Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for October, 2015

USA Newsstand Survey Results Shared

Posted by Scott On October - 30 - 2015

Last week the PBAA held their annual Canadian Conference.  If you missed it, you may be interested to see the results of a U.S.-Based survey that asked consumers probing questions with respect to newsstand purchases.  The survey looked at both “mission-based” buyers, which were people who had planned to buy a magazine, and at “organic” buyers, which were people who had not planned to buy a magazine.

Here are some of the key slides in the findings.




















Esquire’s 1000th Issue

Posted by Scott On October - 29 - 2015

cover_of_the_week-125x125If you haven’t seen the October 2015 issue of Esquire, rush out to newsstands and grab a copy before you miss out.

This issue should be must reading for any Publisher, Editor, Art Director, Advertising Director or Circulation Manager, as it documents the history of American culture, as seen through the pages of Esquire magazine.

The 212 page issue is packed with insights into the creative process.

And if you ever wondered if covers are taken extremely seriously by Esquire, this issue makes it clear that creating fantastic covers is central to the Esquire brand and identity.

In fact, the October 2015 cover is a huge five-page gatefold (sponsored by Samsung…they get it) that showcases 20+ classic covers from the Esquire archive.

On page 38 you’ll find the very first cover of Esquire, from Autumn 1933… and issue that had articles by Ernest Hemmingway, John Dos Passos, and Dashiell Hammett…quite the editorial line-up.

On page 40 you’ll find A Note From the Editor, David Granger, that announces the launch of a new digital archive, Esquire Classic, that has every issue, every article, every cover, every ad ever produced by Esquire.

On page 68 you’ll find four images from some of Esquire’s famous “cover-up” covers, featuring semi-nude models who have been covered in artistically interesting ways.

On page 77 you will find a brief expose on the classic Angie Dickinson cover from March 1966, which led to a re-creation for the famous Britney Spears cover in November 2003.

On page 108 you’ll learn about Carl Fischer (now 91 years old), the photographer who collaborated with Editor George Lois, on 60 iconic covers from 1963 to 1972.  It’s a fascinating expose on the creative process.  It features stories about the Muhammad Ali cover (April 1968), the Campbell Soup cover (May 1969), the Sonny Liston cover (Dec 1963), The Chicago Democratic convention cover (Nov 1968) and the Lt. Calley cover (Nov 1970).

On page 134 you’ll find an article on covers featuring JFK…no one has appeared on more Esquire covers!

On page 180 you’ll find two covers featuring sex symbols shaving… Marilyn Monroe March 1965, and Jessica Simpson May 2008…which is clearly sponsored by The Art of Shaving, who has an adjacent gatefold ad…smart!

And sprinkled throughout you’ll find other covers with briefs on why they mattered.

This issue demonstrates the importance of magazines, and why covers matter.  Don’t miss it.

Oct 2015

1968_4Sonny Liston cover

May 2008 SimpsonMTIwOTM2ODkzNzQ2ODI5MjAy

Nov 2003Angie Mar 1966

2011 NovApr 2004

JFK1Jan 2010 Kennedy













Top 100

Posted by Scott On October - 29 - 2015

The Nov/Dec 2015 issue of Canadian Real Estate Wealth hit newsstands on October 12th, 2015.  This “all-type” cover is hard to miss.

The Art Director is Alicia Salvati.



NovDec 2015 (Small)

Cool it.

Posted by Scott On October - 28 - 2015

cover_of_the_week-125x125The November 2015 cover for National Geographic is a winner.  It’s a classic example of the “less-is-more” school of cover design.

The careful layering of the globe over the logo, and over the edges of their yellow border box, and subtle shadowing really make this cover pop.

Simple, but powerful image + Bold type treatment + Timely Editorial Subject Matter = Winner!

In case you were wondering if National Geographic takes cover creation seriously, Editor in Chief Susan Goldberg uses her From The Editor page to show us four completely different covers that were created, but ultimately rejected.  I think you will agree, that they made the right choice.

Nov 2015


SuperTrax 2016 Ride Guide

Posted by Scott On October - 27 - 2015

SuperTrax‘s annual Ride Guide is set to hit newsstands on November 23rd, 2015.

Art Director Andrew Knor‘s design combines an action shot of a sled in motion with a static profile of another amazing sled for the new snow season.


Vol 27 #2


Posted by Scott On October - 26 - 2015

The Winter 2015/2016 issue of Canadian Geographic Travel features a cover story on Cuba.

Editor Aaron Kylie has this to say about the cover:

Canadian Geographic’s art director Javier Frutos had a vision for a particularly colourful cover image of Havana for this issue. He and photo editor Jessica Finn found this image, which seems to perfectly fit the bill of the quintessential Havanan street scape. Add cover lines in bold colours pulled from the image and you’ve got a cover that really pops.”

Cuba Winter 2015


Ricardo Success Story

Posted by Scott On October - 23 - 2015

news_green-125x125Tracey McKinley was on stage yesterday at the annual Canadian PBAA event to share the success of the launch of a new Food Magazine into the English Canadian marketplace…Ricardo.

The magazine has been sizzling on Quebec’s newsstands for years now…recently selling 52,000 copies on the last two issues at a blistering 69.3% sell-through. In June, they raised the cover price on the French edition by $1 or 14% to $7.99, and sales still increased by 10%.  The magazine has reached sales of over 90,000 copies on the Holiday issue, which this year they plan to mark up to $8.99.

According to Tracey, Ricardo is a media celebrity in Quebec, not only because he is passionate about food and publishing,  but he is a well-known TV personality too.  Tracey attributes the success of the magazine in part to the fact that it is more than a magazine, that it is a “brand” that is part of a larger  “ecosystem” that includes print, digital, television, branded products and more.

The first issue of Ricardo appeared on newsstands September 15th, 2014.  The debut issue had a draw of 80,835 copies…which is an amazing achievement for any magazine, particularly when that doesn’t even include French Quebec.  Tracey was quick to share the success with their distributor (CTC, Bernie Menchise) and the wholesale community, who got behind the ambitious launch in a big way.  The issue sold 23,881 copies for a 30% sell-through, and was in an astounding 5,491 dealers in English Canada…a fantastic result of 4.4 copies sold per store.  The magazine was premium priced at $6.99.  The cover, as you can see below, is quite mouth-watering.

Launch issue 2014


Subsequent covers are equally well-made:

Dec 2014 Feb 2015Apr 2015


2015 06 (Small)2015 082015 10 (Small)


And they have already produced two SIPs.  The first, which debuted on May 4th 2015, focused on BBQ Recipes and sold for $9.99.  The second which debuted on October 5th 2015 focuses on Cookies and sells for $12.99.

Issu 522015 SIP (Small)

Since the premium-priced magazine has sold so well, the cover price for the regular issues of Ricardo has already been raised from $6.99 to $7.99, in English Canada, effective with the October 2015 issue.  Quality sells!

Fussy Trout

Posted by Scott On October - 23 - 2015

The Winter 2016 issue of Fly Fusion is on press, and set to hit newsstands in both Canada and the USA on November 24th, 2015.

This time slot almost always delivers the best-selling cover of the year.

This cover is another in our series of Top Predator covers.  (See other Record Breakers below).

Winter 2016 (Small)

Winter 2015 (Small)Winter 2011 (Small)


Battle of Britain

Posted by Scott On October - 19 - 2015

The Dec/Jan 2016 issue of Canada’s History is set to hit newsstands on November 21st, 2015.  This time slot almost always generates the best sales in any given year.

The Press Run for this issue is a new historic high of nearly 20,000 copies.  (Special thanks to Ron Sellwood & the CTC team).

Look for special promotions at Chapters/Indigo, Wal Mart and Presse Commerce.

Dec2015 (Small)

Happy Birthday

Posted by Scott On October - 14 - 2015

Playboy’s first issue.  It sure seems like a long time ago.  Now the 62 year old publication has announced it will no longer feature nude women.









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.



    Activate the Flickrss plugin to see the image thumbnails!