SkyNews: The Canadian Magazine of Astronomy & Stargazing hopes to benefit from today's historic transit of Venus with a unique editorial premium: special eyeglasses polybagged with the May/June issue that make it safe to watch our planetary neighbour pass in front of the surface of the sun.
The magazine ordered 32,500 "Eclipse Shades" from a supplier in California for the promotion, inserted into both subscriber copies and the 15,000-copy newsstand draw distributed through Coast to Coast Newsstand Services. Another 1,000 copies were sold from the magazine's website
: 2 pairs for $10, which quickly sold out, says publisher Greg Keilty.
Masthead publisher Doug Bennet models the special eclipse glasses from SkyNews
Keilty boosted the newsstand draw by 20% and while he's not expecting an astronomical increase in sales, he does hope to bump sell-through from the typical low 30s to about 35%. More importantly, perhaps, the price was increased from $4.95 to $6.95. It's too early to tell how sales have gone so far, but another editorial premium in the last November/December issue (an astrophotography calendar) sold more than twice the usual units.
"It looks like the whole thing will pay for itself," says Keilty. "There's one copy left at Shoppers Drug Mart in [nearby] Belleville, so that's a good sign."
Keilty also expects to pick up more subscribers, and the issue has generated great PR, including a shout-out in today's Globe and Mail.
The transit of Venus
can be viewed by the naked eye but only with the special glasses to prevent eye damage. The next transit won't happen until the year 2117. "We know the next one is coming in 115 years, so we're saving any leftover glasses for that issue," says Keilty.