After a decade of ups and downs, print magazine Maisonneuve recently celebrated its ten-year anniversary.
Based in Montreal, Maisonneuve is an English language publication with a national circulation of 5,000. Its content ranges from arts and culture, politics, literary fiction and non-fiction, poetry, to all other kinds of commentary on contemporary subjects.
Maisonneuve editor-in-chief Drew Nelles believes the magazine's longevity is down to finding the right audience for the specific blend of topics it covers.
"It was obvious when Maisonneuve was founded ten years ago, there is a real hunger in Canada for this kind of well-written, intellectual but still accessible general interest magazine," said Nelles. "Canada has a lot of mass market magazines and a lot of small literary magazines but it doesn't have a lot of magazines occupying kind of the middle ground. So I think Maisonneuve really managed to strike a chord in that sense."
The initial years after the Maisonneuve's inception were greeted with critical and financial success. However, in 2007/2008 budgetary issues caused it to be downsized from a bi-monthly to a quarterly. Circulation was halved and the magazine even operated without an office from May 2008 to March 2011. Since then Maisonneuve has seen the budget stabilized to allow for some growth.
"When you're reducing a budget it doesn't happen instantaneously, it takes time to feel the extra room you've allocated," said Jennifer Varkonyi, publisher of Maisonneuve. "After the budget was cut as far as it could go, then we were able to look around and see where we have room to add very modest increases."
But Maisonneuve always continued to print and now feels it has reached a healthy situation.
"We're thriving so far in that we're working on a very small but actually financially viable budget," said Varkonyi. "And the content happily continues to be as good as ever. Our critical acclaim has only grown in the last few years even though we've had to seriously downsize the budget."
In celebration of the tenth anniversary Maisonneuve released a special edition, which will be launched at an event in Toronto on April 10 at the Ossington at 8.p.m. as well as an event in Montreal on May 3 at Eastern Bloc at 8 p.m.
With ten years under its belt, however, Maisonneuve is only looking forward, starting with an upcoming redesign of its website.
"The long-term goal will be working more on the digital side. We have a very active website already but I'd like to start working on a tablet edition," said Nelles.
But this will require a careful balance between the digital trend, and the print format that has seen Maisonneuve through for ten years.
"I think the past couple of years have shown that the debate over print over digital has become a bit hackneyed and pointless because it's obvious that people still do want to engage with physical objects, even as reading habits change," said Nelles.
"But I think tablets are exciting for that very reason because they help replicate the print experience in a digital form, a form that's easy to download and easy to use."