Covers Sell

Covers Sell

Archive for the ‘Check Up’ Category

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).


Lumber Jack Shirt a Winner

Posted by Scott On August - 15 - 2018

Congratulations to all concerned at Cottage Life.

Back on June 12th, 2017, I blogged about Cottage Life’s fabulous Going North Cover, which went on sale May 29th, at a $7.99 cover price. (You can see original post by searching the archives for June 2017).  It was Cottage Life’s unique take on Canada’s 150th birthday.

I fell in love with this cover…one of the best, most creative, and clever covers ever by this venerable brand, in my opinion.

So, how did it sell?  Sales were up 13% from the same issue last year!

Plus it was the 2nd best seller of the 2017 year, in a year when Cottage Life posted gains on 4 of their 6 issues…an excellent accomplishment.




Canada’s History posts Record Year on Newsstand

Posted by Scott On June - 14 - 2018

Canada’s History magazine posted their best year ever in 2017 at the newsstand.  Editor, Mark Reid; Art Director, James Gillespie; Danielle Chartier, Circulation Director; and Publisher Melony Ward please take a bow.

The list of accomplishments is impressive:

  • Total copies sold were 31,250…up 12% from prior year
  • Revenue was up 15.7%
  • 5 of 6 issues were up compared to prior year
  • 3 of 6 issues were new all-time Record Breakers for their time slots

Some notable achievements with retailers:

  • Sales at Shoppers Drug Mart up 12%
  • Sales at Wal Mart up 24%
  • Sales at Presse Commerce up 20%
  • Sales at Hudson up 35%
  • Sales at SaveOn/Overwatie up 46%
  • Sales at London Drugs up 84%

The Record Breaking Covers are:

  • Feb/Mar 2017 (Sitting Bull) Best Ever in this time slot
  • Apr/May 2017 (Vimy/Montreal split cover) Best Ever in this time slot
  • Jun/Jul 2017 (Big Questions/Expo split cover) Best Ever in this time slot

The other 3 covers in 2017 are:

  • Aug/Sep 2017 (Dieppe) 3rd best ever in this time slot
  • Oct/Nov 2017 (Timber) 3rd best ever in this time slot
  • Dec/Jan 2018 (Trains) 2nd best ever in this time slot, and 2nd best ever of all time slots

HGTV loves June (August Issue)

Posted by Scott On March - 2 - 2018

For most publishers, the month of June can be tough at newsstands.  Books tend to be a bit thinner, and the warm weather can lead to less reading.  But for HGTV magazine, their August issue (on sale in June) has produced the best-selling issue for 4 years in a row.

As you will soon see, they found something that works in that time slot, and they keep on flogging it:

Rule #30:  If it works, keep doing it


73% Sell-Thru!

Posted by Scott On January - 12 - 2018

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.


New Yorker’s 92nd Anniversary Issue

Posted by Scott On August - 25 - 2017

Back in February of this year, I posted the New Yorker’s  92nd Anniversary issue as the Cover of the Week. (See original post below).

I promised to report back on how it sold in Canada.  So here it is:  The issue sold 2,889 copies in Canada.  That’s up 1,383 copies from the same time slot last year, a gain of 92%.  It sold 1,065 copies or 58% more than the issue that preceded it, and 918 copies or 47% more than the issue that came after it.  Only 2 issues in 2016 sold more than this one did in early 2017.  Canadians lapped it up.



The Feb 13th, 2017 issue of the New Yorker is the 92nd  Anniversary issue.

According to their website, the annual anniversary issue “would feature some version of Rea Irvin’s classic image of the monocled dandy Eustace Tilley.”

However, the site goes on to say, “This year, as a response to the opening weeks of the Trump Administration, particularly the executive order on immigration, we feature John W. Tomac’s dark, unwelcoming image, “Liberty’s Flameout.” “It used to be that the Statue of Liberty, and her shining torch, was the vision that welcomed new immigrants. And, at the same time, it was the symbol of American values,” Tomac says. “Now it seems that we are turning off the light.”

It will be interesting to see how this dark, depressing cover sells.  I’m sure it has a good chance of success in New York, New York, and in Hollywood, California, but doubt it will work in the so-called “fly over states” in between.  It will be interesting to see how it sells in Canada.


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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