Covers Sell

Covers Sell

And the Winners Are….Really?

Posted by Scott On June - 17 - 2011

The National Magazine Awards 2011 gala was a fabulous event…a wonderful evening to meet and mingle with colleagues, friends and clients; and the Carlu is the perfect venue.

It was great to see so many different magazines receive accolades.

With that said, I continue to be baffled by the Magazine Covers award.  As the great Paul Jones famously said, “To win this category only magazines that submit “art with logo” need apply.

This year’s gold winner was The Feathertale Review (nice nipple ring, eh?):

And the silver winner was Urbania (nice hair, sorry about your sun burn, eh?):

I suspect that a very small percentage of the magazine junkies in attendance at the Carlu had ever heard of these titles, let alone ever purchased a copy.   I suspect an even smaller percentage of Canadians have either.   Yet these are the titles held up as the very best examples of what a great cover should look like?  I suppose if this were a fashion show, it would be the equivalent of couture vs. ready to wear.  On the one hand, creative and edgy, on the other, completely divorced from the reality of what it takes to sell single copies or subscriptions.

Perhaps the category should just be renamed, so as not to suggest that these covers are something other than art for art’s sake:  Best Cover Art (Avante Garde).  And then they could add a category Best Cover Art  (Commercial).  With over 40+ awards handed out, what’s one more?

3 Responses to “And the Winners Are….Really?”

  1. Who’s Urbania’s art director, Dr. Hannibal Lecter?

  2. Scott, Urbania has become something of a phenomenon in Quebec, and this issue did good numbers for them. They have sell-through that most editors dream of, one of the best online crossover brands going, and consistency. I know it might ring hollow coming from their distributor, but I’m an Anglo Quebecois, I’m almost certainly outside of the age group they are targeting, and it’s a title that I look forward to checking out every issue. And y’know, they are the National awards…

  3. Paul Jones says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Scott, even if a tad over the top.

    I really love these covers and understand the desire to give them an award.

    To compare them with magazines that must sell on the newsstand, however, is not simply a matter of apples and oranges. It’s more like apples and orangutans.

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About Me

Scott Bullock’s Newsstand Cover Quiz Show is legendary in the industry. Using covers as the catalyst, this interactive and entertaining format is a light-hearted but hard-hitting spin on Packaging 101. Testing the cover savvy of magazine professionals across disciplines, the Quiz Show pits publishers against editors, circulators against art directors, retailers against wholesalers -- ultimately leading to new common ground in the quest for better covers. Scott is the Owner of Circ3, Smart Circulation Solutions, a circulation consultancy.



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