From The Editor by Scott Kelby

Dear Layers Subscriber,

I’m going to do two things you don’t see very often these days: (1) I’m not going to blame it on the economy, and (2) I’m not going to put a spin on it or put up a smokescreen—I’m just going to tell you exactly why, after 17 years, we are closing Layers magazine.

First, this was a very hard decision for me to make because I have a very strong emotional attachment to this magazine. Our entire business started with this magazine back in 1993 when it debuted as Mac Today magazine: a tabloid newspaper for Macintosh computer users in the Tampa Bay area of Florida. Its reach grew from Tampa’s Premiere Macintosh Magazine to central Florida to the Southeast to eventually changing to a magazine format and going on newsstands nationwide.

After a number of years, we changed the name of the magazine to Mac Design to reflect the fact that nearly all our articles, reviews, and tutorials were for designers. A few years later, once Adobe bought Macromedia, we realized that the entire magazine, with the exception of a column for QuarkXPress users, was all about Adobe products, so we changed once again, this time rebranding the magazine as Layers: The How-to Magazine for Everything Adobe, which is what you’re holding today.

Every year, we take our key people offsite for a day long meeting to look at the future of every segment of our business (we do a lot of different things from operating the National Association of Photoshop Professionals to producing the Photoshop World Conference to publishing Photoshop User magazine to producing live nationwide seminar tours to publishing books to running an online training division to producing DVDs, and on and on) because we want to make sure that as a company we’re focusing on the right things moving forward.

Layers actually made a small profit in 2010 (and any profit in the magazine industry today is a mini miracle, so we were thrilled), but the incredible amount of effort and large number of people it takes in our company to make that small profit just doesn’t make good business sense. It takes lots of editors, layout artists, graphic designers, writers, reviewers, shipping, accounting, subscription services, circulation directors, customer service reps, and on and on to publish a magazine the size and reach of Layers, and by closing the magazine we can redeploy those talented people to other areas in our company that are growing rapidly, such as Layers’ sister magazine, Photoshop User.

That magazine, with more than 70,000 NAPP members getting each issue, plus nationwide newsstand sales, is not only enjoying continued success but exciting growth, so: (1) We’re taking the most popular columns from Layers magazine and moving them over to Photoshop User magazine, and (2) we’re publishing two additional issues of Photoshop User each year, so instead of it coming out eight times a year, now it will come out 10 times a year (we’ll be emailing Layers subscribers on how to get Photoshop User magazine). Plus, the hugely popular Layers site will continue (it’s one of our big success stories), but with the addition of some very exciting new things coming its way in 2011.

So, although this all seems like a pretty simple business decision, it’s still really tough because Layers, in one form or another, has always been an important part of Kelby Media Group. We’ve put a tremendous amount of sweat, late nights, and heavy lifting into Layers over the years, but I’m so very proud of what we accomplished for our readers, and even more so of the people that produced it.

I’ll be forever grateful to all the talented writers who shared so many wonderful techniques and ideas, and to all the designers who worked on the magazine, as well as those whose work was featured in its pages. I want to thank all our advertisers, who are the lifeblood of any magazine, and a special thanks to my friends and co-founders of Layers, Jim Workman, Jean A. Kendra, and my wife Kalebra for working so incredibly hard on a shoestring budget way back in 1993 to turn that 24-page tabloid newspaper into an industry-leading magazine just a few short years later.

I want to personally thank Layers’ Managing Editor, Chris Main, whose many years of tireless work and dedication made the magazine absolutely stand out among the rest. Luckily for all of us, Chris has taken over the reins at Photoshop User magazine, so not only will NAPP members get to benefit from his years of experience, but it will make rolling the best of Layers magazine into Photoshop User magazine that much smoother and more seamless.

Of course, we wouldn’t have a reason to have done any of this without you, our faithful readers. Our humble thanks for all your input, support, feedback, and good wishes over all these years, and I truly hope I’ll see you once again in the pages of Photoshop User magazine, where the heart and soul of Layers will live on.

All my best,
Scott Kelby
Editor & Publisher