Covers Sell

Covers Sell

And the Winners Are….Really?

Posted by Scott On June - 17 - 2011

The National Magazine Awards 2011 gala was a fabulous event…a wonderful evening to meet and mingle with colleagues, friends and clients; and the Carlu is the perfect venue.

It was great to see so many different magazines receive accolades.

With that said, I continue to be baffled by the Magazine Covers award.  As the great Paul Jones famously said, “To win this category only magazines that submit “art with logo” need apply.

This year’s gold winner was The Feathertale Review (nice nipple ring, eh?):

And the silver winner was Urbania (nice hair, sorry about your sun burn, eh?):

I suspect that a very small percentage of the magazine junkies in attendance at the Carlu had ever heard of these titles, let alone ever purchased a copy.   I suspect an even smaller percentage of Canadians have either.   Yet these are the titles held up as the very best examples of what a great cover should look like?  I suppose if this were a fashion show, it would be the equivalent of couture vs. ready to wear.  On the one hand, creative and edgy, on the other, completely divorced from the reality of what it takes to sell single copies or subscriptions.

Perhaps the category should just be renamed, so as not to suggest that these covers are something other than art for art’s sake:  Best Cover Art (Avante Garde).  And then they could add a category Best Cover Art  (Commercial).  With over 40+ awards handed out, what’s one more?

3 Responses to “And the Winners Are….Really?”

  1. Who’s Urbania’s art director, Dr. Hannibal Lecter?

  2. Scott, Urbania has become something of a phenomenon in Quebec, and this issue did good numbers for them. They have sell-through that most editors dream of, one of the best online crossover brands going, and consistency. I know it might ring hollow coming from their distributor, but I’m an Anglo Quebecois, I’m almost certainly outside of the age group they are targeting, and it’s a title that I look forward to checking out every issue. And y’know, they are the National awards…

  3. Paul Jones says:

    Thanks for the shout-out, Scott, even if a tad over the top.

    I really love these covers and understand the desire to give them an award.

    To compare them with magazines that must sell on the newsstand, however, is not simply a matter of apples and oranges. It’s more like apples and orangutans.

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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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