Is cover-mount frenzy finally on the wane? – that’s one of the questions for Elle‘s editor-in-chief Lorraine Candy from James Silver in today’s Guardian (‘Free handbags at dawn‘). Her reply:
‘No … cover-mounts and free gifts are not my favourite part of our business, but they are very much part of our culture now and there is no going back. We have to compete in our market and young women expect something extra with their magazine. That said, they are not something Elle has relied upon. Supplements, like this month’s new season fashion guide “the runway edit”, are what we’re about. And this year we’re going to be doing substantially more of them.’
Cover mounts may erode loyalty, but there’s little doubt they increase overall magazine sales. The Spanish women’s press did an experiment about 20 years ago when all the titles dropped their cover mounts for an issue. The result – an overall fall in sales of 30%. The publishers had their wrists slapped by the EU Competition Commission because it was seen as monopolistic behaviour and the experiment has never been repeated.