Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for April, 2012

Maisy Celebrates 10 Years!

Posted by Scott On April - 30 - 2012

Maisonneuve magazine celebrates their 10th Anniversary with the current issue.

Founded by Derek Webster, the little magazine from Montreal has earned a reputation as one of Canada’s best magazines, constantly winning prestigious awards for editorial excellence.

The issue is recommended reading by Globe and Mail magazine expert James Adams, On the Stands, for their coverage of the Occupy Toronto protest.

The cover is sure to generate sales too. 

I love the big bold type treatment, the corner slash, even the upc code placement.

Bottoms Up

Posted by Scott On April - 28 - 2012

For those of you, like me, who look forward to a Friday night glass of wine, and a good magazine to curl up with, here are two recent covers from the Wine Spectator that are noteworthy.

Wine Specator has been doing their annual Top 100 Wines cover for years.  And it is almost always an “all type” no image approach. 

According to their ABC report, this fabulous cover sold 84,466 copies.  This represents a lift in sales of 56,578 copies or 203% better than the average of  the other eight (8) issues in the December 2011 rate base period. 

Don’t be affraid of “all type” treatments.  I love the white background, the gold frame, and even the cover slash. It is clean, unclutterd, benefit-oriented and elegantly rendered.   Rule # 2:  Subject Matter Matters.   I’ll drink to that!

And of course, Wine Spectator also does gorgeous covers with photography too, like this winner from December 15th, 2011, which sold 31,635 copies, or 16% better than the average of the others in that rate base period (leaving aside the Top 100). 

“Hey, at least it is our Smut”

Posted by Scott On April - 27 - 2012

An interesting and entertaining article in today’s National Post by William Watson, pokes fun at the Department of Canadian Heritage, Stephen Harper, Feminists, English Canadian prudes, Quebec culture, Sex Trade Workers, and Canadian magazine publishers, all in one hilarious and infuriating poke in the eye.

At least Watson is honest enough to inform us where he stands, when he writes, “Whether or not you think the government should be reinforcing Canadians’ magazines purchases–and this page thinks it shouldn’t be–the idea is at least to reinforce actual cash-on-the-barrel-head purchases, not to supplant readers’ tastes entirely.  Subsidies are proportional to consumer purchases.” 

It’s interesting how Watson fails to mention that newspapers are HST exempt,  but that magazines are not, which means magazine purchases contribute to the government coffers, while newspapers get a free ride…talk about a subsidy, hello.

While I think both covers are quite effective at their mission, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether Watson is correct when asking the rhetorical tongue-in-cheek question:  “With the scale advantages American girlie magazines enjoy (and “guys-ie” magazines too apparently), aren’t we patriotically obliged to help protect local production against unfair foreign competition?”

Pehaps Mr. Watson answers his own question with a question in closing, “How long before we start hearing from Quebec about how moralistic English Canadians are and uptight about sex?”  Judging by the New York Times Best Sellers List, with Fifty Shades of Grey topping the charts, I’d say that most Americans, and Canadians, are not as uptight as Mr. Watson would like you to believe.

And since the National Post chose not to publish the cover of the Gay publication (could it be his readers are too uptight to handle it? the Post is homophobic? Sexist? or perhaps simply “space challenged”?, as opposed to hypocritical?), for the sake of gender equality, and as a public service, here are the covers.  To each his/her own.


AMPA Best Cover(s) 2012

Posted by Scott On April - 25 - 2012

One of the honours handed out by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) is the Best Cover award.

This from Suzanne Trduel, Executive Director of AMPA:

“AMPA’s members are Alberta-based magazine publishers who strive to produce outstanding periodicals that reflect a uniquely Albertan perspective. The Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA)  supports quality Alberta magazine content by recognizing, celebrating and promoting excellence through its awards program. Recognizing the great work that is produced within the community both strengthens and inspires us to further excellence. Entries were evaluated by an expert judging panel and in each category three finalists were chosen. ”

Here are the three finalists:

Avenue was this year’s winner.  Congratulations to all these fabulous western-based magazines.

Full Disclosure:  I was one of three judges.

River Shiver

Posted by Scott On April - 24 - 2012

Fresh off the press, the new issue of 4WDrive is set to hit newsstand May 7th.  It’s the third issue since art director Cassandra Redding re-designed the logo and cover template.

  • The main image is agressive and full of high throttle energy, could make your toes curl
  • The Sky Bar area works hard to push a key selling feature
  • The 3 additional supporting hooks beneath the main feature use color to help the eye travel across and down the page
  • UPC tucked away neatly in the lower right (Baltic Avenue) corner

War Declared!

Posted by Scott On April - 24 - 2012

The May/Jun 2012 issue of LEGION is ready to do battle at Canada’s newsstands.

The cover story continues the magazine’s on-going coverage of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 (note the large starburst in the upper right corner).

We’ve discovered that our newsstand buyers respond favorably to images of ships, and this war ship illustration is heading straight at you (note the way the sail cuts into the skybar, overlaps with the sub head and the black frame on the right edge, to create a 3-d effect).

Good use of the valuable left hand side real estate, starting with Killer U Boats in the St. Lawrence, all the way down the page.  Bold type treatment and vibrant yellow alternating with white, helps draw the eye down the page.  The red + symbol  echoes the Union Jack flags, and offers balance to the starburst, from corner to corner of this vibrant cover.

Tomboy Cover

Posted by Scott On April - 21 - 2012

A very intetesting article in today’s Globe & Mail which, in the print editon,  features a fabulous cover from LIFE magazine in 1965.

The cover is a classic “less is more” treatment.

It is  a great example of the power of an image to get you to stop and take a second glance.  Placed in historical context, the cover was arguably radical,  tackling an important issue about the gender equality movement, and also being ahead of the curve with a sport (skateboarding) that was still in its infancy of developing for both men and women.

Is it Hall of Fame worthy?

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New Glow

Posted by Scott On April - 12 - 2012

The newly designed Glow Magazine is set to debut.  Formally published by Rogers, it is now published by St. Joe’s.

The art director, Daniel Mackinnon,  says:

“The magazine has been designed with lots of white space with smart editorial entry points. This supports our fresh, modern and uncluttered approach to design. The additional space allows the images and type to come alive before the reader’s eyes, really pulling them into stories.”

                     New By St. Joe’s                                Feb/Mar 2012 By Rogers

Fish Named Wanda

Posted by Scott On April - 11 - 2012

The Summer 2012 issue of Fly Fusion is set to go to press, and it is “pin-up” poster quality.

I preach about “committing” to the cover and the “3 second rule”, and this cover delivers.  Let’s call our cover girl the trout named Wanda.   She is gorgeous, making fabulous eye contact, and is as alluring as Mae West who understood that ” it is better to be looked over than to be over looked.”

How can any fly fisherman not be reeled in by this beauty?

The bold type signals strongly that this cover feature is important…it is a great read, both from a tacitical perspective and for its lyrical literary qualities.  Other stories deliver on the benefits, benefits, benefits quotient too!

Anderson who?

Posted by Scott On April - 10 - 2012

An interesting article from John Harrington, by way of  Bo Sacks.

Another example why it is good to be in Canada.

Court Supports Anderson Appeal. Anti-Trust Suit Against Publishers and National Distributors Will Proceed

By John Harrinton

 Last week, a United States Court of Appeals upheld the motion of Anderson News and vacated an earlier decision of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York that had dismissed the former wholesaler’s anti-trust suit against magazine publishers, national distributors, and a wholesaler.  The original case was dismissed in August, 2010 (The New Single Copy, 8/9/10).  Anderson brought the suit in the Spring of 2009, after nearly all of its supply of magazines was cut off and, consequently, the wholesaler suspended operations.  The defendants in the suit are American Media, Inc., Bauer Publishing Co., Curtis Circulation Company, Distribution Services, Inc., Hachette Filipacchi Media, U.S., Hudson News Distributors, Kable Distribution Services, Rodale, Inc., Time Inc., and Time/Warner Retail Sales & Marketing.  The Court’s ruling expresses “no view as to the merits of Anderson’s claims,” but does mean that the suit will proceed.  As of last Friday, a schedule has not been set.

 As a result, the events of early 2009 which caused massive disruptions in the magazine distribution channel, are back in the news and their resolution is far from settled.  In mid-January of that year, Anderson, then estimated to be the second largest magazine wholesaler with a market share of more than 20%, notified publishers it would require a seven cents a copy distributed surcharge, and if publishers did not agree to the charge, copies would not be delivered to retailers in February.  Anderson also said publishers would have to assume the cost of the magazine inventory in retail accounts receiving scan-based-trading (SBT) services.  Source Interlink Companies, then the largest wholesaler, followed by threatening a similar, although not identical, surcharge.  After a hectic period of activities, including Source Interlink claiming that it had rescinded its demand, Anderson and Source found themselves without nearly 80% of their magazine supply by the first week of February.  Source obtained a U.S. District Court restraining order and began receiving supplies within a short period.  Eventually, Source signed contracts guaranteeing magazine supplies with the national distributors.  Anderson did not seek such an order and on February 7, 2009, announced that it “suspendednormal businessactivitieseffectiveimmediately.”  The company did not resume operations and shortly thereafter filed its anti-trust suit.  (Most of these events and the subsequent realignment of the channel were covered in editions of The New Single Copy published in late January through March of 2009).

 The defendants in the suit include many major publishers, three of the four major national distributors, and one of the three large wholesalers.  The national distributor Comag Marketing Group (CMG), in 2009 a partnership of publishers Conde Nast and Hearst Magazines, had a distribution contract in place with Anderson and Source Interlink and, as a result, did not terminate supplies.  The News Group was a partner with Anderson News in a logistics provider, Prologix, and subsequently agreed to buy some Anderson facilities.  It is now the largest wholesaler.  Source Interlink Companies, then a public company, filed for bankruptcy in the spring of 2009, and emerged a private company, owned by its investors, later that year.  A notable  development coming out of the period is that there are now contracts between national distributors and wholesalers guaranteeing magazine supply as long as wholesalers fulfill specified obligations.

 Within the past three months, the Jim Pattison Group, parent of The News Group, bought Comag from Hearst and Conde Nast.  In late March, a division of Hudson Media, parent of Hudson Distributors, became a partner in Comag with the Pattison Group.

 Today, Anderson Media Corporation, which Anderson News was part of, through several entities, is a major distributor of DVDs, recorded music, and books, and maintains other businesses, including a magazine distribution service to book stores, warehouse club stores, and other retail categories.  On its website,, it refers to the events of early 2009, and the filing of the anti-trust suit.  It notes that the Anderson family “has committed more than $10 million to this action.”


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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