Thumbnails are useful. I hope that the institutions that are taking out site licenses to our magazines will include thumbnails of their front cover in their OPACs (see the source code of this page for the relevant HTML). Sometimes a front cover is worth 10,000 words.
Maybe we should offer subscribing institutions a free widget which will keep itself up to date and carries the front cover of the current issue and then links the student straight through to the full content (within the limits of the IP range of course). Is that a good idea, or tiresome?