Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for the ‘Cover of the Week’ Category

Vanity Fair: They Do

Posted by Scott On May - 25 - 2018

Like many U.S. magazines in Canada, sales were tougher to come by in 2017.  Vanity Fair actually did better then many of the other top brands, with sales slipping 13% overall.  Only 3 of 12 issues posted gains in their respective time slot in 2017 vs. 2016.

The second-best seller of the year was the Oct 2017 issue, featuring Meghan Markle on the cover.  It sold 30,015 copies at an impressive 40% sell-through efficiency.  The average sale on the other 11 issues was 20,974 copies, so Meghan was up 9,041 copies or 43% compared to the other issues last year…that’s noteworthy!

That success must have made the decision to feature the happy Royal Couple on the cover of their June 2018 issue quite simple.



Trump a Pig

Posted by Scott On April - 2 - 2018

Not to be outdone by their crosstown rivals at the New Yorker, the April 2nd issue of New York magazine sports a cover depicting  President Trump as a pig. Excellent photo-shopping work!

As is typically the case, reactions to the cover are predictably partisan.  Comedian Kathy Griffin, who was investigated by the Secret Service for her decapitated Trump head,  loved it on Twitter.  Others ask the question: How would you feel, had Hillary Clinton won, if New York magazine made her into a pig? Would that be funny?

New York magazine is probably just loving all the attention and sreaming “Wee Wee Wee”, all the way to the bank.

Be controversial.


National Geographic: Racist

Posted by Scott On March - 27 - 2018

The April 2018 issue of the National Geographic came with a big dose of self-flagellation:  “For decades, our coverage was racist.”

Thus proclaims the new, and only 10th, editor of National Geographic, since its founding in 1888…130 years ago.  Susan Goldberg is the first woman, and the first Jewish person, at the top of the Masthead.  Her editorial letter goes on at great length talking about their many sins from the past.  She commissioned a renowned historian to dig into it and report on the findings bluntly.

“We asked John Edwin Mason to help with this examination. Mason is well positioned for the task: He’s a University of Virginia professor specializing in the history of photography and the history of Africa, a frequent crossroads of our storytelling. He dived into our archives.

What Mason found in short was that until the 1970s National Geographic all but ignored people of color who lived in the United States, rarely acknowledging them beyond laborers or domestic workers. Meanwhile it pictured “natives” elsewhere as exotics, famously and frequently unclothed, happy hunters, noble savages—every type of cliché.

For us this issue also provided an important opportunity to look at our own efforts to illuminate the human journey, a core part of our mission for 130 years. I want a future editor of National Geographic to look back at our coverage with pride—not only about the stories we decided to tell and how we told them but about the diverse group of writers, editors, and photographers behind the work.

We hope you will join us in this exploration of race, beginning this month and continuing throughout the year.”

This has generated mostly praise from both the mainstream media and social media.

This cover, which has gotten plenty of free “earned media”,  showcases fraternal twins as a jumping off point for a discussion of race.  It will probably sell incredibly well.


New Yorker Body Shames Trump

Posted by Scott On March - 22 - 2018

The March 26th, 2018 issue of the New Yorker is generating a lot of buzz, both roars of laughter and twitter users denouncing “body shaming”.

Artist Barry Blitt has created a memorable and emotive illustration that is sure to help it sell.

Folks on the left seem a bit conflicted.  Sure, they say, fat-shaming is terrible and wrong, but in this case, well, he deserves it.

The irony of Fox News publishing this nugget is quite rich:  “While many critics chimed in with responses calling the image “disgusting” and “repulsive,” others accused the image of mocking the president for his physical appearance – which is generally frowned upon in the current cultural landscape.”

Some outraged Conservatives tweeted:  “Why is his weight relevant?”  Or “Imagine the s–t storm had Madame @HillaryClinton won and a magazine had decided to run a cover of her along these lines.”

Is it wrong to Fat Shame?  I guess it just depends.  But I’ll bet it helps sell this issue!




Best New Restaurants Issue Sizzles

Posted by Scott On March - 14 - 2018

The April 2018 issue of Toronto Life hits newsstands this week.  Their annual Best Restaurants issue is always highly anticipated by Foodies all over Ontario.  The Top 10 have been revealed today as a tease…

Skippa (379 Harbord St., Toronto)
Aloette (163 Spadina Ave., Toronto)
Bacchanal (60 Sudbury St., Toronto)
Hexagon (210 Lakeshore Rd. E., Oakville)
La Palma (849 Dundas St. W., Toronto)
Labora (433 King St. W., Toronto)
Kiin (326 Adelaide St. W., Toronto)
Estia (90 Avenue Rd., Toronto)
Atlas (18 Dupont St., Toronto)
Café Cancan (89 Harbord St., Toronto)

This year’s cover by Art Director Christine Dewairy, is mouth-watering indeed.

The Press Release adds:

The ranking is compiled and written by Toronto Life restaurant critic Mark Pupo and focuses on the must-hit restaurants that opened in the previous year.

“It’s so exciting to see the range of restaurants featured on our list,” said Sarah Fulford, Editor of Toronto Life. “Toronto is an amazingly vibrant, creative city and Mark’s recommendations reflect that.”

The magazine retails for $6.95.

Maclean’s Gets Creative with Price

Posted by Scott On February - 21 - 2018

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.



Posted by Scott On January - 26 - 2018

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.”

2018 Trends

Posted by Scott On December - 11 - 2017

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.

2017 Person of the Year…Silence Breakers

Posted by Scott On December - 6 - 2017

Time magazine has named  the “Silence Breakers” as the 2017 Person of the Year.   For nearly 100 years, Time has been recognizing the person or group of people most influencing the news.   The cover is designed to represent those who have bravely come forward with their stories of sexual harassment in the workplace.

Time unveiled the cover on NBC’s Today Show…the show whose host, Matt Lauer, was recently fired for sexual harassment.  Ironically, network executives are still under fire for failing to act sooner, about the “open secret.”

“The women and men who have broken their silence span all races, all income classes, all occupations and virtually all corners of the globe,” Time said in its story about the cover.



Posted by Scott On December - 1 - 2017

The December 2017 issue of Vanity Fair is hard to miss on the newsstand.

I was just at my local Book City store picking up a few magazines.  I wasn’t there to pick up Vanity Fair, but it was impossible to resist temptation.

After all, I can’t wait to read about Trump’s cruel war on rural America. And who is A-Rod’s tailor?  Plus, if you like herringbone dresses, this one’s a winner.



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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