Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Annual FORECAST Issue

Posted by Scott On December - 20 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

The Jan/Feb 2020 issue of Canadian Real Estate Wealth is on sale now.

This time slot, and this annual issue, always produces our best sales performance.

Art Directors Alicia Chin, and her design team led by Marla M0relos, have created an impossible-to miss cover. Look for promotions at Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws.


Posted by Scott On December - 13 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

Time magazine has declared Greta Thunberg the 2019 Person of the Year.

The cover is getting tons of free media, as Trump reacts and triggers outrage.

“So ridiculous,” Trump said on Twitter. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

Earlier in September, when the sixteen year old slammed everyone at the United Nations with her famous “How Dare You!” speech, Trump had this to say: “She seems like a very happy young girl looking forward to a bright and wonderful future,” Trump wrote. “‘So nice to see!”

This cover is sure to be a winner!

Comfort Food

Posted by Scott On December - 9 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

The Winter 2020 issue of Harrowsmith is now on newsstands, just in time for the Christmas rush.  In addition to their annual Almanac, Harrowsmith publishes a regular-sized magazine in both Winter and Spring.

This classic Canadian brand continues to sell amazingly well!

The Winter 2017 (launch issue) sold 8,983 copies.  The Winter 2018 issue sold 9,652 copies, up 7.5%.

Windsor Chair

Posted by Scott On December - 5 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

The Feb/Mar 2020 issue of Canadian Woodworking is set to hit newsstands on Jan 20th, 2020.

Art Director Jonathan Cresswell-Jones has created another hard-working cover.

Canadian Woodworking continues it’s incredible upward sales growth trajectory.

  • Sales for 2019 are up 20%.  Plus 3 of 6 issues are Record Breakers for their time slots.
  • Sales for 2018 were up 39%.
  • Sales for 2017 were up 21%.
  • Sales for 2016 were up 49%.
  • Sales for 2015 were up 12%


Posted by Scott On November - 28 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

The Jan/Feb 2020 issue of the Legion is a beauty.  It’s set to go on sale Dec 30th, 2019.

This cover is a great example of how a black and white photograph can work brilliantly.  The hot yellow helps warm things up.  And the bold type treatment and “less-is-more” approach really makes it pop.

The emotion in this cover is strongly conveyed.

This is an instant timeless classic.


Town & Country on mini-roll!

Posted by Scott On November - 22 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

The venerable USA title Town & Country is on a bit of a mini-roll, with recent covers performing quite nicely.

  • In 2018, 5 of 10 issues posted gains, as the average issue sold 2,174 copies, down 5% from prior year.
  • In 2017, 4 of 10 issues posted gains, as sales averaged 2,294 copies sold, down just 16 copies or 1% from prior year.
  • In 2016, 5 of 10 issues posted gains, as sales averaged 2,310 copies, up 1% from prior year.
  • In 2015, 5 of 10 issues posted gains, as sales averaged 2,305, down just 1.7% from prior year.

This year, their 2019-07 issue was up 941 copies or 55%, but was on sale longer due to a frequency change, so had more time to sell.

Their 2019-09 issue was essentially the same as prior year.

Their 2019-10 issue was a huge winner, with sales up 1,180 copies or 55%…great cover!

I like the unpredictable variety of these covers.

Cosmo…Extreme Volatility

Posted by Scott On November - 22 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

Cosmopolitan magazine continues to trend down in an extremely volatile way here in Canada.

  • In 2018, sales were down 26%, with all 12 issues posting losses from prior year.
  • In 2017, sales were down 29%, with all 12 issues posting losses from prior year.
  • In 2016, sales were down 29%, with all 12 issues posting losses from prior year.
  • In 2015, sales were down 29%, with all 12 issues posting losses from prior year.

So far in 2019, sales are down on all 10 issues…too soon to say about November and December issues.

The Jan 2018 issue was their best selling issue that year, selling 55,216 copies at a 45% sell-through…impressive, and only down 3% from the prior year’s issue in that slot.  However, the Jan 2019 issue sold just 30,531 copies at a 46% sell-through, down 24,685 copies or 45% from prior year.

The May 2018 issue sold 20,752 copies at a 30% sell-through.  But the May 2019 issue sold just 13,051 copies at a 21% sell-through, down 14,001 copies or an astounding 52%.  Extreme volatility.

Martha’s Sales Sink

Posted by Scott On November - 21 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

Martha Stewart Living continues  its struggles in the Canadian market in 2019. With 8 of 8 issues so far all posting losses from prior year.

  • In 2018, sales were down 24%, with all 10 issues down.
  • In 2017, sales were down 13%, with just 1 of 10 issues up.
  • In 2016, sales were down 12%, with just 1 of 10 issues up.
  • In 2015, sales were down 29%, with all 10 issues down.
  • In 2014, Martha Stewart Living sold 13,820 copies per issue, and in 2018 they sold 5,653 copies per issue.   So far in 2019 they are averaging 4,426 copies per issue.

It’s a very crowded category, with excellent Canadian competitors that dominate the landscape in Canada.

Contributing to the problem is a cut in dealer coverage.

  • In 2018 dealers cut 16%.
  • In 2017 dealers cut 19%.
  • In 2016 dealers cut 1.4%
  • In 2015 dealers cut 6.1%

However, covers make a big difference too.

Check out these covers from Dec 2017, Dec 2018, and Dec 2019.  The 2017 (Live Wreath) cover is great, despite having the cover lines on the right instead of the left.  It sold 13,075 copies at a 54% sell-through, the best issue of the year.  Plus, it was up 91% or 6,842 copies more then the average of the other 9 issues that year.  The 2018 (Fake Stale Cookie Wreath) sold 8,467 copies, down 35% from prior year.  And I don’t hold out too much hope for the Dec 2019 cover (Charlie Brown Christmas Tree), which looks quite sparse and pathetic.

Magnolia Journal Selling Big in Canada

Posted by Scott On November - 15 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

Starting in the Summer of 2018, Magnolia Journal embarked on a massive expansion of the magazine in Canada.

Sales in 2017 were already outstanding, averaging a draw of 26,165, a sale of 13,254, for a 50.7% sell-through, and at a $9.99 cover price.

  • Effective with the third issue of 2018, the draw was moved up to 60,435 copies (an increase of 34,395 copies or 132%) from the prior year’s issue.  Sales were 22,915 copies (an increase of 11,033 or 93%).  Dealers increased to 5,212 stores from 3,427 (an increase of 52%).  Nice bump!
  • The fourth issue of 2018 was up 9,177 copies or 57% from prior year.
  • The first issue of 2019 was up 7,514 copies or 49% from prior year.
  • The second issue of 2019 was up 5,940 copies or 41% from prior year.

That’s a spectacular success!

New Look for Fly Fusion

Posted by Scott On November - 13 - 2019ADD COMMENTS

Fly Fusion (which was originally launched in 2006) has just unveiled a completely re-designed magazine, inside and out.

The Winter 2020 issue, which goes on sale November 26th, will have the following upgrades:

  • Changed width from 8 3/8” to 9” wide – adding a full inch to a double-page spread
  • Half-page ads were upgraded to a full bleed (from 7.25″ x 4.575″ to 9.125” x 5.479”)
  • Cover was upgraded to 80 lb cover weight – Matte stock with Grit UV coating
  • Interior pages changed from gloss to matte stock
  • Full redesign from cover to cover
  • Cover Price Increased from $7.95 to $8.99

The Publisher, Jennifer Bird, adds…

Our approach to this process was to dismantle the way we approached everything.  Strip the magazine down to the roots.  We examined what Fly Fusion meant to our team and what we wanted it to represent to the reader.  Then we built it back up based on those core values.  Virtually every aspect of the magazine has undergone some degree of change.  

First we changed our tag line from the dated “North America’s Fly Fishing Authority” to the more culturally relevant “The Soul of Fly Fishing”.  In doing so, we have given ourselves a bar by which to measure everything that appears within its pages.

Next, we looked at how we could change the materials used to impact the readers experience.  A matte stock gives images more depth and removes the text glare provided by the more traditional glossy coating.  The grit coating on the cover was thoughtfully selected in that it adds a tactile experience for the reader. The added width ensures extra impact with larger images and a cleaner design, featuring more white space.   And of course, our advertisers aren’t complaining as they now enjoy a significantly larger piece of real estate to feature their products. 

Finally, we wanted our most loyal readers, our subscribers, to receive an additional benefit for their commitment to Fly Fusion.  So, we have created a separate cover, clean from the traditional sell lines, that they can proudly feature on their coffee table…or toilet. We’re not picky!

The newsstand cover, and the subscriber cover, can be seen below:

Previous design looks:


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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