How to Improve Single Copy Sales

It is easy to get disheartened by the trials in getting your product to retail and selling through at a decent percentage. Publishers even consider leaving the channel entirely, putting all their eggs hopes into subscriptions marketing or the internet. However there Sales Trends. The single best tool you have for creating yours are things you can do right now to improve your single copy sales.


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    Put the Product on the Cover. Whatever topic is covered by your publication, that should be the picture on the cover for every issue. What is on the cover of People magazine? People! Each successful computer magazine shows a computer on its cover. Child magazines show babies and children. There is a belief that putting a person on the cover will increase sales, however, this is not always true. The person must pertain to the topic – a fit person can go on the cover of a fitness magazine, a celebrity on a celebrity magazine – that’s all fine. Otherwise, you might find you are better off if you leave the person out and focus on the product itself.
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    Test Cover Elements. What kind of covers work for you? Do slanted or straight lines grab your audience? Serif or Sans Serif fonts? What about an all-type cover? Do “concept” covers work for you? You should test all these elements. These with newsstand splits or an online survey, but test a lot, and test early.
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    Analyze newsstand strategy is your own sales information. Find out whether your category is gaining or losing? Are the sales for your title going the same way, or differing? Are the same trends going through all channels, or is one wholesaler, one block, or one distribution channel at variance to the overall trend? If you analyze these things, you find both challenges and opportunities in your distribution channel. Become aware of your own sales trends so you can plan an appropriate response.
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    Expand Specialty. Some opportunities that are available in specialty now where not available in the past: retail chains just starting to carry magazines, new telemarketing resources, new opportunities using your web presence to cultivate retail partnerships. Get to know these possibilities, and take advantage of them.
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    Remember International. Numerous publishers shun international under the impression that it is more costly, less lucrative, than domestic. This, however, is frequently not the case. Because international retailers do not need a separate RDA payment the remit to you can be higher than through other sources. Several international wholesalers pay the freight overseas, meaning that you only need to pay to get your publication to the freight forwarder. And because the international wholesaler picks up the freight, they tend to be watchful about ordering too many copies, so the amount of unsold copies will frequently be lower than they are in domestic channels.
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    Create Incentives. If you are pressed to increase your discount and consider doing so, think of doing it in a way that you are more sure of getting some return. Maybe your wholesaler group would think of linking your extra point or two to a promotions program or a sales incentive. In retailer partnerships, incentives also could be considered, or even add sweeps or contests to the readers to help pull in sales at the retail level.
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    Add Value. While we’re beginning to find more price resistance at the retail level, we’re still seeing that the newsstand browser prefers better value over a lower price. If you need to decide between reducing your price by a dollar and adding another signature to your magazine, add the signature. Few things are more crucial to your newsstand sales than the weight of your magazine, or the “thud” factor.
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    Raise Your Price. In the same way, if you have to decide between reducing your magazine’s size and raising the price by a dollar, choose to raise the price. It is true that you will lose some sales, even if not permanently, as price resistance usually wears off as time goes by. Unless you raise the price past the “avalanche point” – the point at which the increased revenue doesn’t compensate for the loss in sale – the increase in revenue will allow you to increase book size, make better covers, or add value in other ways.
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    Promote. If your competition sells well in certain retailers that you just can’t get into, try promoting. This will help you gain entry into these pivotal outlets, and if your sales do well, you can expect to keep up your distribution therein.
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    Polybag. If you have tips booklets, CDs or DVDs, or other editorial products that have special value to the customer think about bagging them to your magazine and up-pricing. You may see that you can increase sales and revenue this way.


  • Consider running a single copy sales promotion, such as a giveaway / sweepstakes. You cannot require that people make a purchase in order to enter (otherwise it would be a lottery), but promotions are an effective way to increase sales. You can try running the promotion in-house, or working with an experienced firm.

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Categories: Sales