Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for the ‘Circasaurus’ Category

Woke Cover Costs National Geographic 10,000 Subscribers

Posted by Scott On September - 14 - 2018

In a fabulous article, which I urge you to read, Judging By the Cover: How the Magazine Industry’s Identity Crisis is Playing out on the Front Page, writer Alyssa Bereznak references the historically important, the enduring, yet changing role that magazine covers have played, and will continue to play in the future.

It’s a compelling read.

In the article was this nugget, from the new editor-in-chief of National Geographic, Susan Goldberg:

“Somebody from our marketing department once said to me, it would cost us up to $3 million a month in advertising to get as much exposure to the public as having our magazines out on the newsstand,” said Susan Goldberg, the editor-in-chief of National Geographic. “Even when there were more newstands, it was never our biggest source of revenue, but it’s worth a lot to us to just have it out there and have it in the public consciousness.”

The writer then goes on to point out how the role of the cover is changing at some magazines, like National Geographic:

“They have adjusted their editorial visions, often confronting their brand’s history with more challenging, culturally inquisitive subject matter. Magazine covers are now beginning to better reflect society—not only with their changing cover subjects, but with stories that strive to better understand identity and representation in the world of pop culture and beyond.”

That’s interesting.  Then the writer goes on to say:

“And even science-centric magazines like National Geographic have begun to engage with hot-button issues like gender and race with provocative (if sometimes clumsy) cover subjects.”

Really?  That sounds risky. Tell me more.   Then the writer goes on to say:

“But this enlightened era has also created a fractured audience: younger, less committed readers who exist in the digital sphere, and older, loyal subscribers who feel alienated by change. In a fight for survival, the average mainstream magazine is undergoing an identity crisis. Stop and look, and you’ll see it playing out in the most public place possible: the cover.”

Wow, now we are getting to the “crisis part.”  The writer finally gets to the nub of the “identity crisis”.

“Magazines now face an even greater threat to their leverage: social media.”

Oh.  I see.  So to deal with the new competition from Instagram etc, the writer points out that covers must try to compete for buzz on social media by caring less about newsstand sales, and more about click bait.

Now that a magazine cover’s success is no longer measured by just newsstand sales, they look much different.”

Go on…tell me more.

But as entertainment has proliferated and evolved to serve more niche audiences, editors must now consider what their subjects represent ideologically and why it deserves to be highlighted.”

Must they? Ideologically?  Can you give me an example?  So the writer does…

“National Geographic ran a cover image featuring a 9-year-old transgender girl in January 2017 for an issue dedicated to gender.”

Yes they did.  I remember that one.  So what happened?

Goldberg (the editor-in-chief) said National Geographic’s gender issue drew “hundreds of millions of people” to the magazine’s content on various digital avenues. But it also resulted in the loss of about 10,000 print subscribers, either because they were upset by the content, or disappointed that the magazine addressed it poorly.

Ouch.  That’s rather costly.  The writer then offers this cautionary advice:

…for magazines whose main revenue source still depends on a core group of older subscribers and newsstand readers, revamped covers risk siphoning off valuable revenue sources.”

Fact Check:

The Jan 2017 National Geographic gender issue sold extremely well on Canada’s newsstands.  Sales were up 8,885 copies or 102% from the Jan 2016 issue.  Plus it was the 3rd best-seller in 2017 in Canada.  We like Woke covers apparently.

Q & A with Ezra Levant

Posted by Scott On January - 13 - 2015

A Q & A with Ezra Levant.  Former publisher of the Western Standard.  Ezra hosts a daily TV show on the Sun News Network, and writes twice a week for Sun Media newspapers. Ezra Levant is a Canadian media personality, conservative political activist, writer and broadcaster.  He published the book Ethical Oil: The Case for Canada’s Oil Sands in 2010 and Groundswell: The Case for Fracking in 2014 through McClelland & Stewart.




The tragic events that have unfolded in France recently are shocking to most of us.  But given the Firebombing of Charlie Hebdo’s offices back In November 2011 should we be?


They are shocking, but they should not be surprising. There are terrorist attacks by radical Muslims literally every hour of the day, around the world. Boko Haram in Nigeria kills, kidnaps and rapes daily; the Islamic State kills and rapes by the thousand. Terrorist attacks have come to Ottawa and Australia in recent months. In fact, it’s surprising it has taken this long for another mass casualty attack.


As the former publisher of the Western Standard, your magazine was the only one in Canada to re-print the controversial cartoons years ago.   Can you re-count that event?


It was the right thing to do, and I’d do it again. In fact, I have been showing the cartoons on my TV show daily. Because they are the news. The French cartoons, like the Danish cartoons nine years ago, do not necessarily reflect my views. They are not the editorial cartoon of the Sun News Network, or of the old Western Standard. They are a news fact to be shown to readers/viewers — like an exhibit that a prosecutor puts to a jury. How can you tell the news without showing the central artifact of the news?


Why do you think no other print outlets chose to publish the cartoons back then?  Was it a reluctance to offend, or were they simply afraid?


Fear of Islam, plain and simple. Either fear of physical violence, or fear of political harassment, like human rights prosecutions. Or fear of being called racist. But always fear. Here’s a larger essay I wrote back in 2006 that still applies today:


If they were simply afraid, that’s understandable, so why don’t they just say so?  There’s no shame in protecting yourself and you employees is there?


Of course there is a shame in saying that you’re scared. These are journalists — cynical, world-weary, sophisticated, cool, morally superior. They can’t admit that they’re scared. Journalists are like hecklers, voyeurs to the world’s events — like they’re sitting in the front row of a sports match, taunting the players. But this one time, journalists themselves are pulled into the arena — and they’re terrified. So they come up with all manner of laughable excuses for why they won’t publish (see my Western Standard essay above). Most of all, if they admit they’re scared, it throws their entire liberal world view — about multiculturalism, immigration, moral relativism, foreign policy, etc. — into disarray. That’s probably what most of them are afraid of: growing up and becoming conservative.


A German newspaper, The Hamburger Morgenpost, was firebombed on Sunday January 11th 2015 for reprinting some of the cartoons that led to the massacre in France.  The paper said they wished  to demonstrate solidarity with the French cartoonists who were murdered.  On Sunday the offices of a Belgian newspaper that re-published the cartoons were evacuated after it received an anonymous bomb threat, its staff said.  Is this just the new normal?


In Europe it is, because they are ten to twenty years further down the road than we are, in terms of Muslim population and radicalism. The Muslim population in France, for example, is between 6 and 12 million people, depending on your source of information. So that’s 9 to 18% of the population. Even if 90% aren’t radical; and if 90% of the radicals aren’t violent, that’s still 100,000 violent people (we know that over 1,000 French Muslims are fighting with the Islamic State). It’s not just violence; it’s politics. Francois Hollande received more than 90% of the Muslim vote — so he will be loathe to change course on everything from immigration to national security.

In Canada, our Muslim population has doubled since 9/11, to more than one million. According to an Environics poll right after the Toronto 18 arrests, more than 10% of Canadian Muslims supported the aims of the terrorists. We are doing a better job at integrating immigrants and dissipating radicalism. But we have about a terrorism arrest a month (three in the past week), and probably 100 Canadians fight with the Islamic State.


By simply Googling Charlie Hebdo Cover Images, anyone can see dozens of cartoons.  When I did so, I was surprised by the number of covers that were pretty insulting to Catholics, but were also pretty darn funny.  Isn’t that the job of a satirical magazine?


Yes, of course. But as Ayatollah Khomenei said, there is no humour in Islam. There is no humour in any totalitarian ideology, of course — Solzhenitsyn himself was sent to Siberia for making a joke about Stalin’s moustache. But it’s not just humour. It’s the laws that should arbitrate these matters. Radical Islam does not believe in secular laws, or the separation of mosque and state. Radical Islam believes in sharia law, that is transnational and god-given. So even Christians and atheists must abide by it.


Do you think the mass demonstrations in France in support of Charlie Hebdo and the principals of free speech and a free press marks a turning point in Europeans’ political views?


No I don’t. 9/11 didn’t change America’s views, nor did the British or Spanish subway bombings. Everyone still says we’re at war with “terrorism” — if they even use that word. As if a tactic is an enemy. That would be like saying Pearl Harbor put America at war against “airplanes and torpedoes”. No; we are at war with radical Islam — the jihad. As long as we pretend that Muslim terrorism isn’t Muslim and isn’t terrorist, we’re in denial.


Charlie Hebdo is often described as a “left leaning” magazine.  Yet here in North America, many “left leaning” leaders seem to go out of their way to claim that this attack was not about Islam, even though the murderers claim the opposite.  What’s your take on that?


It’s pure Islamophobia, in the literal sense of the word — fear of Islam. Leftists are are so dedicated to taking the side of the outsider, the “other”, that they will take the side of terrorists against our own civilization. And, as I mentioned above, it’s also a stubbornness — many leftists have nurtured a world view about multiculturalism and moral relativism for decades. For them to come to the conclusion that some cultures are better than others — and that some might even be our enemy — is so terrifying and revolutionary, they simply don’t want to be disillusioned. They don’t want to repudiate decades of belief.


Ezra, you are Jewish.  The only women killed inside Charlie Hebdo’s office that horrible day was Jewish.  The crisis ended at a Jewish Grocery store.  Other than statements of these facts, I have yet to see any in-depth analysis on this angle of the story in the mainstream press.   Why?


Jews are like a canary in a coal mine — they’re often the first to go. That was certainly the case with the Nazis. But the Holocaust didn’t just burn the Jews — it engulfed all of Europe.

Europe traded 6 million Jews for 20 million Muslims. Jews are the first target for terrorists. But they are never the last. Christians and other minorities are being wiped out by Muslim terrorists in Nigeria, Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the world. And of course liberal Muslims are the greatest victims of Muslim terrorists, numerically speaking.

Anyone who thinks this problem will be contained to “the Jews” should realize that the goal of radical Islam is to make the entire world submit to the Koran — sharia law. It really has little to do with the West Bank, or Israel, or any excuse like that. It is to replace secular nation-states with theocracies — an Islamic State, to coin a phrase. You could take every Jew out of France and the attacks won’t stop — just like terrorism in Jew-free Syria and Iraq hasn’t stopped.


Care to make any predictions on what might happen next, and how this will play itself out in future French elections?


I think Marine Le Pen will continue to do well, as will Nigel Farage in the UK, Geert Wilders in Holland, and others who are willing to tackle jihad through limiting Muslim immigration, and through cracking down on Muslim extremism domestically.

I think it will be a campaign issue in Canada’s federal election this year too.


Dave Donald Talks Covers

Posted by admin On June - 25 - 2013

Dave Donald is the current art director of This MagazinePoint of View Magazine and Education Canada. He has been in publication design for over 20 years, working on magazines such as Chatelaine and Masthead. He is now a freelance design consultant and lecturer specializing in publication design. He is a four-time winner of Canada’s National Newsstand Awards.

At the 2013 MagNet Conference, Dave gave an inspired lecture.  For those of you who missed it, I asked Dave if he’d submit to a 5 question Q & A, which he kindly agreed to do.

Q#1:   In your session you talked about “covers as commerce”…can you expand on that for my readers?

 A #1:  The quote about “covers as commerce” comes from the noted American art director, Robert Newman (of VIBE, Village Voice, Details, etc. fame).  What he meant by that was that design needs to take a backseat to the first priority of a cover, which is to sell magazines.  I’ve always said that the front cover of your magazine is the most important sales tool for your magazine.  Never lose sight of that as you create it.

 Q #2:  What are your 3 favourite covers that you have designed, and why?

 A #2:  This was my second cover for This Magazine. The line-up of writers was so strong I knew immediately that I’d go with an all type cover. My instincts were right as it had a 62 percent sell-through and went on to be a winner at the National Newsstand Awards.  The colours were selected to create something bright and fresh while still allowing me to establish a clear hierarchy within all those type elements.

For The New Quarterly I wanted to create something elegant in a very repeatable format.  The nearly square shape announced a dramatic change from this literary magazine’s more traditional trade paperback size.  It was also the first issue with a four-colour cover. Once they saw how much better it looked, they never when back to their old two-colour format.  It also has provided an opportunity to showcase the work of Canadian photographic artists.

Another all-type cover for This Magazine proved to be an additional hit on the newsstand and another winner of a National Newsstand Award.  This one took longer to develop.  We knew we wanted it to be all type but it developed slowly until we’d stripped it down to the basics.  The only thing that got more complicated was the cow.  The spots came later but they helped to bring the colours together.

Q #3:  Talk a bit about covers as posters, and covers as charts…

A #3: The famous Madison Avenue ad man, George Lois, revolutionized American magazine covers through his work with Esquire in the 1960s. He treated each cover as a poster to create maximum impact on newsstands.  His famous cover from December 1963 created a sensation by placing Sonny Liston, the reigning heavyweight champion of the world and one mean guy, on the cover wearing a Santa hat.  There are no cover lines but the incongruity of the image would have been so powerful to the audience of 1963 that words would have been unnecessary.

Today Richard Turley has taken up the “cover as poster” baton at Bloomberg Businessweek to great acclaim.


Not enough has been done with the possibilities for the cover as chart.  We live in the age of Big Data and the infographic has become a staple of the magazine format. A few notable examples of charts on covers are these issues of Time and Bloomberg Businessweek.

The venn diagram of the Time cover shows the closeness of the race in the last American presidential election and the importance of the undecided voters.

The Bloomberg Businessweek cover shows the colossal number of Facebook users (one billion) compared to anything else (e.g. 111.3 million Super Bowl 1212 viewers).

There are few examples of this new form of cover but I suspect we’ll see many more soon.

Q#4:  Talk a bit about the “ideal cover team.”

 A#4:  If you want to consistently create great covers then you need to assemble a great cover team.  This group should include the art director, the editor and the publisher/marketer.  I’ve created the term “marketer” to cover the marketing aspect in a small magazine.  This is usually the publisher’s role.  In larger magazines there may be a separate newsstand marketing position.  In that case, this individual should also be part of the team.  At This Magazine we have been blessed with a cover guru, Steve Trumper.  He’s not a staff member but brings decades of newsstand experience to the table every time we meet to discuss our cover strategy.

Q #5:  What are your 3 favourite covers of all time, and why?

A #5: The famous Demi Moore cover was an event when it first hit the newsstands. It was outrageous to put a pregnant movie star on the cover of a magazine but Vanity Fair pulled it off with beauty and grace. It has been done to death since and the results pale by comparison with this gem by the photographer Annie Leibovitz.

This early Martha Stewart Living cover defies all the rules of cover line writing: it’s simply a list of what’s inside. However, the sunflower is so riveting that it must have shone on the newsstand. It’s also the opener for one of the most beautifully designed features I’ve ever come across.  I never knew there were so many different kinds of sunflowers.  But Martha knew.

This National Lampoon cover gets a hearty laugh every time I show it.  It’s what creating great covers is all about: it sells you on the magazine because who would want anything to happy to such an obedient pup?





“Hey, at least it is our Smut”

Posted by Scott On April - 27 - 2012

An interesting and entertaining article in today’s National Post by William Watson, pokes fun at the Department of Canadian Heritage, Stephen Harper, Feminists, English Canadian prudes, Quebec culture, Sex Trade Workers, and Canadian magazine publishers, all in one hilarious and infuriating poke in the eye.

At least Watson is honest enough to inform us where he stands, when he writes, “Whether or not you think the government should be reinforcing Canadians’ magazines purchases–and this page thinks it shouldn’t be–the idea is at least to reinforce actual cash-on-the-barrel-head purchases, not to supplant readers’ tastes entirely.  Subsidies are proportional to consumer purchases.” 

It’s interesting how Watson fails to mention that newspapers are HST exempt,  but that magazines are not, which means magazine purchases contribute to the government coffers, while newspapers get a free ride…talk about a subsidy, hello.

While I think both covers are quite effective at their mission, I’ll leave it to you to decide whether Watson is correct when asking the rhetorical tongue-in-cheek question:  “With the scale advantages American girlie magazines enjoy (and “guys-ie” magazines too apparently), aren’t we patriotically obliged to help protect local production against unfair foreign competition?”

Pehaps Mr. Watson answers his own question with a question in closing, “How long before we start hearing from Quebec about how moralistic English Canadians are and uptight about sex?”  Judging by the New York Times Best Sellers List, with Fifty Shades of Grey topping the charts, I’d say that most Americans, and Canadians, are not as uptight as Mr. Watson would like you to believe.

And since the National Post chose not to publish the cover of the Gay publication (could it be his readers are too uptight to handle it? the Post is homophobic? Sexist? or perhaps simply “space challenged”?, as opposed to hypocritical?), for the sake of gender equality, and as a public service, here are the covers.  To each his/her own.


AMPA Best Cover(s) 2012

Posted by Scott On April - 25 - 2012

One of the honours handed out by the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) is the Best Cover award.

This from Suzanne Trduel, Executive Director of AMPA:

“AMPA’s members are Alberta-based magazine publishers who strive to produce outstanding periodicals that reflect a uniquely Albertan perspective. The Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA)  supports quality Alberta magazine content by recognizing, celebrating and promoting excellence through its awards program. Recognizing the great work that is produced within the community both strengthens and inspires us to further excellence. Entries were evaluated by an expert judging panel and in each category three finalists were chosen. ”

Here are the three finalists:

Avenue was this year’s winner.  Congratulations to all these fabulous western-based magazines.

Full Disclosure:  I was one of three judges.

Ray Argyle on Newsstand Research

Posted by Scott On April - 4 - 2012

The Periodical Marketers of Canada have comissioned a marketing study that has been released today.  (See link to Globe & Mail article here:

The poll shows that readers still prefer printed magazines to digital versions overwhelmingly. Plus, those who do buy digital editions are nearly twice as likely to buy additional printed magazines in any given month.

We asked Ray Argyle, executive director of the Periodical Marketers of Canada, to expand a bit on why they commissioned the survey and what they hope to do with the information to leverage additional newsstand sales.  Here’s what he shared with

“One day in August 2011, a roomful of industry folk were pondering the question: How can we demonstrate to retailers that magazines are still a vital product, and deserve strong support from retailers?”

” Industry veteran Tom Worseley (with RS2) summed it up aptly: “We need to get all the partners together in a single cause – maybe that’s a job for PMC.”, he said.

” PMC – Periodical Marketers of Canada – the wholesaler association, took the gambit. With leadership from Peter Olson at News Group, Dan Shapiro of Metro News and Paul Benjamin of Benjamin News, we took on the task of crafting a multi-layered campaign. Generous financial support was forthcoming from PMC members and other industry players, publishers and distributors.”

” We decided on a two-prong strategy: to design presentations for retailers, and to model a consumer media campaign that would reach the public with persuasive messages about the value of magazines. We realized we had to find new and definitive data to support our arguments. Retailers were tired of the same old “motherhood messages” about magazines.  They’d made it clear they didn’t want to be bothered being told once again what they already knew. So we had to unearth new data. That meant a national survey (never before done) of Canadians’ attitudes toward newsstand magazines – what motivates them to buy and read, whether they’re still loyal to print, and the role of such factors as cover prices and display in influencing their buying habits.”

“Leger Marketing talked to 1,600 magazine readers and produced an extremely well thought out report. It became the basis of our campaign, which we dubbed MARC – Magazines at Retail Canada. We used the survey results, together with other industry information, to produce an array of tools: a print brochure, a Powerpoint presentation “Fast Facts for Retailers”, and a video, “Consumer Preferences in the Magazine Category.”  We posted all of these tools to a bilingual web site,, in downloadable form. The complete Leger report is available there too.  The video also went to You Tube,”

“We issued news releases which are garnering a ton of publicity, starting with a half page in the Globe and Mail ROB section. As we go forward, PMC members will be using the MARC campaign to give retailers a fresh understanding of the fantastic asset that newsstand magazines represent in their marketing mix. We intend to follow up with an evaluation of the program, and will go from there to build further support for single copy sales across the country.”

Ray Argyle, Executive Director, PMC

Student Covers

Posted by Scott On April - 2 - 2012

Kim Pittaway, veteran editor, is teaching a 6-week intensive magazine workshop at Kings, in the Bachelor of Journalisim program, and she asked me to post the students covers and mission statements, for discussion. Vote for your favourite cover below!

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“On the first day of the session, students form groups, come up with a magazine idea and a target market, and then spend the next 6 weeks bringing their idea to life. They produce a basic business plan (advertising and circulation plan). They create live content–researching and writing all of their stories, fact-checking and copy-editing pieces, and doing their own photo shoots (including cover). They do all of the layout and design themselves. At the end of 6 weeks, they have a complete magazine in PDF format, which they upload to MagCloud for printing. This year, the smallest book was 52 pages; the biggest was 84. I had groups doing in-studio food photography, 5:30 am fashion shoots at Peggy’s Cove (faking summer in 4-degree weather), and writing articles on urban dumpster divers, cold-water surfers and profiles of musicians such as Joel Plaskett (Plaskett even did a cover shoot with the MixTape group),” says Pittaway.

” I’m the lead instructor. Kate Ross at King’s is their technical saviour. Halifax photographer Michael Creagen supports them on the photography end (though they do they shoots themselves). And Caren Watkins comes down for 2 intensive days of work on design and then gives them design feedback on their first-draft and revised layouts and covers. I’m enormously proud of what they’ve produced in such a short period of time. It’s not perfect–but it’s a pretty good shot for work that is wholly student-produced under considerable time pressure,” says Pittaway.

Here are the editorial mission statements:

Hitched: Hitched aims to inspire. We want to give you the tools and ideas to plan your wedding, and then watch you branch off and put your own spin on it. We know you: we know you frequent Pinterest, Etsy and Wedding Gawker. We find the best of what’s out there and bring it to you.  If Vera Wang and tandem bikes had a baby, it would be us. We’re current, not trendy. Nostalgic, not old-fashioned. Hip, but not hipsters. We’ll help you create timeless memories that will make your wedding album a keepsake not a fashion wall-of-shame. Crack us open. Fold down the corners, scribble on our pages, tear out our sheets. Hey girl, we’re here for you.

Menace:  A magazine for smart, cool Canadian males aged 18-30, Menace is a lifestyle magazine for a group who has a craving. Our readers want to be ahead of the curve and need to know the latest music and movies. They have to look good without spending too much. They’re often university-educated but don’t yet have a specific career path. They impress their friends by making original drinks and by having the coolest place where everyone wants to hang out. Menace covers all of these bases plus entertainment, video games, drinks, food, sex, relationships, sports and pop culture. We include profiles of the people our readers aspire to be. Readers of Menace are envied by everyone whose paths they cross, and they know it. Every editorial page of Menace draws readers in, provides new information and always entertains. Our website,, offers access to a selection of articles while providing supplemental content to the magazine – movie trailers, videos, music samples, full-length interviews.

MixTape:  Mixtape Magazine provides clever insight into artists’ musical tastes and personal style – be it a close look at their latest album, the layout of their recording studio or workspace, or the clothes on their backs and the shoes on their feet. Mixtape is a thoughtfully crafted guide to inform music-lovers. Stocked with interviews, infographics and lists, Mixtape features the best of Canadian and international, alternative, folk and electronic music. It is aimed at young, music and style-conscious individuals–the serious listeners and those interested in getting their feet wet in this scene. Mixtape Magazine aims to inform, entertain and guide its readers through an engaging visual experience. It’s read by that cool, quiet person you want to talk to but always has their headphones on. The magazine’s nostalgic tone and intimate portraits appeal to any nerd who views music as a lifestyle and appreciates the beauty of a three-part harmony or the late nights spent hunched over a laptop. Mixtape is a magazine to covet, collect and share. One to read and examine again and again. Its beauty is more restrained and inspiring than the average music magazine. Mixtape: for people who listen.

MODE: Our mission is to provide Canadian women ages 21-35 with an honest and entertaining guide to living a full and stylish life in a way that’s authentic, fresh and financially achievable. MODE is your effortlessly stylish BFF who wants only the best for you. We’re all about making you look good and feel even better. We’re all about spilling the details on everything from style to decor. We’re right there with you drooling over that gorgeous trench coat or posh minimalist-chic coffee table. We believe in spending smart and finding a balance between timeless classics and trendy pieces. Above all, our top priority is to keep you, our reader, informed. MODE will also deliver information on matters that affect your life. These issue-based stories will be featured every month under “Money”, “Health”, “Investigation” and “Real Life” as well as a “Profile” on an inspiring woman. We will give you advice from experts on everything from buying your first house to the newest health related beauty news as well as true stories from real women. Our readers can trust that our advice, stories, tips and editorials are well-researched, candid and accurate. We believe in offering style and substance. Intellectual integrity is our use every-day-of-your-life staple – because beyond the glitz and glam, nothing is more appealing than a smart, well-informed young woman.

realTRAVEL: realTRAVEL is for Canadians who desire authentic travel experiences. Our readers don’t need to be sold on the idea of travel, they already see it as accessible both at home and abroad. Our readers are people who plan their lives around travel; they take journeys that satisfy a deeper, personal curiosity – not just for show. realTRAVEL is written to the well-informed and well-traveled audience. We don’t pretend that travelling is easy, but understand it’s a way of life. We cover a wide range of travel topics in an honest, straightforward style. Every issue helps our readers “plan it”,“live it”, and stay connected to the world.

The Dish: The Halifax Seaport Market is packed every weekend.  Downtown restaurant patios are crammed each summer.  Community gardens are popping up around the city, and university students are creating food movements on their campuses.  Haligonians are enamoured with their food, and it’s that love that The Dish magazine is tapping into. Dish magazine if for the bright, social and mostly urban men and women of the Halifax Regional Municipality, ages between 25 and 54, who have a lust for food and an interest in their community.  We will cover a wide range of food topics in and around the HRM – from that hip new restaurant to the perfect little mom and pop diner.  Readers will also discover how to hone their palates and get to know their local food producers, restaurant owners, bartenders and chefs. Dish Magazine will deliver easy to read content that’s entertaining, skim-able, casual and fun.  For more than just the average foodie, Dish magazine goes beyond recipes and nutritional information to engage the reader in all aspects of the local food industry, focusing on food in a community they can relate to – their own.

An Old Idea is New Again

Posted by Scott On March - 8 - 2012

I just received my new April issue of Toronto Life.  Looks just like the Cincinnati magazine cover I blogged about last week.  A loyal reader pointed out to me that this concept has been around for a while.

The New York cover was done in January 2007, and sold nearly 26,000 copies or 28% better than the average that year!

The Boston cover sold below their average for that year.

The Toronto Life rendition is strong, and should sell briskly. Less clutterd.  Nice touches of color.  Less is more.  Love the little mini mag guide that comes with it. 

Great Canadian Covers 2011 (SIPs We Loved)

Posted by Scott On February - 29 - 2012

There were a few other SIP’s that turned in some eye-popping results in 2011.

Maclean’s William & Kate (The Royal Wedding) Special was a spectacular success.  The issue had a retail price of $9.95 and sold over 91,000 copies at a 75% sell-through efficiency.  That’s insanely good.

Vancouver Magazine’s City Guide turned in an amazing performance.  The issue had a retail price of $9.99 and sold over 9,000 copies at a 52% sell-through efficiency.  It outsold the previous year’s Guide by 190%, making this their best-selling City Guide ever.  Very impressive.

Style at Home’s 100 Best Designer Secrets Special was a big success.  The issue had a retail price of $7.99 (up from their $5.50 regular price) and sold nearly 54,000 copies at a 45% sell-through efficiency.  This was their best selling issue of 2011, both by units sold and by revenue.  Nice addition to the line-up!

Legion WW1 Special had a retail price of $14.95.  This was the first-ever SIP for the title.  It sold 5,659 copies on a draw of 12,650, for a 45% sell-through efficiency.  The title grossed $84,602 retail dollars.  It was honoured with a Bronze award at the 2011 Canadian Newsstand Awards in the SIP category.  (Full disclosure:  a client of

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Great Canadian Covers 2011 (Fishing)

Posted by Scott On February - 24 - 2012

Lacrosse may be our official game, and Hockey may be the sport most Canadian’s care about, but Fishing and Canada kind of go together like a cold beer and poutine.

The Winter 2011 issue of Fly Fusion (full disclosure: a client of mine for the past two years) was a winner, both in Canada and the United States.  This premium-priced ($7.95) perfect-bound quarterly continues to set new records for sales.   The “Macho Man” cover is the best-selling issue ever in the magazine’s six-year history.  It beat last year’s issue (which was also a record breaker at that time) by 24%, plus efficiency improved by 12pts too.  The cover won the Gold at the Canadian Newsstand Awards 2011.

The Ontario Out of Doors Fishing Annual 2011 was a winner too.  This fabulous cover sold 43% more copies than the 2010 edition.  Sporting a new look and a re-worked distribution, this premium-priced issue ($6.95)…up $1 from prior year…increased newsstand revenue by 67%.  I’m hooked.

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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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