Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for November, 2012


Posted by Scott On November - 28 - 2012

The December 2012 issue of Vogue is beyond fantastic.

The stunning cover shot of Anne Hathaway was done by Annie Leibovitz.

The cover is elegant, sophisticated and powerfully alluring in the most refined way.

It’s sure to sell.

Polar Bears Cool

Posted by Scott On November - 27 - 2012

The December 2012 issue of Canadian Geographic features a cover story on Polar Bears.  I hope you Like It as much as I do.

Polar Bears are to Canadian Geographic what Angelina Joile and Brad Pitt are to celebrity titles…i.e. sexy idols for their readers that really help sell copies.

This cover shows a mother Polar Bear with two adorable cubs in tow, staring us down.  While the supporting sell lines may be a bit hard to read (all white drop out on ice and snow), the cover should still sell extremely well.

  • Rule #2:  Subject Matter Matters
  • Rule #30:  If it works, keep doing it

Check out these other great Polar Bear Covers:

  1. SIP Cover from 2010 was Best Seller that year…an increase of 16% better then the overall average in terms of units, and 121% better in newsstand revenue as a result of the $12.95 cover price
  2. December 1996 cover was the second best seller that year, and performed 18% better than the average of all other issues combined
  3. December 2005 cover was the second best seller that year, and perfomed 7% better than the average  of all other issues combined

Suncrusier Make-Over…Ad Sales up 12%

Posted by Scott On November - 22 - 2012

A new cover template for Suncruiser has just been created by art director Cassandra Redding.  The new and improved magazine is set to debut on newsstands in both Canada and the United States.

The logo has been completely re-worked, the sky bar area has been cleaned up, the type has been beefed up, large numeric benefit-oriented sell lines have been added, and more hooks have been squeezed in without cluttering up the cover.

“This has been a very exciting transition for us.  Traditionally, we published in the middle of January in order to service the Seattle and Vancouver Boat Shows, but the appetite of our advertisers got us thinking about publishing earlier and finding greater reach.  We were a bit nervous about bumping up our deadline by 5 weeks this year, but in fact it has already paid off.  We had an increase of 12% in ad revenues and we can attribute it directly to reaching the BC, AB and Washington State markets.  We also decided for a complete cover re-design and are looking forward to seeing how it performs on newsstands,” says Jason Tansem, Publisher.

The Special Annual retails for $6.95, on newsstands December 10th.

Forecast 2013

Posted by Scott On November - 21 - 2012

The January 2013 issue of Canadian Real Estate Wealth is set to hit newsstands on December 10th, 2012.

While last year’s Jaunaury issue set an all-time record for units sold, this year’s edition looks like a serious threat to break that record.

The cover price has been raised from $7.99 to $8.99.  The issue is 124 pages thick compared to 116 last year with ads climbing.  The distributor has ordered a new record quantity of copies.  Dealer coverage is at a new all time high.  All the pieces are in place.

A crisp white background, sets off the main selling ribbon and supporting ribbons vibrantly.  The addition of the “celebrity” cut in, along with the other “numerical” benefits, underscore the value-proposition of this compelling annual.  The title is on a role, with 3rd quarter results up a whopping 44% from prior year’s 3rd quarter.


Posted by Scott On November - 21 - 2012

The 2013 Eating & Drinking special is sure to be a hit on newsstands…as it is every year!  This top-selling SIP from Toronto Life is 146 pages thick, and is available for $9.95 at better newsstands across the city on November 26th, 2012.

“Our goal was to capture the excitement of the newest food trend—high-end ramen, and the arrival of the much anticipated Momofuku Noodle Bar. We worked with photographers Raina + Wilson to achieve a look that is rich and colourful and an image so warm you could feel the steam rising from the page,” says art director, Una Janicijevic.

Mission accomplished.

I love the way Toronto Life keeps each years’ version evolving and looking fresh…here they are from 2013 back to 2010. 


Microsoft Buys Covers

Posted by Scott On November - 21 - 2012

It will be interesting to see how newsstand sales are impacted….we will check back in on this when the numbers start to firm up.

In the grand scheme of things, if the ad sales revenue was as big as is being suggested, does it really matter?  Great to see that a huge player in the digital space values print so highly to sell its new hardware.  I guess they know how smart, savy, sophisticated, and engaged the readers of print magazines really are.

Double Issue Tumble Cover Rocks!

Posted by Scott On November - 14 - 2012

The December 2012 issue of Chatelaine sure looks successful to me.   Super thick at 300+ pages, and look at them having fun with those covers!  Love it.

Elegant, sophisticated, packed with benefits and having fun too…these covers are sure to get fabulously merchandised by retailers who know a winner when they see one.

The “Special Double Issue “tumble” cover: One side features yuletide style and holiday health. Flip the issue over, and a second cover leads into a whole new edition on festive food and doable decor,” says the press release.

Who is sorry now?

Posted by Scott On November - 14 - 2012

The editorial page in the November 19th, 2012, issue of Maclean’s is worth the cover price, all on its own.  It doesn’t hurt that it comes wrapped in a fabulous cover, featuring Barack Obama…”How He Did It.”  

Here is some insight into the cover process from Jason Logan:

“A simple picture of Obama in a triumphant pose on the podium the night of his victory. Nice simple powerful design with all secondary sells taken off and nameplate moved up and full bleed to give a kind of poster-like feel. Behind the scenes Its 2 am and we have a preliminary design which depends on a good inspiring photograph of Obama after winning. Past all normal deadlines our printer is pushed to its limit and the Romney camp has taken their time conceding the election so the team is forced to wait for images coming through the wires.  When the images started coming through it was still a challenge to find an iconic pose that was clear enough way back from the stage in low light. The results are the current Maclean’s magazine which offers the definitive Canadian newsweekly’s take on the dramatic race and hard fought win. Down to the wire cover design by Stephen Gregory with special thanks to our Director of photography Andrew Tolson and image correction specialist Richard Reddit.”

You may remeber that Maclean’s published a controversial cover, featuring an illustration of Bonhomme, the Quebec Winter Carnival cartoon character, with the provocative cover line:  The Most Corrupt Province in Canada.

Two years later, and the story has come full circle, with the Charbonneau comission tabling its report.  “The details thus revealed support for everything we outline, including testimony about brown envelopes of cash to city engineers, systematic bid-rigging, illegal campaign contributions and plenty more,”  say the Maclean’s editors.  Montreal’s long serving mayor has resigned.   The mayor of Lavel’s home and office has been raided by police and he is expected to resign shortly too.

Bloc Quebec leaer Giles Duceppe said Maclean’s was “xenophobic”, Quebec nationalists claimed Maclean’s was “hateful and defamatory,” Jean Charest published a public letter attacking Maclean’s journalistic credibility and demanded an apology, and the House of Commons even unanimously passed a motion cesnuring Maclean’s. 

And there were many, many media pundits who piled on too. 

So, will a motion be moved now to apologise to Maclean’s?  Will the critics apologise and recant?  Not likely.  What goes around, sadly, does not always come around.

What matters is that excellent investigative journalisim triumphed in the end, by doing its job of seeking the truth, and to inform the public.  Controversial covers matter, because they take great courage, and there is often a steep price to pay for blowing the whistle.  Lawyers and PR help can get expensive. 

By the way, the October 4th, 2010 issue sold 115% more copies than the issue preceeding it, sold more copies than any of the subsequent issues in 2010, and with the exception of three “double issues” out sold every other issue in 2010.   It’s great to see that kind of hunger for quality investigative reporting…exaclty what magazines are supposed to do.


Obama Wins

Posted by Scott On November - 8 - 2012

Bloomberg Businessweek was ready for either outcome to the U.S. Presidential election.  They prepared two rather depressing cover treatments…designed to get the twittersphere all lit up.  Effective.

Judging from polls in Canada and Europe, the citizens of the world, had they been able to vote, would have overwhelmingly chosen to re-elect Obama too.  Perhaps the biggest losers on election night were Jon Stewart, Jay Leno, and other assorted comics, who would have had way more fun mocking Romney and jacking-up their own ratings and personal brands had the outcome been different.

We’ll never know how the now discarded Romeny cover might have sold, but it will be interesting to see how the Bloomberg Businessweek crowd responds to the Obama cover.  Judging by the 300+ point meltdown of the stock market yesterday, the verdict might not be very favorable, unless they plan to use the cover as a dart board. 

Sandy Covers NY

Posted by Scott On November - 7 - 2012

The most recent issue of New York Magazine is worth noting. 

While the topic is decidedly depressing, the cover treatment is dark and sombre,  the type treatment is nearly invisible, I’m betting that New Yorkers will be snapping up copies.

While many cover rules are being broken here, three very important rules are in play.

  • Rule #1:  There are always exceptions to the rules
  • Rule #2:   Subject Matter Matters
  • Rule #32:  Timing Matters



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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