Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Maclean’s Gets Creative with Price

Posted by Scott On February - 21 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

The Feb 8th, 2018 issue of Maclean’s is a great example of how you can get creative at the newsstand, with multiple covers.  One cover is meant for women, and is being sold for $6.99; and one for men that costs $8.81. The 26% difference in cost represents the estimated gender pay gap in Canada.

Clever.  Here’s hoping it’s a big success.


A Message from Presse Commerce

Posted by Scott On February - 15 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

One year after the acquisition of Express Mag by Presse Commerce (the leader in waiting room subscription through unsold newsstand copies), things are speeding up. Canadian publishers are now able to sell current subscriptions to waiting rooms along with individuals.

Express Mag has become known as the expert in managing subscriptions of imported and specialized publications. Today, Express Mag handles over 450 magazine titles in Canada and in the United States. Express Mag is the exclusive North American distributor of subscriptions of nearly 180 titles, including Paris Match, National Geographic (French), Géo and Courier International.

Presse Commerce for waiting room and Express Mag for individuals will act as agencies like the Ebsco, Campus discount and others of this world in collaboration with fulfillment agencies and the publishers.

Some interesting facts about Express Mag :

# Express Mag offers mail order services and subscriptions of collectible series. Tintin figurines are of great interest to fans all across North America. Every six weeks subscribers receive 60$ worth of figurines and the collection lasts for two and a half years! This made Express Mag a one of a kind customer service company.

# The operations has to beat the clock to service Paris Match and the several French and UK people or news weeklies : the plane lands and within 24 hours the magazines have cleared customs, polybagged, identified, stamped and finally given to Canada Post and a US delivery agency.

# The core business is in Canada and the USA, but the service reaches the entire world with customers from Guam to St-Petersburg (Russia). The customer list includes the Library of Congress of the United States of America as well as CBC’s journalists.

# For the 150th anniversary of Canada, subscribers could purchase 150$ worth of subscriptions leading to all kinds of different subscription options.

Wolves Work

Posted by Scott On February - 6 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

The Mar/Apr 2018 issue of Canadian Geographic features Yukon Wolves. This handsome beast may be salivating over its prey.

Last year’s Jan/Feb issue also featured a wolf on the cover, and sales spiked up 23%.   In 2015, sales spiked by 84%.  And the 2009 cover is the all-time best-seller for Canadian Geographic!

Rule #30:  If it works, keep doing it.



Posted by Scott On January - 26 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

It was hard to miss the latest SIP from LIFE MAGAZINE at Shoppers Drug Mart yesterday.

A classic beauty!

This tribute cover subscribes to the “less is more” approach.  And it works.

According to Life Magazine’s site:

“Twenty-five years after her death, Audrey Hepburn remains one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons of style, grace, philanthropy and beauty. Remember her with this stunning tribute featuring images by Hepburn’s close friend Bob Willoughby, a renowned photographer for Life magazine among other publications. From Audrey’s early days as an ingénue starring in Roman Holiday in 1953, which rocketed her to stardom and for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, through decades of film and stage production and her work with Unicef, Willoughby chronicled her life and art. Life: Audrey presents an intimate view of this unforgettable actress, with dozens of behind-the-scenes photos and thoughtful personal reminiscences. On the set of My Fair Lady and other films including Sabrina and Breakfast at Tiffany’s, making public appearances, and relaxing at home with her husband, children and pets—this keepsake reveals Audrey Hepburn from a fresh and illuminating perspective.”

Kitchen Cabinet Update

Posted by Scott On January - 23 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

The Feb/Mar 2018 issue of Canadian Woodworking is set to hit newsstands on January 22nd, 2018.

This is the second issue of the magazines re-design, and with the new, larger format, and higher cover price of $6.97.

Art Director Jonathan Cresswell-Jones has created a cover that feels contemporary, and is easy to understand quickly.

The cover lines are benefit-oriented, straightforward and place in the best “real estate”, with the skybar and button working hard to call out other compelling reasons to buy this magazine.

Canadian Woodworking is on a roll.  In 2016 sales were up 49%, with 5 of 6 issues posting gains.  In 2017 sales are up another 22%, again with 5 of 6 issues posting gains.  That’s 10 of 12 issues posting gains…impressive.




Posted by Scott On January - 22 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

The Spring 2018 issue of Fly Fusion is set to hit newsstands on February 26th, 2018.

This year’s cover has an edgy feel to it…a creative treatment not tried before.

The overall feeling remains warm.  Anglers will be eager to get their hands on the useful advice inside this beauty.


Posted by Scott On January - 18 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

The Feb/Mar 2018 issue of Canada’s History is set to hit newsstands on January 29th, 2018.

Art Director James Gillespie has created a compelling cover featuring an illustration of a Viking ship sailing boldly through an iceberg laden sea.  This marks the 3rd time in 12 years that Canada’s History has featured Vikings as a cover story.

Rule #30:  If it works, keep doing it

  • In 2006, the Vikings cover was the best-seller, selling 3,650 copies, and beating the average of the other five issues that year by 96%.  (The cover won Gold at the Canadian Newsstand Awards).
  • In 2014, the Vikings cover sold 4,086 copies, beating the prior year’s issue in that slot by 88%. (The cover won Gold at the Canadian Newsstand Awards).

Look for another strong performance from this cover.


73% Sell-Thru!

Posted by Scott On January - 12 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

SkyNews has just achieved something rarely seen these days.  Their Sep/Oct 2017 issue sold-thru at an astounding 82% in the USA, and at a 70% sell-thru in Canada.  Overall, the issue sold 10,485 copies in Canada, plus another 3,909 copies in the USA, for a combined total sale of 14,394 copies on a draw of 19,675, for a 73% combined sell-thru!  It’s an All Time Record Breaker for this impressive title.


Folio: Pick 2017 Best Covers

Posted by Scott On January - 5 - 2018ADD COMMENTS

In case you missed this…a good read…pan down for article.

Face Up Year in Review: The Best Covers of 2017
Five expert designers weigh in on their favorite covers of the year.

By Caysey Welton

One of our favorite traditions here at Folio: is looking back at the past 12 months and recognizing some of the most brilliant magazines covers from across the industry.

Magazine covers tell a visual story of the most important people, trends, and events in a given year. Whether it’s a trade, enthusiast, general interest, lifestyle, fashion, or news title, magazine covers are created to engage readers quickly and make them want to explore an issue further.

This year there literally thousands of terrific covers. Admittedly though, many were obscured by Donald Trump, who was the subject of some of the most talked about covers of the year. With that in mind, we feel it’s important to speak to the fact that no Trump covers made our short list of the year’s best. We assure you, it was not by design. The only rules we give our expert designers when they make their picks is that the covers must be from a U.S. magazine and they must be from a regular-frequency title-no special or one-off issues.

The fact that no Trump covers were selected speaks to the beauty of subjectivity. No doubt, several of those covers were smart, edgy, sometimes brutal in their social critique and, of course, extremely well done. And we are positive many will win awards. However, the six covers that are shown below made the list because they connected with the individuals who chose them.

Click any of the covers below to view them full-size

Magazine: Variety
Issue: October 17
Editors: Claudia Eller
 and Andrew Wallenstein
Art Directors: Cheyne Gateley and Chuck Kerr

Variety takes on the powered elite with their unflinching dismissal of Harvey Weinstein on its “Game Over” cover. The simple execution belies its forcefulness. Without resorting to tricks, the illustrated image of Weinstein, now a maligned and forever gone force, uses the slightly harsh lines of the illustration to illuminate the rot of this man’s harassment and crimes.

By simply showing him, with all his crags and bags, Variety lets the reader know where it stands on this hot-button topic, and it isn’t good for this former power player of all power players. He’s now little more than a middle-aged man who relied on being a gatekeeper to force women to his will. They have very effectively used subtlety to drive home their stance. The monotone illustration, rather than using a full color image, further diminishes Weinstein by removing any hint of health. He now borders on the grotesque.

 – Matt Strelecki, Creative Director, Meredith Agrimedia

Magazine: Harper’s Bazaar
Issue: October
Editor: Glenda Bailey
Design Director: Elizabeth Hummer

In a year dominated by Trump covers (and there were so many brilliant ones!), this gem from Harper’s Bazaar is such a visual treat: bright, simple, and unapologetically joyful. The interplay of the logo and the shadow is clever but doesn’t feel forced. And while putting the logo on a curve is not something I would typically endorse, it adds to the overall playfulness here. It’s definitely unexpected for a fashion title. I also love the image of Jennifer Aniston – as if she’s ready to take over the world, a fitting pose to mark the magazine’s 150th anniversary edition. Harper’s Bazaar has been doing some very interesting versions of its subscriber covers (for the November issue with Emilia Clarke, they completely changed their logo) but this is by far my favorite.

– Chin Wang, Creative Director, ESPN The Magazine and

Magazine: Newsweek
Issue: November 17
Editor: Bob Roe
Creative Director: Michael Goesele

I always love the idea of choosing a favorite thing but the reality is always a lot harder. There have been many covers this year that have impressed me and made me incredibly proud to still be part of the print design world. Esquire Spain’s ‘Walking Dead’ cover was inspired, Wired magazine’s ‘Love In The time of Robots‘ was slick and sexy.

But 2017 has obviously been clouded with the continual misadventures of Trump (cover catnip for designers), but also the allegations of sexual misconduct in the entertainments industry which sent shockwaves around the world. The latter for me was the most vital to see take visual form. Timemagazine and The New York Times Magazine both did extremely powerful covers on this subject, but Newsweek’s ‘Pop Goes The Weasel’ cover even manages to deliver a little humor to a subject so dark, a hard thing to do. There are perhaps better looking covers, but for me this ‘pops’.

– Chris Deacon, Creative Director, Playboy

Magazine: GQ
Issue: December
Editor: Jim Nelson
Design Director: Fred Woodward

This GQ cover of civil rights activist and professional athlete Colin Kaepernick was easily my magazine cover of the year. It’s a perfect fusion of art and politics, a brilliant and inspiring graphic statement, but done in a very understated-and because it’s GQ-very stylish way. Everything about this cover is just perfect: the quiet, powerful portrait by photographer Martin Schoeller, the brilliant Black Panther-influenced styling (I love the leather jacket and black turtleneck!), and of course, the hair. And design director Fred Woodward’s restrained and refined typography adds both style and gravitas.

The cover’s timing couldn’t have been better, appearing at the height of the controversy, sparked by Donald Trump, over professional athletes and political activism. There were so many great covers this year featuring critical images and commentary about Trump, covers that made me laugh and made me mad. But this GQ cover, celebrating the power and ability of one person to enact change, is the one that inspired me the most.

– Robert Newman, Creative Director, This Old House

Magazine: Esquire
Issue: December/January
Editor: Jay Fielden
Art Director: Raul Aguila 

This cover sums up the trend I love most about the cover design business this year. Who’d have thought we’d see a cover with the subject lying on a rain-slicked gray street, eyes closed, also spun 90 degrees? And that it’d be so beautiful?

Sure, it’s self consciously retro, but that’s not a criticism. Rather, it shows a confidence in the brand and the cover subject that’s much needed in these fearful times. No screaming cover lines, an image that’s not the standard eye-contact head and shoulders, but of someone you instantly recognize. It exudes attitude and certainty and promises me a magazine that I want to read, without feeling browbeat.

The only shame is, it’s not newsstand, but still, it’s glorious.

– David Gray, Design Director, Out

Magazine: Lucky Peach
Issue: Spring
Editor: Chris Ying
Art Director: Rob Engvall 

Lucky Peach’s ‘The Chicken Issue” embodies what has made the magazine a must-see and must-read in it’s too-short life. Born in an age when everyone was Instagramming their own food beauty shots-Lucky Peach broke through with a new aesthetic, and pushed other magazines to follow suit. Too precious top-down plates of food beautifully lit and paired with restrained typography were replaced by clay sculptures of food, audacious color, whimsical illustration and an overabundance of hand-lettering.

Spring 2017 exemplifies this sense of design adventure, fun and no fear. An inflatable chicken, which looks to be “shot” on a Xerox machine, is wrestled into frame-at once flat cartoon and 3D sculpture. The color, scale and wide-eyed gaze jump out at the viewer whether on newsstand or scrolling screen-everything a cover wants to do. It’s run has ended but the one-of-a-kind imagery will stay and inspire us left behind to keep reinventing. Thank you, Lucky Peach.

– Dave McKenna, Art Director, 5280

Editor’s Pick

Magazine: San Francisco Magazine
Issue: January
Editor: Jon Steinberg
Design Director: Clark Miller

I had a lot of favorite covers this year, one being the Harper’s Bazaaranniversary issue. But thanks to Cover Junkie’s tremendous work curating “ace covers” from North America and Europe, I was turned onto San Francisco Magazine’s 2017 Best Doctor’s issue. I’m a sucker for Americana and illustration and this cover so brilliantly plays on 18th and 19th century elixirs like snake oil.

Besides the really fun and thoughtful illustration, what I really dig about this is how it took a staple franchise for city magazines-best doctors-and had some truly creative fun with it. There are so many nuanced details on this cover you can spend a lot of time just working our eyes around the page. A cover like this should give magazine makers true inspiration when it comes to rethinking recurring annual features.

– Caysey Welton, Content Director, Folio:


2018 Trends

Posted by Scott On December - 11 - 2017ADD COMMENTS

The January 2018 issue of Canadian House & Home is a winner!

On Friday, December 8th, Canadian House & Home had their annual Trends Breakfast event at the Royal York Hotel in downtown Toronto.

Hosted by President, Lynda Reeves; Editor-In-Chief, Beth Hitchcock and Senior Vice President/General Manager, Kirby Miller, the elegant ballroom was packed with designers, advertisers, editorial contributors, foodies, and assorted friends of the magazine. A fist-class event.

Beth Hitchcock unveiled 10 of 2018’s Top Trends, which are featured in the annual January issue.   The issue is a gem.


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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