Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for May, 2016


Posted by Scott On May - 31 - 2016

The Summer 2016 issue of Prairies North features a black cover treatment.

Rule #11 is that Color works better then Black & White, and White covers work better then Black Covers.

Rule #1 is that There are Always exceptions to the Rules.

This service-oriented cover feature requires a black cover, for obvious reasons.

PN Summer 2016 cover (Small)


Time’s Bacon X Cover is a Pig

Posted by Scott On May - 30 - 2016

check_mark_125x125Back on November 14th, 2015, I posted Time Magazine’s November 9th, 2015, cover featuring two strips of Bacon arranged in an X, as the Cover of the Week. Time is famous for their covers featuring the X symbol slapped across the image of various villains, such as Osama Bin Laden, Sadam Hussein, and Adolph Hitler.

The hope was to use this technique to help stimulate sales of an article on politically incorrect food.  It failed miserably here in Canada.  It sold only 2,902 copies. It sold less then the issue before it, and less than the issue that followed it.  Of the 37 regular issues of Time in 2015, 23 of them sold better.

The attempt to use this technique, that worked so successfully when the issue was the demise of villains, as opposed to something like politically incorrect food, probably failed because it was inauthentic, and the subject matter just didn’t matter to enough people.

2015 Nov 9th






Jesus Saves, but Trudeau Sells for Maclean’s

Posted by Scott On May - 27 - 2016

check_mark_125x125Back on December 11th, 2015, I posted the Maclean’s Nov 30th, 2015 issue as Cover of the Week.  So, how did it sell?

Of the 41 regular  issues in 2015 it was the 5th best seller!  It sold 10,825 copies.  Very impressive.

Trudeau was beat by…well by himself.  The October 26th, 2015 issue sold 14,935 copies (2nd best of 2015).  The December 7th, 2015 issue sold 15,146 copies (the best of 2015).

The only two covers to beat Trudeau was the Jesus cover, on March 30th, 2015, (also a Cover of the Week nod), which sold 12,425 copies.  And the Sexist of The Year cover, on May 25th, 2015, which sold 13,572 copies.



NewsMakers 2015

2015 45Dec 7th 2015

April 13th 20152015 23

Maclean’s Trump For Dummies Sells

Posted by Scott On May - 26 - 2016

check_mark_125x125Back on January 22nd, 2016, I posted Maclean’s February 1st, 2016 issue, Trump for Dummies, Cover of the Week.  So, how did it sell?

It outsold the cover before it by 32%.

It outsold the cover that followed it by 24%.

A very good result…but not a great result.  Great results were achieved by someone else in 2015.  Guess who?  We’ll post that soon.



Trump Sells for Time

Posted by Scott On May - 26 - 2016

check_mark_125x125Back on August 26th, 2015, I posted Time magazine’s August 31st, 2015 issue, featuring Donald Trump, as the Cover of the Week.

So, while Time certainly wasn’t thinking about its Canadian newsstand sales as the reason for this choice, how did it sell in Canada?

It sold 5,230 copies, which was the second best result on the first twenty-six covers of the year!  It outsold the issue before it by 60%, and on the issue that followed it by 120%.

Only 3 other covers in 2015 outsold it in Canada.

  • Trump outsold Bernie Sanders (Sep 28th 2015) by 70%.
  • Trump outsold The Pope (Oct 5th 2015) by 122%.

Deal With It…indeed.

I guess the take away is that nice guys finish last.

trump-cover-final (1)


Bernie Sep 28th 2015Pope Oct 5th 2015

Trump Sells, but…

Posted by Scott On May - 25 - 2016

check_mark_125x125Back on September 10th, 2015 I posted RollingStones’ September 14th issue, which featured Donald Trump, as Cover of the Week.  So, how did it do in Canada?

It outsold the issue before it by 44%.  It outsold the issue that followed it by 20%.  That’s pretty impressive.

But check out the Seth Rogen cover (granted it is on sale for the entire month, instead of the usual 2 weeks), but it sold 13,688 copies in Canada, compared to just 3,979 for Trump, a difference of 9,709 copies or 244% better.

Or check out the Rush cover, which sold 8,345 copies in Canada, a difference of 4,366 copies or 110%.

Goes to show the power of Canadian content on sales in Canada!

2015 40

2015 022015 30



Cool was Good, But Weed was Better

Posted by Scott On May - 20 - 2016

check_mark_125x125Back on October 28th, 2015, I posted the November 2015 issue of National Geographic as the Cover of the Week.  So, how did it perform in Canada?

Well, it outsold the November 2014 issue (by a smidge)…15,772 copies compared to 15,497 last year…a gain of 275 copies or 1.8%

So what was the biggest selling issue of National Geographic in Canada?

The June 2015 issue which sold 28,247 copies at a 52.1% sell-thru.

Wow…now that’s far out and very cool.

Nov 2015Jun 2015




RollingStone or GraveStone?

Posted by Scott On May - 20 - 2016

cover_of_the_week-125x125It seems that 2016 is turning out to be a bad year for a lot of music celebrity icons.

But my guess is that this is going to help increase the sales for RollingStone magazine.

The February 11th, 2016 issue is a tribute cover to David Bowie.  The May 5th, 2016 issue is a tribute to Merle Haggard. And the May 16th 2016 issue is for Prince.

Beautiful covers.



Feb 11th 2016May 5th 2016


May 16th 2016

Power @ 100%

Posted by Scott On May - 20 - 2016

The Summer 2016 issue of Dirt Trax is scheduled to hit newsstands on June 27th, 2016.

Art Director Andrew Knor has created the first cover in Dirt Trax’s history that features a dark blue background, as opposed to the usual outdoor backgrounds that come with shots from the field.

The colored background method is a technique that Cosmopolitan made an iconic part of the their brand.  Recently I posted an example of Modern Dog using this technique, which appears to have worked well for them too.


Vol 17 #4 (Small)



Retailer of the Year

Posted by Scott On May - 19 - 2016

news_green-125x125Magazines Canada announced that Munro’s Books has been named the 2016 Retailer of the Year.

In a Press Release Magazines Canada said:

The Magazines Canada Retailer of the Year Award recognizes the vital role retailers play in the Canadian magazine landscape, and is awarded annually to an outstanding client of Magazines Canada’s distribution service who cultivates this connection between consumers and their Canadian magazines.

The Retailer of the Year Award will be presented at the Magazines Canada reception on Thursday, June 9, 2016 at MagNet: Canada’s Magazine Conference at the Courtyard Toronto Downtown at 475 Yonge St. in Toronto.

Co-owner Ian Cochran, along with Sarah Frye, Carol Mentha and principal owner Jessica Walker, was pleased to add the Retailer of the Year award to another recent accolade from none other than National Geographic: in their 2015 book Destinations of a Lifetime, Munro’s was #3 on a list of their top 10 bookstores in the world.




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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