Don't see a problem with multiple covers. Although saying that, with i-D, I haven't always been successful in sourcing down a particular cover, and I'm where the magazine is published. And being unsucsessful consists of trekking from store to store, which is when I loathe the multiple cover situation. But in terms of design and discussion, I have no objection.
If there are multiple covers, and my favourite can't be found, the feeling of there being 'something better' than what's on sale in front of me means I might not buy the issue at all, rather than settle for second-best.
And generally, for me, these magazines are never that sensational that I'd put my energies into some great search to get hold of them, so if a magazine wants to lure me into purchasing special or selected covers, it has to make sure they go on sale where I can get them.
I'm all for the idea of using multiple covers for experimentation, or a way of testing response on the newsstand, but sometimes, I don't see that much thought going into their creation, or across the theme. Two or three covers offers the chance for variation on a theme, keeping it tight and creative, without going into the realms of self-indulgence, and losing sight of your audience.
+1 I hate settling, I've done it twice before and have vowed to never do it again since.
i-D is the worst offended of the multi-cover syndrome. Far too often, their covers don't relate to one another, but just act as the cover for each editorial inside the issue. Like the last issue dedicated to China, was it necessary to have Victoria Beckham, Stella Tennant and the others on the cover? It watered down the stunning Chinese covers.
The only time it drives me crazy is when I can't find the particular cover I'm after, I can't say I ever had trouble getting it, but sometimes it has involved visiting countless stores which is rather annoying and time consuming!
Oh oh see you said some key words, alright, you said I have spice and fire, so stay away before I burn yo ass up.