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Archive for the ‘Check Up’ Category

Record Breaking Sales for Canadian Woodworking

Posted by Scott On April - 8 - 2021

The Dec/Jan 2021 issue of Canadian Woodworking is now the new All-Time Best Selling issue.

Art Director Jonathan Cresswell Jones created this perfectly executed seasonal cover, which went on sale Nov 16th, 2020.

The issue was promoted at Shoppers Drug Mart and Loblaws.  And it was our first issue distributed by Disticor.

Sales are up 21% from the same time slot last year.  It outsold last year’s average sale by 120%.  All this despite Covid restrictions.

Canadian Woodworking is on the most incredible 6 year roll I’ve ever witnessed.

  • 2015:  Sales up 12%
  • 2016:  Sales up 49%
  • 2017:  Sales up 21%
  • 2018:  Sales up 39%
  • 2019:  Sales up 17%
  • 2020:  Sales up 1%
  • 2021:  Off to a great start with All-Time Record Breaker…up 21%



2020 Swimsuit Issue…and the verdict is?

Posted by Scott On December - 16 - 2020

The 2020 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue results are in.  This year’s issue was pushed by the SI spin doctors as important and groundbreaking, in a desperate attempt to remain relevant.  Why?  Well, because the brand was going to be featuring their first transsexual bikini model!  Plus, as an added bonus, their PR team pushed their coverage of obese women in bikinis.  So how did that work out?  Did the gushing, free media coverage earn them legions of new customers lining up to plunk down their hard-earned cash?  Or did it send their core audience of red-blooded pig dog dudes running for the hills?

You be the judge.  In chronological order from 2015 to 2020…

“The 23-year-old Brazilian beauty was just named a 2020 Rookie for the upcoming issue (on stands July 21), which marks the first time the iconic magazine has featured a transgender model.”

Valentina Sampaio was photographed by Josie Clough in Scrub Island, BVI. Swimsuit by TRIANGL.

And for the third year in a row Sports Illustrated featured the “world’s curviest” plus size model.

In Canada the sales were:

2015:  33,059 copies sold, worth $297,200

2016:  28,770 copies sold, worth $258,600

2017:  30,986 copies sold, worth $309,550

2018:  18,239 copies sold, worth $182,208

2019:  15,795 copies sold, worth $157,792

2020:  7,063 copies sold, worth $77,622…down 55.3%.



Magnolia Journal (Still Hot)

Posted by Scott On July - 29 - 2020

The Magnolia Journal remains a hot seller in Canada.

Launched in the Fall of 2016, the first issue sold 11,100 copies, on a draw of 24,180, for a 46% sell-through at a $9.99 cover price.  That’s impressive!

  • In 2017, the Spring issue sold 12,580 copies at a 53.7% sell-through
  • The Summer 2017 issue sold 12,481 copies at a 46.2% sell-through
  • The Fall 2017 issue sold 11,882 copies at a 45.6% sell-through
  • The Winter 2017 issue sold 16,071 copies at an incredible 57.1% sell-through

And the magazine remained on a roll in 2018, with sales up 47% in total.

  • In 2018, the Spring issue sold 15,452 copies at a 54.3% sell-through
  • The Summer 2018 issue sold 14,558 copies at a 49.2% sell-through
  • The Fall 2018 issue sold 22,915 copies at a 38% sell-through
  • The Winter 2018 issue sold 25,248 copies at a 40% sell-through

And the magazine remained on a roll in 2019, with sales up 70% in total.

  • In 2019, the Spring issue sold 22,966 copies at a 37.5% sell-through
  • The Summer 2019 issue sold 19,927 copies at a 32% sell-through
  • The Fall 2019 issue sold 221,432 copies at a 33.1% sell-through
  • The Winter 2019 issue sold 25,930 copies at a 40.3% sell-through…a new all-time high.

Despite Covid-19, both 2020 issues are poised to continue to sell more copies then prior year.

  • In 2020, the Spring issue sold 24,678 copies at a 34.8% sell-through…up 7%
  • The Summer 2020 issue currently sits at 24,186 copies (not final yet) copies at a 39.7% sell-through

Pioneer Woman

Posted by Scott On July - 29 - 2020

Starting in 2018, Hearst launched Pioneer Woman magazine in Canada.   The magazine was built around celebrity blogger Ree Drumond, who lives on a working ranch in Pawhuska, Oklahoma.

According to Wikipedia:  “Capitalizing on the success of her blog, Drummond currently stars in her own television program, also entitled The Pioneer Woman, on The Food Network which began in 2011.”

The magazine was an instant success in Canada.

  • The Spring 2018 issue sold 14,611 copies at a 47% sell-through.
  • The Summer 2018 issue sold 15,922 copies at a 45% sell-through.
  • The Fall 2018 issue sold 17,903 copies at a 40% sell-through.
  • The Winter 2018 issue sold 20,299 copies at a 44% sell-through.

The magazine remained on an upward trajectory in 2019.

  • The Spring 2019 issue sold 17,279 copies at a 38% sell-through…up 18.3% from prior year.
  • The Summer 2019 issue sold 18,346 copies at a 43% sell-through…up 15.2% from prior year.
  • The Fall 2019 issue sold 15,282 copies at a 35.3% sell-through…down 14.6% when they inexplicably cut 1,149 stores or 30% off distribution.
  • The Winter 2019 issue sold 20,346 copies at a 47% sell-through…up modestly from prior year, and best-selling issue ever!

Sadly, Covid-19 has taken its toll on the Spring 2020 issue.

  • The Spring 2020 issue sold 14,999 copies at a 36% sell-through…down 13.2% from prior year.  It went on sale March 2nd…bad timing, but still a very respectable outcome.

The covers are all “celebrity based” and beautifully composed.  This magazine is a shining example of excellence in difficult times. Covers are in chronological order from launch to current, left to right.







Cottage Life Up Big in 2020

Posted by Scott On June - 25 - 2020

Cottage Life magazine, a Canadian gem, is off to a sizzling start with their first issue of 2020 (All Hale the Eh Frame).  Sales were up 2,326 copies or 43% from last year’s issue in this time slot (The Warmest Season).  Since 2016 this winter time slot has been their top producing slot.

Cottage Life had a down year in 2019, with sales dropping 24% overall, with just 2 of 6 issues posting gains.  But the biggest contributor to the decline was the first issue, which was down 47% from the previous year, effectively dragging the averages down with it.

When you compare the 2019 Winter cover against the 2020 Winter cover you can see that while both featured A Frame Cottages, the 2019 edition was rather bleak, while the 2020 version was fun, playful, bright and active, with a warm yellow logo and sell lines, plus a much bolder type treatment.  What a great way to start off the new year!


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!


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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