Monday, October 04, 2010
REALITY CHECK American Society of Magazine Editors Best Cover Contest: Best Vampire
By far my favourite award in the contest, the Best Vampire category reminds us not to take ourselves too seriously.  While we live in an information age, we also live in an entertainment era.  While we have a duty to inform and enlighten, we must also entertain and delight.  Our audiences live busy, stressful and hectic lives.  Covers like these (and they are all fabulous) promise to feed our hunger for a little bliss, some romance, some escapism from the day-to-day reality of paying the bills.  When we allow ourselves to have some fun, readers respond by buying our magazines.  It’s really not that complicated.

ASME: Best Vampire cover
ASME: Best Vampire cover

Reality Check on People weekly cover:

Love SIP’s (Special Interest Publications).
According to the ASME copy, “People created a special must-read newsstand-only collector’s issue featuring New Moon and stars Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart. It is filled with exclusive on-set photos, interviews with the cast and a preview of all the suspenseful and steamy scenes in Twilight’s next chapter.”
Seizing timely opportunities is smart.

Reality Check on Martha Stewart cover:
The October 2009 issue sold 299,791 copies, making it the second best-selling cover of the year….impressive.  It sold 11% better than the average for the Jul/Dec 2009 rate base period.  Love the fact that Martha is so confident in her brand that “the logo” was really what she was selling, which was Halloween.

Reality Check on Vanity Fair cover:

This dreamy December 2009 cover sold 405,000 copies, which will make any circulator’s heart start racing.  According to ABC statistics, the average for the Jul/Dec 2009 period was 421,833, making this cover the second worst of their rate base period…4% below average.  However, it sold a lot more than the December 2008 cover…27% more copies in fact…which featured a steamy Kate Winslet.  I’m guessing Vanity Fair is quite happy with their Vampire cover’s performance.
Big Sales.

Reality Check on Entertainment Weekly cover:
The November 20, 2009 issue, featuring the hot wolf, the cold vampire, and the gorgeous love interest, sold 46,482 copies, which was 13% better than their overall average for the Jul/Dec 2009 ABC statement.  Better yet, it sold 29% more copies than from the same time slot in 2008.
Swelling circulation.

Reality Check on Harpers Bazaar cover:
This elegant and romantic cover treatment is from the “art with logo” school of cover design that usually wins awards.  It is beautiful.  And it sure did sell too…183,400 copies according to ABC statistics–making it the second best-seller from the Jul/Dec 2009 rate base period and third best seller in 2009.  It sold 19% more copies that the average for the period, and 26% more copies than the cover from the same time slot in 2008.
The beautiful science does not lie…a winner in every way.

Reality Check on Details cover:

The best-selling issue from the Jan/Jun 2010 rate base period, this sexy cover sold 67,000 copies…33% more than their overall average for the statement.  It also sold 14% more copies than the same time slot in 2009.   I’m sure the 10th Anniversary sky bar didn’t hurt the sale either.

According to ASME copy, “Details wanted to, in the words of photographer Norman Jean Roy, transform Pattinson from “teen-idol vampire boy into a more adult version of himself.” To achieve that, creative director Rockwell Harwood decided to rent a gothic mansion outside of Los Angeles, hire several female models who were willing to spend an entire day naked and dress a 23-year-old British heartthrob in high-end designer clothing.”

Sounds like some folks in publishing know how to have fun and sell magazines all at the same time.

Does Vanity Fair win for selling the most copies?  Does Bazaar win for having the most artful cover?  Does Martha win for being the most courageous?  Does Details win for the biggest % increase? I’m betting it goes to Bazaar.

- Scott Bullock
About Me
Scott Bullock

Scott Bullock is the the creator of Bullock has worked as circulation director for both consumer and B2B magazines including Toronto Life and FASHION. If you have a great cover to share, please send all submissions to 

Note to readers: some of Bullock's posts may refer to his clients.
Most Recent Blog Comment
Kelly says:
Any news on how it performed on newsstands?...
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