Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for the ‘Check Up’ Category

In Style Down 13% in Canada in 2019

Posted by Scott On January - 31 - 2020

In Style magazine has posted a 13% decline in newsstand sales in Canada for 2019. It’s better then the two prior years when sales were down 16% in 2018 and 22% in 2017.   In 2019, 4 of 12 issues posted gains.

Their best-selling issue of the year, the September 2019 issue, sold 30,355 copies at 39% efficiency, but that is down 14,473 or 32% from last year’s results in this time slot.

The November 2019 issue was down 21% this year and was the second-to-worst performer of the year.  They tried removing all cover lines except a small patch down in the far right hand corner (the cover real estate I refer to as Baltic Avenue). Total flop.

The December issue is posting a gain of 11% from prior year, and is the 3rd best performer of the year.  A clearly classic cover.

Nostalgia Cover Rocks for Cottage Life

Posted by Scott On January - 23 - 2020

The Aug/Sep 2019 issue of Cottage Life (on sale July 15th) was a winner…their best-selling cover of the year.  This cover was, in my view, the most non-traditional cover they’ve done in years, with a very unique nostalgic twist.  Subject Matter Matters, but this design was spot on brilliant.

This issue out sold the average of the other five issues by nearly 35%!


Town & Country on mini-roll!

Posted by Scott On November - 22 - 2019

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 - 2019

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.

Magnolia Journal Selling Big in Canada

Posted by Scott On November - 15 - 2019

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!

National Geographic Down 29% in Canada in 2018

Posted by Scott On April - 5 - 2019

National Geographic had a rough ride in Canada in 2018…with sales slipping by 29% from prior year.  Plus, 9 of 12 issues posted declines. In 2017 they saw sales in Canada increase by 15%.

The best-seller for 2018 may surprise you, as it was on the subject of sleep.  The Aug 2018 issue sold 15,146 copies, up 23% from prior year’s issue in that time slot.  Take note on how large the type treatment is on this one!

The second best seller was their perfectly timed Dec 2018 issue, which sold 12,884 copies, but down 33% from prior year.  In 2017, the cover was also focused on religion, but sold 19,297 copies.  Jesus was #2 in 2017.

Their third best seller in 2018 was the “controversial” April 2018 race issue, which sold 12,591 copies, up 17% from prior year in this time slot.

The worst-selling issue in Canada in 2018 was their Nov 2018 issue, which managed to sell just 6,790 copies, down a whopping 49% from last year’s issue in this time slot.  It’s a beautiful image, and has a bold type treatment, but the subject matter clearly was not of interest to Canadians.  Subject Matter Matters!

Vanity Fair Down 22% in Canada in 2018

Posted by Scott On April - 3 - 2019

Vanity Fair magazine had a rough year in 2018, with newsstand sales down 22% overall.  Just 2 of 12 issues posted gains over prior year.  The Oct 2018 issue (Felicity Jones as Ruth Bader Ginsburg) posted a decline of 49% over the prior year’s issue…the Canadian audience judged the judge quite harshly.  It sold 15,295 copies.  Last year’s issue in that time slot sold 30,014, and was the 2nd best-seller in 2017.

The best-selling issue of 2018 might surprise you…it was their Jan 2018 issue, which sold 25,290 copies.  Last year’s issue in that time slot sold 30,778 copies, and was the best-seller in 2017. So, down 18%.

The second-best issue of 2018 is no surprise…it was their June 2018 issue, featuring the Royals, which sold 22,933.  Last year’s issue in that time slot sold 17,315…so up 32%.

The worst-seller of 2018 was the November 2018 issue, featuring a dude named Michael Jordan…but not the basketball player. What’s he doing in the water wearing a suit coat?  It sold 11,650 copies, down 37% from prior year’s issue in this slot.


Posted by Scott On March - 29 - 2019

In Style magazine learned something last year that seems to be helping them this year…BIG TYPE works.

  • The Jan 2018 issue (Let’s Go) was down 10,708 copies or 33% from the same time slot in 2017 here in Canada.
  • The Feb 2018 issue (Fashion to Love) was down 7,336 copies or 29%.

Later in 2018 they started experimenting with bolder type treatments, with a less cluttered approach.

  • The Jan 2019 issue (Boss) is up 9%.
  • The Feb 2019 issue (Badass Women) is up 14%.

We’ll see if the trend continues for In Style, but they are off to a good start this year.




Magnolia Journal Sells in Canada

Posted by Scott On March - 28 - 2019

The Magnolia Journal continues to impress with exceptionally strong newsstand sales in Canada.

This U.S.-based magazine was first launched in Canada on October 6th, 2016.  The launch issue had a draw of 24,180 copies and sold 11,100, for a 46% sell-thru in 4,234 stores.  An impressive debut. Especially at a $9.99 cover price.

In 2017 four issues were published, with an average draw of 26,165 copies, an average sale of 13,253, for a 51% sell-thru in 3,643 stores.  The best-seller that year sold 16,071 copies at an astounding 57.1% efficiency.

In 2018, they decided to ramp things up even more in Canada.  On issue #3 their draw increased from 29,580 copies on issue #2, to 60,435, an increase of 30,855 copies or an 104% increase. Sales increased from 14,599 to 22,939, up 8,340 copies or 57%.   On issue #4, sales increased to 25,782 copies!   They are currently in 5,146 stores in Canada, which is pretty much everywhere.  It helps to have a TV show that created a buzz!  But the quality of this publication is undeniable.

Jen still Sells

Posted by Scott On October - 18 - 2018

Do Covers Sell?  You know they do.  In case you needed any additional evidence, check out the September 2018 issue of In Style magazine.

This very simple cover approach, with minimal type, posted some incredibly great newsstand sales.

In Canada, sales stand at 49,803 copies sold, and at an astounding 52.1% sell-through efficiency.  The issue prior to this one sold just 26,320 copies..,a variance of 23,483 copies or 89.2% better.  If we compare it to last September’s issue, which sold 39,658 copies, it’s up 10,145 copies or 25.6%.  And if we compare it to the ill-fated July 2018 which sold only 15,955 copies, it’s up 33,848 copies or 212%.

So as you can see, Covers do Sell (or not).



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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