up her humorous damn-the-torpedoes honesty.  In a photograph taken by Bryan Adams, Jann Arden bares all for a centerfold,” says Kathryn Eves, Marketing and PR Manager for Zoomer.

Jann on why she chose to pose nude:

“It appealed to my sense of frustration with body image in mainstream beauty and fashion, something I have always been passionate about: the fact that most of us normal women are marginalized and set aside for not looking a certain way.  Doing a nude shot would make a huge statement.  So, for the first time and perhaps the last, I took my duds off.  Scared?  Yes, but somehow relieved to be able to say, “Hey, women of the planet Earth.  Love thyself right now.  Don’t wait until it’s too late!”

Kudos for risk taking!

Cabin Fever

Posted by Scott On March - 18 - 2012

The new issue of Cottage Life sure looks like a winner.

Not only is this an Anniversary issue, but the cover story by Roy MacGregor is probably too much for any cottage, or cabin, lover to resist.

This cover is hard to miss even on a crowded newsstand.

If you haven’t already got the fever, this issue may just ignite you.

  • Clean and uncluttered
  • Strong Type Treatment
  • Nice Starburst
  • Good use of lower left real estate for addtional hooks


Thanks for Noticing

Posted by Scott On March - 18 - 2012

Ad Age magazine reported recently on the fact than newsstand sales in Canada are doing much better then in the United States.

Chris Purcell, of Transcontinental, weighs in on why.

East Coast Living (Before and After)

Posted by Scott On March - 9 - 2012

Refreshing your magazine’s look is important, for many reasons…not just to juice newsstand sales.  Keeping the magzine fresh and vibrant is important to subscribers and advertisers too.

After all, we are in the information and entertainment business, and our magazines help high-end brands (that spend a lot of time thinking about design as part of the brand-building exercise) show off their products and services in a modern and sophisticated environment that is as equally lush, vibrant, slick and sassy, as they are.

East Coast Living won a free “magazine makeover” from K9 Design.  So, what has happened since?

According to Janice Hudson, Editor, “The redesign has been very well received by our readers and advertisers. I’ve found that the new contemporary design appeals to our core group of readers, but also to younger, urban readers, which is very exciting. It’s wonderful to be presenting our stories in a fresh, modern way. There’s a new energy surrounding the magazine, which is building interest and buzz among our advertisers and our subscribers.  Even people outside of Atlantic Canada are recognizing that we’re a modern, sophisticated publication.”

“The new design has also strengthened our advertising revenues for the magazine. Overall ad revenues have grown by 20 per cent since 2009. Full-page ads increased from 19 per cent in 2009 to 26 per cent in 2011. The amount of national advertisers grew from 15 per cent in 2009 to 27 per cent in 2011,” says Hudson.

It’s a good idea to refresh your look to help circulation efforts, but when it generates ad sales increases like this, that’s golden.

Full disclosure:  I was a sponsor, and a judge, of the contest, and K9 is a sponsor of this blog.

9/11 Special Sells 124,844

Posted by Scott On March - 9 - 2012

The September 11th, 2011 issue of Time magazine sold 124,844 single copies, according to ABC statistics.  It outsold the prior year’s issue in that time slot by 51,252 copies or a whopping 70%.

That’s an impressive pick up!

But what a cover it was.  Clearly this tragic anniversary remains an important milestone that still resonates deeply. Subject Matter Matters.

However, there were 4 other issues  in 2011 that sold even better for the weekly magazine:

December 26th, 2011 (Person of the Year/Protester): 142,673

October 17th, 2011 (Steve Jobs):  165,675

May 16th, 2011 (Royal Wedding):  214,685

May 20th, 2011 (Osama X’d): 362,109

See previous posts with regard to Time 2011 covers:

An Old Idea is New Again

Posted by Scott On March - 8 - 2012

I just received my new April issue of Toronto Life.  Looks just like the Cincinnati magazine cover I blogged about last week.  A loyal reader pointed out to me that this concept has been around for a while.

The New York cover was done in January 2007, and sold nearly 26,000 copies or 28% better than the average that year!

The Boston cover sold below their average for that year.

The Toronto Life rendition is strong, and should sell briskly. Less clutterd.  Nice touches of color.  Less is more.  Love the little mini mag guide that comes with it. 

Jessica does Demi Moore Re-Do

Posted by Scott On March - 8 - 2012

The March issue of Elle (U.S.) features a “re-do” with Jessica Simpson, pregnant and nude, riffing on the classic Vanity Fair cover shot by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz, which featured Demi Moore, pregant and nude.

The Vanity Fair cover sold gonzo numbers. 

See post here:

I doubt the “re-do” will replicate the sales numbers of the original, but will probably help lift sales over the current averages.

Of course, there have been other pregnant celebrity covers that have tried this idea too…

Jennifer + Mega issue

Posted by Scott On March - 5 - 2012

The March issue of In Style is a knock out.  It’s also as thick as a phone book.

The cover features Jennifer Anniston…who as a cover girl almost always delivers strong newsstand sales.  The 552 page Mega Issue is impressive…who said ad pages are hard to come by?

Great eye contact.  Love the way Jennifer interupts the logo.  Super use of numbers to quantify the benefits.  And love the type on an angle.

This issue is sure to sell big…take it to the bank.


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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