Is Your Cover a Potential Revenue Stream? Publishers Weekly Associate Publisher Cevin Bryerman on the magazine’s long history of selling front-cover advertisements.
The New York Times Magazine recently made industry headlines with the announcement that it had sold its first-ever advertising cover wrap, which ran on the Aug. 10 issue of the publication. The New York Times Co., which owns the magazine, stated that this is one of many innovative advertising solutions and premium advertising positions—including single-sponsored magazines and unique positions on its Web sites—that it has introduced over the last 18 months.
While many publishers are anxious to develop new, unique opportunities for generating advertising revenue, particularly in print, the concept of a magazine cover as advertising space is not necessarily a groundbreaking one. Publishers Weekly, the Reed Business Information-owned trade publication targeting book publishers, librarians, booksellers and literary agents, has been selling its cover space to advertisers for more than 25 years. In 2005, the publication began offering a front-cover, fold-out advertisement on top of a separate editorial cover.
Publishers Weekly Associate Publisher Cevin Bryerman spoke with Publishing Executive Inbox about the publication’s advertising model, why it’s proven successful and how they maintain editorial integrity.
Inbox: How did the concept come about to offer advertising on the cover of Publishers Weekly?
Cevin Bryerman: The decision was made many, many years before I was [here] … . I’ve been with the company 25 years, and it’s been around since I’ve been around. … We’ve always felt it was a great opportunity for publishers to be on the front cover of Publishers Weekly as a branding exercise [geared toward] booksellers, librarians and nontraditional stores [that sell books]. It’s another revenue stream for us, and it’s worked very, very well. … All of our front covers are basically sold out, so obviously the publishing houses love the opportunity to be a first impression before someone opens up the magazine.
Inbox: Is it always a publishing house that advertises on the cover?
Bryerman: It could be a publishing house, it could be a printer, it could be a paper supplier, but most of them are publishing houses promoting their new book or … an author. It’s about branding that person or those books in the industry. And a lot of the associations such as [the Independent Book Publishers Association] or the [book] distributors [buy this advertising space] for their own client base because most small publishers cannot afford advertising. So it allows [these organizations] a way to promote their [clients’] books to booksellers, librarians and nontraditional markets.